Ben Colder Playin’ Sheb Wooley

I first heard this tune headed through Arkansas on my way from one job to the next; and so close to Little Rock that was the only station I could pick up.

I don’t know whether Sheb is playing at being his alter ego Ben Colder or not, but it is off the beaten track.

Way off, and in the weeds. Enjoy.

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Fly Fisherman to Colorado Cannibals

There’s Sheb Wooley and the Calumet Indians on the radio. Sheb, sometimes known as Ben Colder, made a hit with Purple People Eater, That’s My Pa, and a bunch of other tunes during the ’50’s and 60’s.

When he first started his radio sponsor was Calumet Baking Powder. Hence the Calumet Indians – and at least two of the band were Indians! I hadn’t thought of Sheb’s original band in years. ‘Fact, the last time I saw that outfit was in Stillwater, the home of the Okie State Cowboys. Yah-hoo!

Which reminds me of various and sundry aggressive actions by State students against visiting OU types. But the worst row I ever saw, though, was opening day on a Pennsylvania trout stream. The were about five fishermen for every six feet of bank and things got a bit crowded. I don’t know who jostled who, but before it was over everybody got jostled! Right into the drink – and came out fighting mad.

I used to go fishing quite a bit, but I don’t go much any more. I like to fish when fish are biting – and I like to read when they aren’t – but I seem to have too much to do to take time off to go fishing. The last time I went fishing regular was back in the sixties. I used to go with my the wife’s brother-in-law, Charles Henderson, and Clarence Gorden every chance I got.

Clarence had a boy in ’42 before he got drafted. Well, his wife had it! Clarence got a furlough in ’43. They had another boy in ’44. He got back from Europe in ’47. They had another boy in ’48. Recalled for Korea in ’49, got a furlough in ’51. Yep, they had another baby in ’52! I always wondered if absence made the heart grow fonder or something.

Yep, the Gordons had four boys, all in band. Just not at the same time! They must have took after their mother, because Clarence couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. And besides that he was the worst fisherman the Good Lord ever made.

Clarence could get hung up quicker and harder than anybody I ever saw. Once his hook got hung, he tried everything he had heard about or he could think of. But it was never any use. Once Clarence was hung up he was stuck. He might as well cut the line and go on.

Yep, he’d buy a bucket of minnows, a roll of line, and a box of hooks, and come in when they were all gone. Did he catch fish?

Let me tell you, Clarence bought a fishing outfit when he came back from Korea in ’53, and he wore his reel and his motor out but his stringer was still in cellophane!

Somebody asked Clarence why he went fishing so much and never brought home any fish. “That’s easy to answer,” says Clarence. “My boys all play the trumpet.”

Now, Clarence read about “inner tubing” in some magazine and he figures that would be his fishing salvation. He got a big ol’ tractor tube, built himself a little wire rack to carry his minnow bucket and tackle box – and one morning he goes down to Flint Creek. This was when they first opened Flint Creek.

Clarence’s wife told him that he had to be in by six or six thirty at the latest because she had someplace to go and had to have the car. Clarence had real good intentions, because his wife talked so much he got hoarse listening to her. Clarence sure didn’t want to give her something else to talk about.

Clarence always reminded me of Ab Parsons. Ab died, and they threw a big funeral for him. Ab wasn’t well liked so everyone in the county had to look in the box and make sure Ab was dead; so they would have an excuse to celebrate. They said it was the biggest doin’s since the land rush.

Thy put up a big marble stand for him and all. They got to talking about the wonderful funeral Ab had, and somebody asked if Ab had said anything before he died. “Naw, Ab didn’t say a word. His wife was with him to the end.”

And come to think of it, Clarence’s squaw and Ab Parsons’ were a lot alike in more ways than one. They were both a lot bigger than their husbands. They said Ab carried his wife over the threshold and had to make two trips.

That was before she got fat. When I knew her the whole Hattiesburg Fire Department couldn’t have carried that woman over a low curb – much less a threshold.

After they were married Clarence’s wife could have carried him. And probably not have noticed the extra load. But she was a talker. She had a tongue hinged in the middle and it wagged on both ends, it did.

Clarence is the one told me about the time Thomas Edison was asked to say a few words to a Philadelphia civic group. When Edison showed up a guy with a Prince Albert and top hat gave a forty five minute introduction.

This speech must have been by that famous speaker, On Too Long. It began with Edison’s humble birth and concluded with “And here is the man who invented the talking machine.”

“I didn’t invent the talking machine,” Edison said. “I only invented one you can turn off.” Then he sat down. And got a standing ovation!

Clarence couldn’t turn his squaw off, so he usually tried to avoid giving her anything to talk about. He said talking with his wife was like trying to read a map in a hurricane, and he didn’t want any part of it.

The only time I can remember he changed that policy was the time his squaw started complaining that when they were courting Clarence would bring her candy and sweet rolls and candy and cakes and candy. After they were married all Clarence brought her was his paycheck and she bought her own candy!

“Hon, I’m sorry about that,” Clarence says, “But you got to remember that a man would be a durn fool to keep feeding worms to a fish after he’s caught it.”

Well, anyway, Clarence went fishing with orders to show up early. So he does. At exactly five after ten. P.M.!

“Where have you been?” screams his missus. “I promised to take Sister to church at seven, and your supper has been ready since five. Where have you been?”

“In the lake,” says Clarence.

“What were you doing in the lake?” says his better half. At some length!

“Waiting for it to get dark,” sez Clarence.

“Why were you doing a stupid thing like that?” she asks, and takes ten minutes to do it.

“I lost my pants,” say Clarence.

And for once Clarence’ missus was struck speechless! Plumb! He did lose his pants. Just being Clarence, he snagged them old seat covers of his on a snag, plumb solid, and he couldn’t get them loose.

He did manage to clean his pockets out. Good thing, he’d have had to walk home like that barefoot boy with cheeks of tan if he hadn’t rescued his keys. Except the cheeks weren’t quite the ones Edgar Guest was thinking about.

It wasn’t long after that the Gordons became a two car family. But you know, there are a lot of talkable people like Clarence’s wife. The old saying goes that most folks know how to stop talking but not when.

Ones like Clarence’s XYL wouldn’t stop if you paid them. And there’s lots of folks like that. I don’t know but that there are as many talkable men as women. There’s even a few men that want to get their arm around you and yap at you nose to nose.

And most of them have a serious case of dragon killing breath. I never had a woman get close up and personal and then curdle my lunch.

Back when the Constitution was a newspaper instead of a propaganda mill they said an Atlanta marriage counsellor told a woman that “The best way to cure your husband of his constant nagging is to show him affection, understanding, abiding care – and stuff a couple of old socks in his mouth.”

That’s a thought. You know, noise doesn’t prove a doggone thing. Many a hen who lays an egg cackles like she just laid a boulder. And many a cackling hen proves a liar instead of a layer.

At least, Clarence wasn’t like a fellow sold me a new car one time. Call him Mack Muldoon because that wasn’t his name. “Mack” and two buddies had a cabin down at Gautier, at the old Poticaw Bayou camp. These three vendors of dubious transportation went fishing every weekend that rolled.

One night Muldoon’s wife gets to rumbling around in closets and there’s Mack’s fishing tackle. She gets alarmed and calls his buddies’s wives. The other two wives get to looking and they find their husbands fishing tackle, too.

So here they go, after midnight, Saturday morning, l
ighting out for Poticaw with their husband’s fishing equipment. Now, the roads were a lot worse in those days, and they didn’t get there until just after 4:00 AM. The old man had just opened the bait shop when the three women rolled into the yard. All three of the wives jump out and brace him at the same time.

“Is Mack Muldoon here? And his two buddies?” Mrs Muldoon asks.

“Yeah, they’re here all right. But you three broads might a
s well go home. They brought their wives with them this week.”

That little incident caused what you might call a rearrangement of sorts. All three of the women and two of the men are still living in Hattiesburg, but not with each other. Mack found employment up at Parchman Farms and I haven’t seen him since.

I don’t know about the men but the women seem right well satisfied. Those gals had no use at all for that shyster that advertises “Divorces, satisfaction guaranteed – or your honey back.”

Like they say, “A woman’s heart and her tongue are not related.” That’s been near fifty years, and I heard a guy deponing on the subject of happy marriages a while back. “My marriage has always been happy because I can make my Jill do ANY LITTLE THING she wants to do.”

That’s a philosophical way to look at it! At least, Jack wasn’t in the same fix as the old boy who proposed holy hemlock to a gal and she turned him down. Being optimistic, he figures he will give her a chance to change her mind or rag her a little. Tactful, in either case. So he pays a kid to take her a note.

