Well, I had some good music on and I got a complaint. A daughter in law said she couldn’t hear the TV. I don’t know why not, I could hear it! Besides, GOOD music is made to be played so loud you can hear it last month.
But I was tired. Mowing the grass. You see, we have this 48 inch Toro and my front yard is just wide enough to park two small cars end to end. But mowing makes me tired.
Been that way since I used to help Al Nelson, Al the Gravedigger in the Trib, mow the Lutheran Cemetery and get it ready for Memorial Day. That was a rite of spring when I was a kid.
I must say, that was the thickest grass I have ever had the dis-pleasure of mowing. Thick, and tough, and full of damfinos. You know what damfinos are. Those scraggly things that grow in the lawn that you can’t put a name to. The ones your neighbor asks about and you say “Damfino, the things just popped up there.”
But for some reason I was reminded of Siloam Springs, up in the Wonder State. Oklahoma was a dry state so it was natural that there were all sorts of watering holes between the Springs and the state line. Back when I used around there the local Constable was Ulysses Henderson. Which, everybody called him Useless behind his back.
Because Useless was just about that, except he was tough on drunks. Being an insomniac he’d get out about midnight, just in time to ketch the one ayem closing time blowoff from the bars.
He’d lurk in the shadows and watch who came stumbling out of the bar and as soon as they hit the road he was on ’em like white on rice. Some of the boys got fed up with getting caught every week or two so they did something about it.
Useless’ first whiff of what was going on was the night Kenny Wayne Heflin came stumbling out of the Stateline and sat down hard on the ground. He manages to crawl to a pickup and hand over hand himself up the bars in the grille to get back on his pins. Then he fumbles around in his pocket for ten minutes, digging for keys.
After he gets the keys out he proceeds to try every car in the lot until he finally finds his own truck. Just about twenty feet from where Useless was lurking. After he gets the door open he sets there with the dome light on, fumbling for the ignition switch! While every other fly in the bar makes his exit and drives away.
Useless see him take ten minutes searching for the keyhole – and put the wrong key in the lock. Finally, Kenny Wayne gets his pickup cranked and heads out of the lot headed for the state road. Useless sprints back to his patrol car and redlights Kenny Wayne just as he turns on the state highway.
Kenny Wayne stops like he’d been expecting to be stopped.
And howdy’s Useless just like it was the most natural thing in the world to get stopped by a county mounty at one thirty in the morning.
Useless shines his light in the Kenny Wayne’s face – and he looks as sober as a judge. Useless smells of Kenny’s breath – which smells like cinnamon gum and onions.
Useless gets Kenny Wayne to close his eyes and touch his nose; stand on one foot; walk a straight line; recite the alphabet forward and backward, recite the Gettysburg address, and the conclusion was as plain as Harry Reid’s nose. The boy was stone cold sober!
“But I seen you fall down when you come out of the bar; and I seen you fumble for a half hour with your keys. Yet you are sober! How can this be?” Useless demands.
“Easy,” sez Kenny Wayne. “I’m the designated decoy tonight.”
Talking about driving while sober, that reminds me of an old boy from Mobile, in Alabama, who bought a brand new Corvette! A red convertible Corvette!!
This Old Boy pulls out of the dealers lot, heads up I 65 and pushes it up to 80 miles an hour. After an hour or so he makes a U turn at Evergreen and heads back to Mobile. Still doing 80 miles an hour or more.
But two hours of the wind air condition his bald spoIt did not quench his desire for adventure so he takes a right at the end of 65 and heads down I 10. He passes the Mississippi line and decides he’s going to put the hammer down and see what she’d do.
He crossed the Pascagoula river doing a flat 100. But just as he passes the rest area at the west end of the bridge a State Trooper pulls in behind him, blue lights flashing.
“Heck” sez the Old Boy to himself, “I can run away and hide from that guy.” So he kicks it up to 140 and Trooper starts getting smaller and smaller in his rear view mirror.
“Oh heck,” sez the Old Boy to himself. “I’m too old to play hide and seek with the law.” So he pulls over and waits on the Trooper.
When the Officer walks up to the drivers side window he says “Mister, it’s Friday and four minutes to the end of my shift. I’m supposed to take you in, but if you give me a reason to drive that fast that I have never heard before I will let you go.”
“Officer,” sez the Old Boy, “Twenty years ago today my wife ran off with a Mississippi State Trooper and I thought you were trying to run me down to give her back.”
“Have a nice day, mister,” sez the grinning Trooper.
Speaking of convertibles, ‘minds me of the Texas State Aggie football player. One of the Alumni gave the boy a brand new Caddy convertible, and an unlimited road service policy. No matter where he was or what the problem was the nearest Caddy dealer was supposed to send somebody to fix the problem.
The Aggie had the ragtop about a week when he called the dealer in a panic. Not just the dealer, the big boss, the owner!
“I gotta have somebody out here to the practice field right now,” sez the panic stricken Aggie. “It’s fixing to rain, I locked my keys in the car, and the top’s down.”
That was about the same time Walter Winchell told about “the famous Hollywood producer” who had a hot date with an aspiring starlet. The next morning one of his writers asked him how the date went.
“Oh, fine, fine,” said the Producer. “The only hitch was when she said she wanted to make love under the stars and it took me thirty minutes to get the top down.”
“But sir,” said the startled Writer, “You don’t have a convertable.”
“I do now,” said the Producer.
Which reminds me of another convertible, about a ’50 model Plymouth. Brand new. Had black leather upholstery, what you could see of it under all the pretty gals in bathing suits that boy had loaded up.
That was just after the Bikini came out – back when “Dear Abby” said girls shouldn’t wear bikinis because there was nothing uglier than an exposed navel – and there were four Bikini’s and one “old maid’s coverall.” That was what the Bikini Babes called a maillot. That boy’s harem was showing more meat than the Safeway and IGA combined.
But anyhow this boy and a half dozen of Dacorah Iowa’s prettiest pulls up outside the Rexall and they all go in for a soda. Leaving the car out in the broiling hot sun.
After a half hour or so the harem followed the driver out of the drug store, laughing and scratching. One of the most athletic of the Babes vaulted into the passengers seat; hit that black leather upholstery; screamed; and vaulted back out! That was the fastest I ever saw a woman get out of a car.
But the funniest was the time Cecil Farrior had a Buick ragtop on his lot for almost a full year. I don’t know what the deal was, I saw people test driving it but it would be back on the lot when I’d go by.
I had to go to walk down Main one time and a semi hauling a cattle trailer passed me. Followed closely by a Ford Falcon and that Buick ragtop! Now, the cattle truck was downright rank; and there was a young couple in the Buick cuddled up like it was about a week to their wedding.
The truck stopped at the Bushman Street light and both the Falcon and the Buick hit the right turn lane. Of course, the Buick was stopped next to the cattle trailer.
I was past Eagle Music when I saw a cow stick its tail out from between the slats – and flood the front seat of the Buick. The boy did what you would expect – he tried to jump over the girl and get away from the deluge. The girl didn’t appreciate getting trampled as well as flooded and screamed bloody murder.
And when I came out that ragtop was still setting where the kids had abandoned it. I always wondered if Cecil ever got the smell out of it. And whether the girl forgave the boy or called it off. Whatever, it didn’t stay at Farriors long after that.