Hell’s Bells

Given the Holy Season,  I thought it best to let an appropriate amount of time pass before using this title.   Going from Christ to Hell is best left to Revelations.

My father was as even tempered as anyone you have ever met. Very seldom do I ever remember him angry.  There were only two things that seemed to send him beyond placid–cars and the electronic gadgets he loved to put together.  When he did reach that point of exasperation, his favorite vent was “Hell’s bells.”  It ‘s interesting to me that you don’t hear that expression anymore.  Perhaps it belonged to the war era or maybe it just couldn’t survive in this  new era of shock profanity.

I’m sure Daddy had no idea of it’s origins.  Actually historians don’t either.  A quick look around the web reveals that it was shortened from the original Hell’s bells and buckets of blood.  Although this expression’s exact origin  is not known, it is believed to have originated aboard 17th century pirate ships.

Pirate ships?  Now that’s exciting!   Can’t you just hear the anxious cry of a rough shorn pirate awakened by a faint bell in the fog, “Captain, it’s Hell’s bells and buckets of blood!”   We worry a lot about pirates here in North Carolina.  After all the  cold gray Carolina Atlantic was the territory of Blackbeard and his lovlies.  Our coasts are awash with aged splinters and ghosty lore.

However, let’s leave the mist and ghosts behind and get to the real problem at hand–our trolley bells or more accurately, Hell’s bells.   Now, we all know that a trolley without a bell is not a real trolley.  I am very adamant about this–trolleys MUST have bells.  A trolley without a bell is a bus.  Period.

Last year, we had one heck (no need to overdo it) of a time keeping all of the bells ringing at the same time.  Not this year!  No amount of blaming it on the drivers,  or blaming it on the poor quality of rope, or blaming it on the mechanics is going to work.

Absolutely not.

I will be the Captain upon the deck.  “Get those bells from Hell fixed or there will be buckets of blood.”


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