“Darling Elizabeth,” he writes, “I proposed to you last night and I cannot remember whether you accepted or not. Please advise.”

“Dear Joseph,” her reply read. “I am so glad to get your note. I knew I refused someone last night, but for the life of me I could not recall who.”

Now, Socrates was the old Greek whose wife had been nagging and nagging and nagging him and she finally got so wound up she dumped a chamber pot on his noggin. “It never thunders but it rains,” says Soc as he combed the lumps out of his beard.

Socrates told a young friend “By all means marry. If you marry and get a good wife you will become content. If you do not, you will become a philosopher.”

That makes perfect sense. Like the old saw says, “It doesn’t matter who you marry. They will be someone else in the morning.” Yep, you might as well “Marry in haste and repent at leisure.”

After all, “There’s none so happy as one who marries a stranger.”

Now, a lot of folks these days don’t understand that last one. One of the biggest problems in marriage is many kids expect more out of matrimony than Aladdin’s Genie could deliver. They want everything that mama and daddy worked forty years to get, next week. And they don’t get it. That turns wedlock to hemlock, plumb pronto!

Yep, when things don’t pan out at a keg of beer and a case of skittles per day per expectation they feel betrayed and call in the lawyers. If you marry a stranger you should have realistic hopes, but not impossible expectations. That gives you better chance of being happy with your other half.

Of course, these days and times the idea of marrying a stranger is strange to most folks. They have had romance drilled into them, and the historic notion of marrying to join and extend families and for mutual aid and comfort has been thrown out.

Whether that’s good or bad is arguable. What isn’t really debatable is the fact that romance is fine if both parties are hardheaded realists.

“Love makes the world go ’round,” they say. “They” lie like dogs, too. Love does not make the world go ’round. That quaint notion is untenable. It’s the sound of the dinner call and chicken fried steak smothered in egg gravy that really makes the world spin on her axle.

Of course, some idjits make the mistake of marrying for money. That’s a bad call. As Themostocles remarked while arranging marriages for his daughters “Better a man without money than money without a man.” A woman without money is a heap better than money without a woman, too.

Which another old saw says, “There’s more to marriage than four bare legs in a bed.” That is pure gospel, but “Many a man has fallen in love in light so dim he wouldn’t choose the day’s apparel by it.”

The usual result of “Love hath cats eyes” is the same sort of shock one gets from a punch in the nose! A marriage needs more than a couple of sheets – as every empty pockets who ever tried to start a new household can attest!

Those who forget that better keep a third truism in mind. “T’is a great evil to be on with a new love before you are off with the old.” That last mistake provides the undertakers and the grave diggers with work!

“Love is blind” is still popular – if inaccurate. Love is like some political wonks, selectively blind, as Bill Shakespeare noted when he wrote “I have no other but a woman’s reasons; I think him so because I think him so.” That peculiarity of human nature is called “womens reasons,” but “Because is a woman’s reason” is as common among men as women.

Hoolio Caesar commented that “Men freely believe what they wish to believe.” That very human idiocy is responsible for most of the tragedies of this world. And it leads most of us to disappointment if not to outright misfortune. Especially if one’s beliefs concern a prospective wife, a business partner, an investment, or anything else that concerns ones future happiness or money.

Those old saws ought to be taught in school. Along with how much sleep a colicky baby will make you lose, how horrible you will feel the next morning, how hard it is to live with somebody you don’t like, and other important points.

Such as “It ain’t kosher to use your spouse as a punching bag.” Nothing looks worse in this world than a husband with a black eye. Unless it’s a husband with two black eyes or a wife with one.

You know, we lose a lot of wisdom when people don’t hand down the old saws. Of course, a few of the old sayings remind us of things best forgotten. For instance, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” These days a penny earned and saved ain’t worth fooling with!

Say, speaking of money, have you heard that germs get passed from person to person on money? That can’t be true. There’s absolutely nothing that could live on a dollar. Still, no matter how low the value of the dollar falls, it cannot fall as low as some people will stoop to get a few.

Which, speaking of twisters and trailer parks reminds me of a story a Cajun friend who lives over in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, “tole me.” Grosse Tete, that’s just this side of the 17 mile bridge on I-10, between Baton Rouge and Lafayette.

I am interested in odd town names, like Swords, Bowlegs, Boozer Mountain, Clinker, and such. Grosse Tete ranks high on the list. Grosse is French for “big” or “fat,” and I can’t say here what sort of female chest adornments that other word means in Franch. Plural! Makes you wonder why the burg was named that!

Anyhoo, a twister blew through there and tore up my friends trailer. This friend is name of Augustin -and he coaches a high school baseball team. One time his team was playing Slaughter, in Slaughter, and the regular right fielder was indisposed. So Augustin starts a replacement, name of Geautreaux.

The first Slaughter batter pops a high fly ball to right field, and Geautreaux drops it. Man on base. The next batter pops a high fly ball to right, and Geautreaux drops it. Two on, first and third. The third batter pops one to right and Geautreaux drops it. Run scores. So Augustin pulls him and puts Arcenaux in.

Score is one to nairn, two on, and the next batter bloops one straight at Arcenaux. Who drops it. Two to zip, two on! The next batter hits one a mile! Straight up! A little breeze carries it to right field. Arcenaux drops it!

Three to zip, two on! The next batter tears the cover off the ball, a screaming liner to the right fielder. Arcenaux drops it.

Four to none, two on. Augustin changes pitchers, puts in Hebert, his ace. If you ain’t up on Cajun, you call that A-bear. Hebert, he whiffs three, retires the side, score four to nairn after the top of the first.

Arcenaux trots back to the dugout and glares at Geautreaux. “Dammit, Geautreaux, you got dat right fiel’ so screwed up nobody can hold on to dem dam ball out dair, I gawrantee!”

Every time I run across someone named Geautreaux, I think of Charlie Go. Charlie had a TV shop and one day called a parts place in New Orleans. The counterman wanted to know “Who dis?”

“Geautreaux TV in Hattiesburg, Miss’ippi,” says Charlie.

“How you spell dat,” says the counterman.

“G-e-a-u-t-r -” begins Charlie when the counterman cuts him off.

“I can spell Geautreaux, how you spell Hattiesburg,” he says.

Now, that counterman was a “pure bleed Cajun, name of Alfred Packer.” How in heck he got a name like Alfred Packer when he’s from down in Gator Alley where you can stand on the porch and holler Bergeron at the top of your lungs.

And from all over “dat swamp” you will hear “Which one?”

Anyway,if Alfred Packer rings no bells with you – Packer was snowed in the Rockies with a companion. After a few days Packer had a fit of appetite and ate the companion. When the snaw melted Packer walked out of the mountains fat and happy.

Alfred said his right bower had wandered off in the snow and hadn’t been heard of since. And several other things. The folks around Leadville started looking for the remains. Which they soon found. Well gnawed.

Packer was tried and convicted, of course. When the judge passed sentence he supposedly said “Alfred Packer, I condemn you to hang by the neck until you are dead. Cuss you, there wasn’t but one Democrat in Fremont county, and you ate him!”

Packer was a Harvard graduate, and a lawyer. I suppose that explains his cannibalistic tendencies since lawyers tend to consume everything in sight.

And of course, we have a Harvard educated Constitutional lawyer in the White House.


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The Four Preachers From Texas Confess

I was headed for the stockyards for one of Beatrice Johnson’s burgers, a cuppa joe, and a piece of pie for 35 cents, when “Hey, you” at foghorn volume pierced the air.

I had noticed the four musketeers’ Hudson was wearing Texas plates, so I headed for Kansas when I skipped town later that evening. I didn’t feel like getting caught in a religious uprising, but I was still chuckling!

Anyhow, Ten Eyck was a Dutchman, came over here because his families tulip plantation wouldn’t support all his brothers. The youngest brothers had to leave town! No living in Holland, so Ten Eyck gets gold fever and goes to South Dakota.

The news of a gold strike was old, and he was lucky to make day wages in Deadwood. But he met a German girl and got married up there. Some folks think Deutch, German, and Dutch are the same lingo, but they aren’t.

They are enough alike to cause some royal confusion when a Kraut and a Dutchman start jabbering at each other, but they aren’t the same. Ten Eyck and Mama had just a little English in common and that’s all it took!

Anyway, Ten Eyck brought that sign with him from Deadwood, South Dakota. It originally said “KITTY’S CAFE,” and it adorned the false front of a combination blind pig, sign painter’s shop, and – well, the girls who “roomed” upstairs knew a lot of the fellows, if you know what I mean!

Ten Eyck brought the sign to Oklahoma when they opened the Cheyenne Arapaho country for homesteading. Then it stayed in his barn until they started the Cafe in ’28. Sign painters were scarcer than hens teeth, so the old sign came out and got “Ten Eycked.”

Money was as scarce as sign painters, so Ten Eyck talked Banker Mullendore into loaning him $500 for operating money. I can’t tell anyone who hasn’t started a business how Ten Eyck and his wife worked to make a go of the place.

For five years, it was to bed after the last pot had been scrubbed and up at 4:00 to get ready for another day. It was man killing work, but that’s the only way you
can succeed. If you have ever started a successful business you know the trouble you haven’t you cannot imagine it!

The Depression hit in ’29, and the Hoovervilles, and the Dust Bowl, and people were eating each other for money. Man, it was a tough life. Most folks were doing good to eat, and eating out was a rare extravagance. The Dutchman couldn’t pay on the principal, but he never missed an interest payment.

It must have been ’34 when Ten Eyck went to the Bank to pay the interest and Mullendore called the note. He had some dude from Wichita Falls who would pay $3,000 for the place and Mullendore sure wasn’t about to turn down a nice profit.
THE Mullendores were and are one of the most important families in Oklahoma. And all THE Mullendores I ever met were mighty nice folks. But this Mullendore wasn’t related to THE Mullendores. He just revelled in the name.

Banker Mullendore always reminded me of the story of the farmer who went to his banker to get his note renewed with a long story and no money. The banker had already called a dozen notes that week, and didn’t really want to pull the rug out from under this young man. So the banker decides to give him a chance.

“Son,” says the Banker. “Let me tell you that I ought to foreclose right now. I ought to have you out of there before sundown. But let me tell you that I am going to give you a fair chance to renew your note for one more year.”
“Now, I just paid ten thousand dollars to have a new glass eye put in. The best men in the world tell me that my eye is perfect in every way. If you can tell me which eye is the glass eye, and you are right, I’ll renew your note.”

“Ok,” says the young farmer. “Any chance is better than no chance.”

“Now, take all the time you want to, look close, and tell me which eye is the glass eye,” says the banker.

“Oh,” says the farmer. “There ain’t no doubt about it. Your left eye is the glass eye.”

Banker starts in cussin’! “I paid ten thousand dollars for that eye. It’s the best in the world. It’s supposed to be perfect. Tell me, what gave it away? How’d you know it was the glass eye?”

“Well, Banker,” says the farmer, “As I was looking at your eyes, I noticed a little glint of sympathy in your left eye. I knew that it had to be glass.”

Mullendore was just like that. He didn’t shed no tears for the folks he foreclosed on, not none. And if he could foreclose and liquidate at a profit, you could consider it done. That shorthorn was so unpopular he put a vault in his house and he kept all his real estate papers in that, because he was afraid Pretty Boy Floyd would rob his bank and give the deeds back to the owners.

Anyhow, there’s Ten Eyck, dispossessed. He was too ashamed to go home and tell Mama what happened. Instead, he goes over to the Odd Fellows hall and cries on Ol’ Hardman’s shoulder. Hardman was a good listener.

Now, if I haven’t mentioned it before, Pvt. Olwyn Hardman was shot through both legs in Kaiser Bill’s war. The croakers did a poor job of patching him up. It put a hitch in his git along – and it kept him in hospital for a year. Doin’ what soldiers have done since time began. The Hittites used to, ne’mine!

Ten Eyck started blowing in Hardman’s ear, and here comes Mullendore, looking like the cat that swallowed the cream. He had already written the Wichita Falls man to bring the cabbage and take possession. Yep, that tinhorn banker felt like the money was as good as in his hand.

Hardman gives Ten Eyck a signal to fade into the woodwork, and proceeds to ring Mullendore into a game of poker with three of the other loafers in the Hall!

Mullendore did pretty well for a few hands, and then lost his winnings betting heavy and drawing to a pair of jacks. That’s a tyro’s play and Mullendore was a shorthorn but not exactly a beginner. He was testing to see who would fold and who would bluff!

A few hands later one of the loafers had most of the money showing – and lost it to Mullendore. That made Mullendore figure his luck was in for sure, so he didn’t protest when the tapped out player left an empty chair and Hardman suggested Ten Eyck set in for the bankrupt gambler.

“Long as he can put money on the table, he’s in,” says Mullendore.

The money seesawed back and forth for a bit, and then Ten Eyck started winning every hand where Hardman cut the cards. It wasn’t long before the Dutchman had over a thousand on the table, most from Mullendore. The next go round was Hardmans deal. So you will have a good idea of the situation –

One of the loafers was at the dealers left, first man dealt to, with a ten spot, a fin, and some ones on the table. Next, Mullendore had about fifty on the table, a fat wallet, and a big itch to win back what he’d lost. Then Ten Eyck had over a thousand in his pile, and the other loafer who had ten to fifteen singles on the table. Of course, Hardman was fifth and last, showing two fives and some ones.

Hardman dealt and the banker’s hand was a beaut! A full house, a pair of queens and three jacks! That’s a money hand anywhere you want to go so Mullendore stood pat with that. Ten Eyck drew three cards, a sure sign of a weak hand.

The bets went around. Hardman and the two loafers threw their cards in and folded. Mullendore bet strong, Ten Eyck matched him, and Mullendore went strong again. Every time Mullendore would bet, Ten Eyck saw him and raised him. In a minute every cent Mullendore had was on the table, his studs, his rings, his gold watch and chain, everything! Ten Eyck still had over $400 and wanted to raise.

Mullendore got to feeling around in his pockets and came up with the deed to the Jackpot. And every man in the place stopped to watch.

There was a pause while Mullendore tried to get himself under control – and then the deed went on the table against the rest of Ten Eyck’s pile. The Dutchman pushed his pile into the pot as Mullendore dumped his cards face up on the table like he’d been holding so many anvils and was glad to lighten his load.

Ten Eyck took a long minute to light his pipe, took a puff. Then he turned over the Ace of Clubs. The corner of the Dutchmans mouth twitched. The Ace of Hearts took its place on the table. Ten Eyck’s mouth twitched again. Then the Ace of Spades was laid slowly and carefully along side the first pair of Aces.

A joyous whisper of “It’s an ace high full” went around. That was followed by a groan as the Ace of Diamonds was carefully laid beside the other three Aces. Ten Eyck hesitated. The crowd groaned again as the kibitzers calculated odds.

A full house beats four aces. Four aces on the table meant Mullendore won the pot, sure as little apples are round and red, and Ten Eyck was busted flat. But the Dutchman’s grin was spreading, and a joyous chuckle found its way past his pipe stem as he laid his last card on the table with a flourish. Joker!

The crowd gasped, and then roared! Five aces! The highest poker hand it is possible to get! Five aces would beat a royal flush if it were possible to get a royal flush with the ace in another hand.

Ten Eyck won the Jackpot! The Jackpot Cafe was paid off, free and clear! They say Ten Eyck laughed for fifteen minutes, and Mullendore cussed a blue streak for twenty, mourning the thirty five hundred bucks he’d lost. The five hundred he’d loaned Ten Eyck and the three thousand he was going to get for the Cafe! Well, the Dutchman had a reason to laugh. The thirty bucks he scraped together to pay his interest turned into the jackpot of a lifetime.

His place, free and clear, and nineteen hundred iron men in cold hard cash. A two hundred dollar Elgin watch, a set of gold studs, a couple of rings, and a few other knickknacks! And that was after he gave their losings back to the three guys who helped Hardman shill Mullendore into the game!

Hardman was hoping Mullendore would stop in carrying the days foreclosures, in his pocket like he usually did! For the rest, well, everyone who ate at the Jackpot was glad they gave Hardman a post graduate course in stacking a deck while his legs were healing. Hardman was the poker champ of the AEF, he was!

Mullendore didn’t take any chances. He didn’t play poker with Hardman or Ten Eyck. Period! Of course, Hardman and Ten Eyck didn’t put their money in Mullendore’s bank, either! That sort of made them even. But that’s that story.
OH, did you hear about the goat roper from Plano, Texas, who won the radio station contest? The grand prize was an all expenses paid trip to Puerto Rico. When he discovered he couldn’t drive his pickup to San Juan he almost didn’t go.

The boys he worked with finally talked him into getting on that big silver bird. Wound up in a $250 a nite hotel with about a mile of exclusive beach, well populated with well filled out bikinis! Just like the commercial.

He’s figuring on making a Texas impression on the gals, so the first morning he’s up early. He hit the beach in all his sartorial splendor. He had on his Nocona Python cowboy boots, hot pink boxer short swim trunks down to his knees, and a big black 1X Stetson. The girls totally ignored him. They wouldn’t say a word to him.

After striking out twenty five or thirty times he retires to the bar. Hoists a few. Meets a fellow. Buys the stranger a brew. Or two. Tells him all his troubles. The stranger is muy simpatico.

“I can’t help you with your girl problems in Texas,” says his new found friend. “But let me make a suggestion or two that will help you with the ladies around here. I know you are mighty proud of your boots, but leave them in your room. Leave your John B. Stetson hat in your room, too. Hats and boots may be hot in Texas but they don’t cut no ice over here.”

“Stop by the Surf Shop and pick yourself up a bikini bathing suit. A black one a couple of sizes too small would be the best. Oh, one last bit of advice. Go by the kitchen. Pick up a potato and slip it in your swim suit.”

The Tejano thanks his new buddy and tells him he will take his advice. And he does. The next morning he’s at the beach bright and early. Barefooted, bareheaded, in an itty bitty bikini suit that fit like a coat of spray paint. And his luck was even worse today than yesterday.

He tries to chat up twenty five or thirty of the dolly birds on the beach.
Not a word out of a one of them can he get. Every last one of them gives him a disgusted look and walks off. The Texan can’t figure this thing out. So he retires to the bar.

He’s nursing his second beer when his new found buddy walks in. The Texan hails him and tells him all of his troubles. His new chum looks him over close.

“Well, you did OK, as far as you went. If I were you, though,” the friendly stranger says, “I believe I’d put that potato in the FRONT of my bathing suit.”

Reading back over that last I notice I used the term “goat roper.” There ain’t nothing mysterious about the phrase, although some folks just want to make life complicated. Let’s see if we can untangle it. Starting at the beginning!

A real cowboy, a “vaquero” or “hand,” works stock on the range. Ropes callus your hands up and you can’t work stock without “stepping in it.” So a real cowboy has calluses on his hands and manure on his boots.

A “puncher” is not a vaquero. A puncher is the fellow with the prod who drives livestock onto cattle trucks or cars. Livestock is not very particular about cleanliness, so punchers step in manure also. A handshake might give it away but it’s hard to tell a puncher from a hand so a “cowboy” can be either one. A goat roper is somebody dressed in serviceable Western style clothes, a dude or dudette who wears the right duds, but who does not work stock. A ranch kid going to college, or the clerk at the saddle shop, for example. Since he or she does not work stock they have no reason to have manure on their boots. They may have been working cowboys, they may be again, but in any case a goat roper is dressed like but is not a working cowboy.

Notice that a goat roper is different from a “drug store cowboy.” A drug store cowboy dudes up in fancy Western style duds to impress the teeny boppers around the soda fountain. The hallmarks of the drug store cowboy are 1X hats, rhinestone hat bands, feather hat fans, fancy neckerchiefs, lacy or embroidered shirts, gold filigree belts, designer jeans, fake exotic skin boots, Mustang convertibles, and a yen for Huntsville Hare.

The kind of jailbait they call Parchman Partridge in Mississippi, Deer Lodge Doe in Montana, and San Quentin Quail in California. And “It’s the syme the ‘ole world overrrr, hit’s the poor ooo gets the blyme!”

A drug store cowboy is a fake, macho y macho. In the Spanish, “macho” means a jackass. By extension from jack’s flying hooves, “macho” also means a sledge hammer. Macho y macho means a hammering jackass, similar to a double dyed deceiver. Doubling both meanings, a sledge hammer and a jackass, “un machismo” is a dude or dudette who “hammers;” who acts so hard to be something they ain’t they make jackasses of themselves. I hope that’s clear. Anyway, the only time a drug store cowboy has manure on anything is when the toilet paper tears.

And while we are at it I suppose I should complete the set by clarifying the difference between a cowboy and a stockman. They are real easy to tell apart, if you are observant. The cowboy wears a big belt buckle on his belly, the stockman wears a big belly on his belt buckle!

Now, speaking of friendly strangers, I ran across one a while back in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. He noticed the Forrest County tag and comes over to discuss Farve and the Packers. This fellow was from Waynesboro, and he knew Hattiesburg very well. The Hattiesburg of thirty years ago, anyway. I am glad I’m not the only one who misses Fines and Waldoffs! And the Citizens Bank.

We were talking, and the subject of the provincial attitude of many Yankees came up. I was telling him how the waitress at Arby’s in Watertown, South Dakota, had to call all of the other employees over to “Hear this man talllk!,” before I could get my Arbycue sammitch! I hates to play Rover and “speak” before I can get any grub!

The stranger, his name was Eugene Something or Other, starts telling me about his experiences with the rude and ignorant folks in his end of the world. Eugene says when he first moved to Wisconsin in ’69 the locals really razzed him about being from Mississippi. That boy had a real hard time, don’t you know.

One day Eugene is trying to get his job done when a whole herd of Yankee pests come over and started in doing what comes natural to such folks, pestering him. Naturally, after a while Eugene gets a bit short with them.
“Tell us, Mister Mississippi,” says the leader of the pack, “are there any fools in Mississippi?”

“Well, we do have a few fools in Mississippi,” admits Eugene. “But they don’t run around in packs the way they do in Wisconsin!” Eugene says he hasn’t had much trouble with the two legged pests since then.

Now, Stevens Point is big Lutheran country. I remember back just after the war, when I summered in that part of the world every year, that a Lutheran WAC made news by marrying a Baptist Air Force Captain. After the ritual was over the Captain asked the padre how much he owed him for the splice job.

“Oh,” says the padre, “We do not charge for that. But if you like, you can give a donation based on the beauty of the bride.”

The Captain thought a moment, and then reached in his dress blues and handed the preacher a quarter. The pastor was a bit startled, so he steps up to the bride and lifts her veil. The padre took a long thoughtful look at the bride, then fumbled around under his robes and handed the groom fifteen cents change!

And that reminds me that I made the Sauk County fair at Baraboo in 1948. That was the polio year. Kids were dropping like flies from polio – and nobody knew how polio was spread.

The doctors were warning everyone that mosquitos and flies were likely carriers, so if you didn’t want to catch polio you had to make sure to keep the bugs out. And the bugs were well equipped to invade your personal space, whatever you did. The skeeters got their stingers busy, pried the screen wire far enough to make a hole and the flies followed them in!

There were some folks showing their stock and living in tents that had a hard time. The mosquitos hit them about eleven the first night. The skeeters ran the folks out of their tents and left them to huddle with their animals in the cattle barns the rest of the night. Because the livestock barns had been sprayed with “Devil Done Took’em” as the preacher described DDT.

The next morning the exhibitors looked out the barn windows and discovered the skeeters had torn the tents down and made slacks and suspenders from the canvas and tent ropes. The exhibitors got their own back, though.

One of the boys thought a little smoke would keep the bugs away. He made a torch out of wire and cloth and coal oil that made a fine smudge. That didn’t work, but in waving it around he accidently set a skeeter’s wings on fire.

That skeeter went flying off and first thing you knew there were thousands of burning mosquitoes. That sure caused some excitement! They had fire departments coming from as far away as Madison because they thought the fairgrounds was burning down.


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Listen To Nurse Tilton: “A Little Jive Is Good For You

Martha Tilton from 1941, the innocent times before Pearl Harbor:

Yep, a little jazz is good for you. Just like an occasional slab of Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy. But that’s a recipe for another day.



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Bogey Was A Real Polite Horse – He Was Happy To Let You Go Over The Fence First!

Well, there’s the late Phil Harris singing “Mama’s on the Warpath.”

The younger set probably remembers Phil Harris best for his voice of “Baloo” the bear, in Disney’s Jungle Book. The baby boomers probably best remember him for “The Thing,” or maybe “That’s What I Like About the South.” I remember his great show at the Minnesota State Fair, and the many tunes he put on the Hit Parade before Jack Benny hired him for his weekly radio show.

Besides big band music Harris’ shtick was his “drunk act.” That was one of the best such acts in the business. He would sure keep his audience in stitches for a half hour at a time. He gave good value for the price of admission. Let me add that Harris was much less a drinking man than he let on. As they say, “A drinking musician can’t get past the first bar.”

Yep, Phil Harris was probably the best known whiskey baritone in the business when I was a kid. Had a big band, used to make the ballroom circuit, with a few State Fair spots thrown in for variety.

The first time I heard The Thing was the day I tried to ride some of the foolishness out of Bogie, one of Tag Taggert’s horses. Tag “rode the range in a Ford V8,” but he kept horses for fun and let anyone he considered reliable ride them. It kept the horse from forgetting what Tag was feeding it for!

That little favor to Tag made me think I was crippled for life. I haven’t been that sore or that dirty, before or since. I think I mentioned the day Sheila Reid came in the Jackpot skint from one end of the other. She had lost enough hide to resole an elephant, and enough more to half sole a rhinoceros, and Sheila wasn’t that big to start with.

When they asked her why she was wearing a square yard of tape and gauze, Sheila said she’d been riding a real polite horse. It let her go over a fence first! I knew all about that little stunt because Bogie had done it to me.

Yessir, I had my share of soaring without wings, courtesy of my friend the brand inspectors horse. (Bogie was named after the actor. Tag’s wife said he looked like Bogart. Humphrey Bogart did have a sort of a horse face, at that!)

Now, what brought all this reminisce on in the first place was something on the toob. A jugheaded idiot was collecting the Screen Actors Guild minimum, “guesting” on the “News,” supposedly giving a police officers view of things.

You have to understand that Windy Bill has never been a cop, or much of anything else. He joined a police farce, and about halfway through training decided he’s not cut out to write tickets, he’s cut out to be a union organizer. And he didn’t feel like working his way up the ranks so he started his own police union! His “police organization” has just about sixteen hundred members.

Wholly involuntary members, from what I can understand from the several members of his union that I know. And he takes their dues and his $1700.00 per appearance Screen Actors Guild pay with a smile, just as often as he can.

Anyhow, this play cop was on the boob toob, deponing that no law abiding citizen had any reason not to stop when ordered to by a “police officer.” In theory, he’s right. But let me tell you two things. First, these days I want to see the markings on the car – there are too many crimes committed by criminals with blue lights.

Second, there’s plenty of times when a someone with the most innocent of intentions just don’t want to see no po-leece! Period.

One of the several times in my life when I didn’t want to see no po-leece, no shurf, no highway pe-troll, nor nobody else, was when Bogie pitched me over a barb wire fence into French’s pasture. I rolled about twice and fetched up in a puddle covered with green scum.

I climbed back over that fence covered with stinking green slime; feeling my way because I was mostly blinded; thanking God that it was only about three hundred yards to Sand Creek and Tag kept a bar of Octagon Soap in his saddle bags. And a towel! And a bottle of liniment! And I threw in a few extra thanks that Bogie would stay ground tied.

I led that horse to water and he acted like it hurt his feelings to follow me. It hurt my feelings to walk, but I wasn’t about to mess Tag’s saddle up! It took me the better part of an hour to get me and my clothes clean enough to make a trip to my room to take a regular bath tub full of the hottest water Mrs. Baker’s antique “Volcano” could heat. Until I was clean clear through I darn sure didn’t want to see no police! Nor nobody else.

Now, I didn’t blame Bogie. You ride a horse, you are supposed to keep a leg on both sides and your mind in the middle. If I had been doing my part, I would have stayed between cantle and horn, where I was supposed to.

My mind was straying. I don’t remember where but at that age I probably had a gal on my mind. There were several gals around that were well worth looking twice at and thinking about later. But after that I paid attention when I rode that bronc – and I put quite a few miles on him. He was a good horse but any flash, like the sun on a wire, would cause him to try to unload. Some sudden, at that.

But anyway, talking to folks here and yonder I get the
idea that everyone has at least once found himself in a fix that would have been a whole lot worse for the presence of an ossifer of the law! And I have had my share.

I stepped out of a Pennsy freight car one dark night and discovered that the nice soft bank I was jumping on was covered with four foot tall blackberry bushes. About forty acres of them, with spines in abundance! I didn’t want any police obstructing my search for my war bag – and I didn’t want to show my over exposed stern in public until I could find a spare set of seat covers.

I have locked my keys in my truck twice and had to burgle my own wheels. I liberated a gallon of French’s “Lost Weekend” moonshine one time, too. That would have been real hard to explain because my monthly paycheck was a county voucher, drawn on the Sheriff’s account.

They called French’s tipple “Lost Weekend” because a couple of drinks and you lost the weekend! I don’t know what he put in that stuff besides pears, sugar and yeast, spuds, and wheat, but it was some potent. One drink and your buddies would wonder which was the deepest, biggest, and roundest. Your eyes or a post hole! Two drinks and you either slept a while, or you got up and did wonders!

I saw Billy Peet, the laziest Indian in Oklahoma, set a half mile of fence posts, string the wire, pull it double tight with a come-along, and staple it down. By himself. On one pint of Lost Weekend. And not only not remember, but claim he was too honest to take money for something he didn’t do!

Getting Billy to dig a post hole was a wonder. Getting him to build fence for a day was a miracle. But, you know, Billy wouldn’t take another drink of Lost Weekend! Said it made him too tired when he drank that stuff! He also claimed two drinks of it would raise blisters on your hands.

Of course, some of the folks that took two drinks took the second one at gunpoint, because it was hell for stout. You take a sip of Lost Weekend and it would burn all the way from the tip of your tongue to the end of your – AHEM!

It was so stout that Ol’ Hardman swore to me that he left a glass full of pneumonia cure made with French’s Finest mixed on his porch while he visited the privy, and when he came out he saw a hummingbird taking a sip.

Hardman swore he followed that hummingbird down to Jacobs, where the kids were growing game roosters for a 4H project, and that bird whipped every rooster on the place. Of course, I can’t say here what else he said that hummingbird did – but if Hardman was telling anything like the truth the Jacobs kids should have gotten some real long billed biddies in their next hatch! Biddies that would have been really hard to keep in the coop!

I “liberated” some because a friend of mine was down with lung rot, pneumonia, and what the croaker had available wasn’t doing him no good at all. A water glass full of hot whisky, lemon juice, and sugar isn’t in the Pharmacopeia, but it seems to do about as well as the drugs that were available. (And to tell the truth, the drugs that are available now!) At least that’s what I poured down him and he was up and feeblin’ around in a couple of days. Chasin’ women in a week – and that’s a sure sign of a cure.

I have drunk whisky, and rum, and gin. I tried some rice wine that kept me drunk for a week. I drank some arrack, what the Hindu’s claim will make a rabbit whip a tiger. I tell you true, I never drank anything more potent than French’s bootleg whisky. Or anything that tasted worse. Except the time the doctor gave me a ‘scrip for ox gall. And I’m not sure gall tasted worse than French’s.

At that time, Oklahoma was the wettest dry state in the nation. And the law was well aware that French was distilling his water of life. But before Big Peters took office he told French as long as he didn’t sell any of his snakebite cure – and as long as it didn’t cause the law any trouble – he wasn’t interested. So French ran off a gallon every now and again and stayed on the good side of the law.

French figured Bill Peters would be four years and out. French didn’t take into account how much people appreciated good law enforcement you could depend on to do what’s right. Bill didn’t necessarily act according to the letter of the law, because lawyers run for office so they can make laws to make lawyers money. Bill did what was fair and proper under the circumstances.

Let me tell you – Billy Peet’s legally wedded wife came looking for Big one day. The usual story – house full of kids and no support. In those days, that was a lot less against the law than it is now. ‘Fact, most law enforcement people then or now wouldn’t have done the first thing about Billy’s wife and children going hungry.

These days the law refers victims of neglect or abuse to welfare. And if your life’s been threatened, there’s no use to tell the police. They will tell you to get a court order. As if a wife beater will obey any court order out of sight of the judge!

If you are on the recieving end you better make sure your burial insurance premiums are paid up and get on the right side of God because the shysters have the police tied up forty ways from Sunday. Either that or find a twelve gauge and learn to use it.

But it wasn’t that way with Big Peters. Big went looking for Billy. Found him, too! I heard Big picked Billy up by the scruff of the neck and shook him but I wasn’t there. I do know Billy went to the oil patch and the biggest part of his pay checks came addressed to his wife via Bill Peters.

Billy’s wife quit running into doors and bruising her face all up. His kids lost that lean and hungry look. And when Billy came home – he brought something for the wife besides a hangover, and some more somethings for the kids.

And when he came home Billy’s wife and kids acted glad to see him. Like they were supposed to. And Billy came up to the Courthouse and thanked Big Peters publicly for putting his moccasins on the right trail. That was one thing about Bill Peters. If it was his business to fix it he fixed it. And if the Legislature said it wasn’t his business he fixed it anyway!

What you did behind your doors pretty much wasn’t any of his business. What you did where other people could see better be strictly on the up and up. If Big was told something he kept it quiet and checked it out. He didn’t waste any time, but he didn’t go off half cocked, either. And Big Peters believed the punishment should fit the crime.

The most common crime was public drunk and possession of ardent spirits. Ardent spirits was anything over two percent alcohol. Judge Ross started at ninety days and if the cure didn’t take you got a years worth of second chance. Prisoners loaded gravel trucks with grain scoops. And if you were not in good physical condition when you went to jail, you were when you got out!

And you didn’t ever, not never, want to come back. It wasn’t that you were treated badly. You got more to eat than most prisoners cared to eat, from the Jackpot, as good as any grub in town, and plenty of good healthful exercise.

Visitation was every evening from 7:00 to 9:00 winters, sundown to 10:00 summers, and from 1:00 to 5:00 on Sunday. If the Sheriff was convinced you were gentle, and you were married, there was a room they called a “temporary cell” where you could have an hour’s privacy. And you got taken to Church every Sunday morning and evening, whether you wanted to or not. None of that was according to the “Code of the State of Oklahoma, as revised.” All that was according to Peters!

No, it wasn’t harsh treatment that made people stay out of jail. Most prisoners ate and slept better in the jug than they did at home. And some of them saw more of their wives and families while they were in the Callaboose Arms Motel than while they were “free.” No sir, it was just that the work was so durn regular that made folks stay away! Sunup to sundown, Monday to Saturday!

Over in Arkansas, Cummings Prison had “Black Annie.” Black Annie was a black leather strap, and the prisoners lived in deathly fear of spending an evening with the lady. I hear the percentage of Cummings prisoners who came back to Cummings was less than fifteen percent. I don’t know what the percentage of backsliders Big Peters rest cure had, but it was mighty low.

Now, speaking of the Jackpot, I don’t remember ever mentioning how the place got its name. The faded sign said “CITTY CAFE, E. TEN EYCK, PROP.” That was sure enough confusing. Strangers used to detour fifty miles to eat at the Jackpot and then they couldn’t find the place.

Like the time the four preachers stopped me and asked for directions. I was sort of hiding out, trying to stay clear of Lizzie Cooter at the time. That was just after Lizzie peed in the well at Brother Cook’s Church Raising. Lizzie adulterated the church’s drinking water, just before dinner on the ground!

All her friends cut her dead, and she acted like she wanted to take up with me. The thought of cuddling up with that well stacked red headed gal was sure interesting, but the thought of how mad the Lane Cooters, Junior and Senior, would have been was enough to make me lose interest in the proposition.

Adding that to the fact that Lizzie had a temper like a cage full of wildcats – and the idea of having the Cooter twins for in-laws sure enough made me lose interest. I figured it was just about time to make myself scarce. Like that banker who lost interest and just faded away!

I was watching for Lizzie, but these preachers snuck up on me! Of course, I didn’t know they were preachers. As long as they kept their mouth shut they were just four guys who shopped the black suit rack.

The first time I knew these preachers were in the world was when a loud voice assaulted my ears. T’was no trouble to match voice to profession. This bellow had that HEEE HAWWWW, that jackass rhythm some preachers get.

“YOUNG man AHHH, WHERE IS THE AHHH, JACKPOT CAFE AHHH? WE HAVE AHHH, HEARD OF THE AHHH, EXCELLENCE OF AHHH, IT’S PROVENDER, AHHH, AND WE WISH TO, AHHH, PARTAKE THEREOF,” the voice said, real loud. I turned around and there was a nice shiny black ’48 Hudson with four preachers inside!

I got them turned around and headed in the right direction in a flash. Then I decided the Jackpot was such a good idea I decided to break my fast there. So I put one foot in front of the other and went.

When I got there the preachers were in booth five. I sat down in six, where I could see Lizzie Cooter coming and maybe barricade myself in the biffy if I could not make it out the back door.

Well, the preachers had enjoyed a fine meal. They were just at the point of putting a cuppa joe down on top of it for tamping. And they were talking Church business. One preacher, with a voice like a can of oil, was lamenting that the peons in his district didn’t want to leave the Catholic Church because his church didn’t have confessional. No confession, no conversion! So oily voice was in favor of putting in a confessional right then.

The loud mouth who startled me was wholly in agreement. Their church should have a confessional. It was “AHHH, NECESSARY THAT, AHHH,” their church have a confessional! In order to lead the poor straying lambs to God and increase the weekly offering, of course.

“And, AHHH, let me be the first to AHHH, confess my sins. My major sin is, AHHH, the desires of the flesh. There’s AHHH, an attractive young widow AHHH, who works at the proving grounds AHHH. She looks better every Sunday. She is so attractive and friendly that I AHHH think of her night and day. Just last Sunday AHHH, she said she wished I would drop by AHHH, her home for coffee.!”

The oily voiced one began his song. “A desire for other people’s property is my failing. I hardly ever call on a parishioner without coming away with some small token of my visit. I have taken ash trays, salt cellars, and all sorts of small things. I fear that I shall soon begin taking money and other valuables.”

The third preacher took up the refrain. “I been drinkin’ whisky since I was ten. I used to slip whisky out of my Uncle’s jug and pee in the jug so’s to cover my tracks. He was always fussin’ about how salty and weak the whisky got when he let a jug get old. All because of me. I’ll drink anything. Whisky, gin, shine, anything. I guess you could call me a hard down sot drunk!”

The fourth preacher started his song. I thought he sounded rather pleased, too, as he said “I’m mighty glad you didn’t call on me first. You see, my deadly and overriding sin is a terrible compulsion to engage in idle gossip.”

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A Bit O’ Phil Cunningham for fast steppers

Phil Cunningham, with the Four Stroke Reel and Martin O’Malley’s Flying Clog:



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The Aliens Eat Reporters And Pee Oil..

Well, PRM has some gal reading the news. So far her script has been an eclectic mix of circular reasoning, oxymoron’s, and non sequitur’s. The sort of mindless verbiage logicians abhor.

Her script reminds me of the guy in the nervous hospital who was up before the sanity board.

“Ah, Mr. Jones,” sez the head shrink, “What do you intend to do if you win your release?”

“I’m going home, and I’m going to the park and talk up the prettiest girl I can find. And when we get real friendly, when evening comes I’m going to take her down to the lake, and I’m going to hug her and kiss her tenderly, and talk her into taking her clothes off,” sez the inmate.

“You have been here five years, so that sounds pretty normal,” sez the shrink. “Do you have any other plans?”

“Yes,” sez the looney, “When I get her clothes off I’m going to grab her girdle and run back here just as fast as I can. And when I get here I’m going to use that girdle for a slingshot and bust out every window in this dam place.”

Yessir, compared to the script writer passing propaganda as “news,” that fellow was perfectly sane. Those writers have that poor parrot sounding as out of touch with reality as the gal who thought she had a touch of female trouble. She hadn’t “come ’round.” She was nauseous every morning. Her waistband was getting tight, too.

So her Doc scheduled her for a sonogram. After she was through the Doc turned to her and says “Mrs. Smith, you are going to be the mother of twins.”

“Oh, Doctor,” sez the gal, “That’s impossible. In the first place, I’m Miss Smith, not Mrs.. And in the second place, I never double date.”

No, that gal wasn’t too bright. Let me change the station to something, well, there’s Dylan Connerly’s Orchestra playing the “Four Stroke Flying Clog.” No, not what you think, the four stroke refers to an internal combustion engine. But it will do. If you had four fast feet you could even dance to it. At about 360 steps to the minute.

And Kritter K Kat is looking at me like “why didn’t you change stations hours ago.” I must say Kat’s got good taste in music. He likes it loud and fast.

Either that or that look means “I want another can of cat food.” You ever think about what dogs and cats think about people?

Pets are bound to think people are the greatest hunters in the world. We leave every morning and come back with all these wonderful cans full of delicious food! And when they hunt they have to deal with that yucky fur! But anyhoo….

Talking about dullards ‘minds me of a guy I used to work with. Mike wasn’t the sharpest knife in the rack either, not by no means. He ran across Doc Graves at the Owl’s lunch counter one day and braced him about his “trouble.”

“Doc, I got a problem and I sure would appreciate it if you’d give me something for it,” sez Mike.

“Well, if you let me examine you in my office I might be able to help. But what is the nature of your problem?”

“I keep dreaming I’m fooling around with one beautiful woman after another, Doc.”

“And you want me to give you something to stop your dreaming?” asked the Doc, more than a little incredulously.

“Hey-yell no!” exclaimed Mike. “I want something to keep me from waking up in the middle of the dream.”

Which reminds me of Jimmy Muirhead, who was a Cardinals fan par excellence. From April to September Jim ate and slept Cardinals baseball and Sand the Mayun Musial.

Jimmy and Whitey were in the Rexall talking to some of their buddies and Jimmy complained that all he dreamed about was baseball. He said he couldn’t do a good day’s work unless he got a night’s sleep, and he couldn’t get a good night sleep for dreaming about baseball.

“Well, go to sleep thinking about Rita Hayworth or somebody.” suggested Pills Pennington.

“What,” Jimmy hollers. “And let Musial take my turn at bat?”

Talking about Jimmy reminds me of how he got spliced, one night between dark thirty and daylight. It came on him real sudden, like.

Jimmy was sweet on Lois Parker, and Lois liked the idea a lot. So late nights Jimmy would park his Model A at Johnson’s line fence and walk a half mile to see his girl. That was so he didn’t wake the old folks, you know. Lois’d let him in and they would pile up in the parlor settee to do some serious smooching’ and cuddling’, when that was scandalous behavior.

Well, one July night Jimmy and Lois were all wrapped up in each other when Maw and Paw discovers them. So they send Lois to her room and as soon as she’s out of sight Paw gives Jimmy a choice. Take Lois to town and get hitched tonight, or never darken their door again.

Jimmy tries to hem and haw a little and gets kicked out. Jimmy decides to jump the fence at the side of the house and cut across the Parker pasture to his car. But being upset he forgets Parker’s prize bull! Jimmy gets about half way across that 40 and hears a snort. He looks up, and there’s a ton of beef with it’s head down headed his way.

Now, Jimmy being young and not at all stupid starts backpedaling. And the bull comes even faster. So Jimmy cuts and runs! All the time he’s setting an unofficial worlds record in the eighth of a mile dash for life, he’s thinking that the pasture fence ends at each side of the house. It’s further to a fence than to the house. If he can jump high enough and grab the kitchen roof he can swing himself up and save his neck.

He gets to the house, stretches to grab the roof, and the bull gives him a shot in the shorts that catapults him over the kitchen roof and through a second story bedroom window. Where Lois is settin’ bawling her eyes out because her folks have sent Jimmy packing.

Lois’jaw drops, and Jimmy, thinking fast, scrambles to his feet, gathers her up and sez he’s decided to take her daddy up on his offer. Lois decides she don’t need a lot of jawing, she needs a lifetime of Jimmy’s holding, and she’s years behind. So she don’t waste any time setting out to catch up.

Now, the old folks thought the racket from the bull hitting the kitchen and Jimmy hitting the floor was their tun of hard cider exploding in the cellar. So they run downstairs, find nothing, run back upstairs, see nothing, so Paw grabs the shotgun and they run up to Lois’ room.

They throw the door open and there’s Jimmy and Lois standing there holding each other. Before Paw can jack a shell in the chamber Jimmy sez “Mr. Parker, I think you got another son in the family.”

The JayPee wasn’t all that glad to be roused out but he did the job none the less. And I don’t know that Jimmy ever did tell Lois exactly how he made that flying leap through her window. After the initial shock was over he seemed happy about the deal, though.

But talking about Dr. Zebulon B. Graves, MD, reminds me of the very stylish and attractive gal who ran Doc Graves down in the Owl, while he was chatting with Marshal Smith and Johnny Cooper.

This partying gal was a pal of Virgie, the Owl’s night cashier, worked at the Vogue, looked good and knew it, and she was so pleasant and attractive Emmett and Ed were absolutely convinced every man needed a six pack of them. Personal, I am in favor of an excess of good things but even one night of getting sugar from six of those gals would have been overkill. But at least a man would be sure to die with a smile on his face.

Anyhoo, the gal thought she was whispering but all us coffee drinkers could hear her embarrassed question. “Doctor, did you find, er, uh, umm, a pair of, uh, oh dear, a pair of black lace step ins in your examination room?”

“Uh, no, Mrs, I have not,” sez the Doc, some surprised.

“Oh dear,” stammered the gal, blushing brighter and speaking louder. “I cannot think, oh dear oh dear, oh MY GOODNESS! I must have left them at the dentists!”

Doc Graves now, was one of several doctors and dentists who had offices in the Carter Building, upstairs over he Evans and Drummond drug store. ZB’s office was down the hall from another quack, er, doctor. Since I don’t know where this guy went I won’t call his name. Although I suspect Dennis Miller could call his name and tell where he went, after a little thought, maybe.

Anyhoo, this duck was more than a little peculiar. He complemented his patients about their looks. All his patients, as long as they were reasonably healthy. The Latins call that “throwing flowers,” like you might be interested in a much closer acquaintance. One of his gal patients told him he was quite a ladykiller.

“Beautiful lady, I make no distinction between the sexes.”

You can take that any way you want. But rumor had it he was the only Doctor in town who examined women’s chests with their bras on. I don’t know about that, but Lothar Hugghhes had tonsillitis and this drake made him pull his pants down.

Lothar said he got a real thorough examination, although he had no idea that a doctor could examine a tonsil from that end. Of course, there were other doctors in town with more conventional ideas.

There used to be an MD just off Hardy Street who kept offices in the front of his house. This dude insisted that every female patient strip at least to the waist. One gal stomped into the disrobing room and started taking her clothes off; fuming that she didn’t understand why she had to strip.

“I only came here because of my sinuses, and the Doctor told me to strip to the waist!” she exclaimed.

“You think you don’t understand,” said a completely naked woman sitting in a chair. “The doctor’s wife invited me over to play her new piano.”

Now, you understand this is Mississippi and our state bar association’s motto is “Jackpot Justice for All;” so I can’t call the names of living people. Or some dead ones, for that matter.

The story went around a few years ago one of the local medical types had a big society wedding in New Orleans, and the newlyweds took the train to Mobile on their honeymoon. When they checked in the hotel the Doc told the desk clerk he wanted a suite.

“Bridal?” asked the observant clerk.

“No,” blurted the new bride. “I’ll just hold on to his shoulders until I get the hang of it.”

But I just glanced at the tube and saw a face that reminds me of Bob Posey’s Uncle Jim. Bob was the oldest’s first born, and Jim was her youngest brother. So Bob and Jim were playmates.

Needles to say, Bob’s mama came from a big family. Nineteen kids in twenty some years. They said when Bob’s grandma went home with Jim the nurse hollered out “We’ll see you again next year.”

Bob’s grandma said “You won’t see me again. Me and my husband have finally figured out what causes ‘em.”

Anyhoo, Bob got hitched as soon as he came back from Kaiser Bill’s war, WWI, but Jim bought a store and got busy gettin’ rich. And did. Even the Depression didn’t slow Jim down. It proves the adage that those with money can buy up the competition and make even more money, instead.

But when Hitler started talking war, Jim woke up to the fact he might be drafted, and he didn’t have an heir. So he decided to get hitched and remedy the omission.

But he was a little worried about it. He’d been so busy corralling all the coin in sight his romantic interludes had been a couple of visits a year to those houses with the red lights in front. And he hadn’t set the mattress on fire then.

Today, a man in Jims condition might consider seeing a doctor for a ration of those little blue pills. But in those days a man began to feel puny he visited a “clinic” that specialized in “glands.”

Polite folks said the absent one had gone to get his glands checked. The snide ones said he was after a set of “goat glands.” Or “monkey glands” if they went overseas.

In the spring of 1939 Jim went first class. To a clinic in Lucerne, Switzerland. And it wasn’t a cheap trip.

According to the gal at the bank, Jim paid the clinic nine
thousand 1940 dollars up front, and cabled for two thousand more so he could pick the monkey. Chimpanzee, actually.

As soon as he could walk Jim took the fast train to Calais, ferried to London, and took a liner back to New York. He didn’t want to be out of the country when war broke out. And nearly didn’t make it.

As soon as he could get around good he started looking for a wife. And found one working in his store in Olathe, Kansas. Married her Valentines day of ’40, and took her home to Neosho.

By November of ’41, Jim’s wife was pretty big and having a hard time. So Jim figures he’d take her up to Excelsior Springs Resort to take the water and get waited on hand and foot for a couple of weeks, drive thirty miles to spend Thanksgiving with her family, and then take her home and wait for the baby.

But both weather and babies have their own schedule. Just before Thanksgiving Excelsior Springs was under three feet of snow. You couldn’t go anywhere except slide down the hill on a toboggan and trudge back up.

So the baby decided it was time to come see what this strange world looked like. It was a good thing the Resort was a health spa and had a full medical staff and clinic right there on the grounds.

“Don’t worry about a thing,” sez the manager, “we deliver two or three babies a year and we have never lost a father. There’s a couple of contagious people in the clinic but we will turn a meeting room into a lying in room and everything will be fine.”

So that’s how they did it, and from what I heard everything went just as smooth as those things ever do. Jim was wearing holes in the Resort’s carpet when he heard a baby screaming its head off.

Then the Doc come busting out of the birthing room cussin’ a blue streak and Jim couldn’t help himself. He grabs the Doc by the lapels and demands “Doc, is it a boy or a girl? I heard a baby cry, is it a boy or a girl?”

“I’m going for a ladder,” snarls the Doc, “And as soon as we get it down off the chandelier I’ll tell you.”

And yessir, that politician on the toob was the spittin’ image of his daddy. I just can’t figure out which one. Jim or the monkey. Judging by his behavior, and by his reddish hair, I’m sorta leaning toward the chimp.

Anyhoo, what passes for “news” reminds me of the old joke about the White House staffer who woke the President at two in the morning with an urgent phone call from the Pentagon. That got the Prez’ attention!

“Mr. President, this is General Kozlowski at the Pentagon. I’m sorry to have to awaken you at this time in the morning but an urgent situation has come up. I have both good news and bad news to bring to your attention.”

“Uh, OK, give me the bad news first,” said our now completely awake Maximum Leader.

“The bad news is that we have been invaded by millions of aliens from another planet,” sez the General. “They are colonizing California.”

“Good Lord!” exclaimed the Prez. “And what’s the good news?”

“The good news, sir, is that they eat TV news anchors and pee oil.”

Unfortunately, that’s just a joke, however desperately we need less propaganda and more petroleum. But…

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Fast Musica Italiano, and Italian Ladies

A medium tempo tarantella, along with a bit of eye candy:



Posted in EYE CANDY, FOLLIES | Leave a comment

Which Way Do You Go To Get To Claremore

Fall is falling, and PR Kali is so dry the redwoods are chasing dogs. Down here on the Gulf coast, we have had a whole bunch of that liquid sunshine.

Yep, it’s October and it will soon be Halloween, Turkey day, and then Xmas. If you are like me you need to start right now practicing writing ’15! Me, I stopped scribbling ’99 about the fifteenth of June. Of 2012.

I heard a chat t’other day between a couple of folks from Idaho talking about snow in their weekend forecast. They were hoping there would be enough of the white stuff to go skiing by Halloween. The way the weather has been they probably won’t have to wait that long.

Skiing, though, that’s a kind of dementia I prefer to enjoy in absentia. I’d rather break a leg falling off a horse than a mountain. Because I might be able to crawl back on a horse and ride home with a busted leg, and I sure couldn’t do that on a pair of skis.

Besides, I am not really much of a snow person. I remember ‘Ceel Sproat telling my Mama it took twenty minutes to get Cicely dressed to go out, and that was four times as long as she would stay out. I was only about five but I understood that perfectly.

It was so cold outside that winter of ’38 the trees were freezing ans splitting. How cold? Seriously, it was so cold that the mercury in the thermometer froze. So cold you could throw a bucket of boiling water out the door, and it would freeze into ice balls before it hit the ground. It was cold!

And there wasn’t much a kid could do outside, dressed like we were. I kid you not the drill for outside started with a bathroom break. Then we put on wooly long johns and wool socks that seemed an inch thick. The we got wool pants pegged into snow boots, two or three wool shirts, a wool vest, sheepskin coat, wool parka, and a wool overcoat on top of that. If we fell down at the top of a hill, we rolled to the bottom. And then could not get up without help.

To add insult to injury, we all wore idiot mittens. Idiot mittens have a string up your coat sleeve, across your back, and down to the other mitten. You couldn’t lose one for money. But you couldn’t take ‘em off, and if you needed to hang on to something or pull anything off you were in a world of hurt.

But that was haute couture for us pre-schoolers when the mercury hit freezing. When it got to single digits most mamas added a turtleneck sweater and about ten feet of wool scarf to the forty pounds of sheep hair we already wore. Us kids would rather have been cold!

Because that high style outfit made us look like a plaid sheep; and scratch like a sheep with fleas! Grown ups wore silk long johns under their woollies, but folks thought scratching did a kid good. It kept us warm!

We weren’t very mobile either. ‘Fact, dressed like that, there wasn’t much we could do outside but fall down and make snow angels. So we didn’t ask to go out much; stay out any longer than we had to when we went; or participate in winter sports. We definitely never learned to ski.

But skiing would probably be more fun than sitting home watching TV. There is not much going on between commercials and what there is isn’t worth watching. It’s like Abe Martin’s comment about the cow patty pie. “Sort o’ tasteless.”

I heard one fresh married guy say that thanks to the tube, his honeymoon was deja vu all over again. I know what he means – you can see more bare hide and goings on in a typical family hour than you could in the old days in Canal Street’s PUssycat Theater, Canal Street’s “adult” picture show. You don’t have to look around a burly New Orleans cop that was blocking your view of the screen, either.
here’s a serious thought going around that Hollywood and the networks’ explicit sex and violence is the reason the Muslim world hates America and the West. That could easily be. There isn’t a more conservative bunch of preachers in the world than the imams and ayatollahs. Overexposure is blasphemy to them.

Speaking of overexposure, the “news” has some sort of protest in DC. One of the protesters just went in the Gap. She filled the doorway like the fillin’ in a hollow tooth, all by herself. Now she’s peelin’ her clothes off. They say there are fifty million obese women in the US. This looks like a crowd of ‘em all by herself.

She’s a regular Lucky Strike, so round, so firm, so fully packed. If she is as tall as she is wide four or five guys could shelter in her shade.

The fascinating creature is down to a bikini top and a thong. That gal could sell cellulite by the acre! I figure her belt size is equator. I bet you her drivers license picture is continued on the other side. If Moses could have seen that gal there would be eleven commandments.

Oh well, that just proves all the clowns ain’t in the circus. And the biggest clown is the gal who overexposed that much flesh on national TV. That display of bad form would be a hanging offense in a civilized society.

Anyhoo, there’s a scroll under the talkin’ head about that Barbra Striesand gal. She’s Hollywood’s political commissar, you know.
The scroll says Babs sent orders to Reid and Pelosi to attack. And now the head is bragging about Obama and Slick Willy low ratin’ the United States.

Just shows the flunkies are prompt about toeing the party line. Babs gives orders and the flunkies obey. Next week there will be a scroll about how much money Barbra is giving the Party. Yep, money makes politicians fetch!

Oh well, that’s enough of politics. Not that there’s any shortage of political jokes. “Mississippi Legislature” is only two words but it’s one of the longest running, or standing, or sitting, jokes anywhere.

That bunch of underemployed shysters making laws to make lawyers money makes me feel the way the fellow who drove up to the fork where the cutoff and the old road to Claremore meet felt. The left hand arrow says “Claremore.” And the right hand arrow says “Claremore.” Which is sort of confusing.

So he rolls down his window and asks a fellow plowing a field how you get to Claremore.

“Don’t matter a jot to me how you get to Claremore,” was the answer.

And Congress don’t care how we get there and isn’t in any hurry to go.

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A Friend Of Ours “Takes On Obama”

The Sinister Left’s Post and Courier reports a friend of ours, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal paid a visit to the Citadel, and too took on B. Hussein Obama while he was speaking.

Briefly quoting the Post and Courier report linked above:

Much of the recent media coverage of the Obama presidency has focused on the frustrations of the president with the political process,” Jindal told more than 60 people, mostly cadets, inside a classroom Tuesday night.

“Time and again, he turns to the ‘third person’ to explain the ineffectiveness of his leadership.

“It is always ‘they’ who stand against his noble aims to help the people, ‘they who botched Obamacare, ‘they’ who underestimated the threats of ISIS. For this president, there’s always someone else to blame,” he said.

Yep. That is true. There is always someone else to blame, never Obama. And it is the same way with other far left pols, although Rahm Emanuel, Moonbeam Brown, Cuomo, Malloy, O’Malley, and the rest do not get the day to day scrutiny of B. Hussein O’ gets.

But the headline is what caught my attention. Quoting:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal takes on President Obama at The Citadel

Governor Jindal has the tools to “take on” almost anyone. But the Oh-man apparently chose choom instead of competence when talent was handed out.


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