Maisie Made Everything Perfectly Clear

Well, I got Mickey Gilley on the CD player. That’s one of those transplanted Texans that have been making so much noise lately. Like that transplanted Yankee running for President. ‘Nother feller name of Bush. Seems like the native Tejanos have sort of gone even more to seed lately. Even the ones that moved to Hurricane Central, AKA Florida.

Now, I went to school in Texas, learned all about Sam Houston single handedly whipped the whole Mexican Army at the battle of San Jacinto, Audie Murphy whipped the whole German Army in Europe, and I even had an “I am a Texan” sticker on my notebook while I was doing it.

But I also went to school in the the OK State, Alta Tejas, and I dared not mention attending school in Baja Oklahoma. Not unless I had an urge to whip every boy in school and half the girls. Do you know how hard it is to whip a girl when you cannot touch her? So shutmouuth was the rule.

But even at that I heard plenty of implausable stories about Texans.

It was the summer of ’47 that a one of those folks from Baja Oklahoma, careless folks call them Texans but their right name is Tejanos, “Tee han os,” came up to Kiowa and got in with Joe and Jimmy Exter. Who always claimed to have more of what you had than you did, so we generally called him Jimmy Extra.

I knew all those kids but we didn’t associate. You might say I preferred to hang around a better class of clowns. Joe and Jimmy were not what you would call real bright – and the Tehanner kid was in the same class. Three peas out of the same pod, you might say.

Of course, what happened to that Tehanner kid was plumb terrible. See, Joe was old enough to have a drivers license, so he was driving his dads old pickup, Jimmy was riding shotgun, and the Tehanner kid was riding in the pickup bed.

Joe and Jimmy decide that’s it’s so hot they would drive down to the hole behind the Hendrix place in Sand Creek so they could go skinny dippin’. I don’t know that the Tehanner kid got a vote. Since the Exter kids drove like bats out of hell, it was safer to hang on and hope.

But Joe forgot the old Ford’s brakes wouldn’t hold on a grade, the truck dived into the swimmin’ hole! Joe and Jimmy climbed out the back window, but the Texas kid drowned trying to get the tailgate open.

Yessir, Okies as a rule will tell you e Texans are a bit dumb. And some would give aa post serious competition in the smarts department. Most Okies will tell you that it’s easy to get a one armed Texan out of a tree. All you have to do is wave at him.

I heard a rumor from Beaver that most Tehanners think a can opener is a key to the bath room. And a lot more stories like those.

But I really wouldn’t like to say that all Texans are a mite on the slow side. About the most sensible answer to a dumb question I ever heard in Texas was while we were waiting for a funeral procession to pass so we could cross the street.

One kid asked “Who died?”

The other kid sez “I dunno. The guy in the box, I guess.”

Yessir, I have even known Texans who were smart enough not to try their luck in politics. But if you see a Tehanner walking around with puncture wounds on his face, it’s not serious. He’s just trying to learn to eat with a fork.

Speaking of wounded Tejanos, I knew a kid from Hereford once who got a short sleeve shirt and a set of cuff links for his birthday. So he had his wrists pierced.

And I read in he Star-Telegram about a Tehanner that started one of those chain letters. Sent ’em out all over Texas. Folks had already sent him 765 chains.

I think it was Outdoor Life that reported that a Texan on an African Safari stepped behind a bush to relieve the pressure. A few seconds later he came running back to camp yelling his head off!

“What’s wrong?” asks his white hunter.

“A lion just bit my toe off!” exclaims the mighty hunter.

“Which one?” asks the anxious guide.

“Which one?” the Tehanner asked incredulously. “How would I know? All these lions look the same to me!”

Oh, you did see that piece in the paper the other day where a Texan broke his shoulder during a pie eating contest. A cow fell on him.

I read that somebody broke into the Crowell, Texas, cop shop and stole the toilet. The Vernon paper reports that the cops don’t have a clue as to who the culprits might be. Or as they said, “CROWELL COPS HAVE NOTHING TO GO ON.” Which sums it up in a nutshell.

But now, talking about that Texas kid drowning reminds me of the eight Hendrix kids. Those Hendrix’s ran to runts, the boys going maybe five three and a hundred twenty pounds and the girls about five four seven and a ninety pounds. Pretty girls, liked to dance all night and dance a little longer. Had a lot of boy friends because they were so small they couldn’t wear the pants in the family. Maybe they could not wear the britches, but they knew how to get their way.

The boys were all black heads but the gals were what Glenn Church called “suicide blondes.” Dyed by their own hands.
Ma and Pa Hendrix were little dried up squirts too. Ma answered to the name of Ruth, little gal, four ten, shape like a shotgun shell, and a sharp tongued fast talker. Generally about three hundred words a minute with gusts to over five hundred! One of the finance companies hired her to read the fine print at the end of the radio commercials.

One of the Ladies Aid women got tangled up with Margaret Sanger’s eugenics brought up the subject of when life began. One of her Sunday School class said that life began at birth, Ginny Hug claimed life began at conception, but Ma Hendrix said “Life begins when the dog dies and the children leave home.” Which I ‘spect most of the ladies agreed with.

Pa was a bookkeeper for the co-op, quiet type, and he laid claim to the name of John Jeremy Jenkins Hendrix but everyone called him Pa because his kids did. One time Pa grumbled to his pal, Jim Peerce, that he lived in a hen house, ’cause a hen ruled his roost! Somebody told Ma, and for a long time all Pa got at the hen house was cold shoulder and hot tongue.

Yessir, Pa sang mighty small at home, and not much louder anywhere else. Which he was probably wise, since Ma Hendrix was a woman of determined opinion. She was determined to voice her opinion, too. Like Pa used to sigh, “Ma is just like an angel. She’s always up in the air and harping about something.”

Did I mention Ma was a talker:? One time this guy was bragging about how strong his wife was. He claimed his wife could load a ton of hay an hour all by herself. Pa sez, “That’s nothing. My wife can tie up ten tons of copper telephone wires all by herself.”

Anyhoo, this three ride carnival sets up in Elk City and the whole Hendrix clan takes off to see the elephant and ride the rides. The Ferris Wheel, carousel, and kiddie cars. The star of the show was Joey Pedderson, aka “Atlas Shickeliviki,” the Russian Strong Boy.” I knew Joey, who was from Waterloo, Iowa.
J
Joey went by the alias because carneys are like prophets, they don’t get much honor in their own country. Or to quote Joey himself, nobody will pay good money to see an American pissant tote a saw log, but they will shell out the coin to see a foreign pissant drag a twig.”

Joey had started out life mucking in the mines around Manassa, Colorado, where Jack Dempsey got his start, and Joey was a sure enough strong man. I knew Joey pretty well, him bein’ a friend of my dad and my boss both, and I had stopped by to chin when Pa Hendrix showed up.

Now I better explain that as “Atlas,” one of Joey’s acts was to pinch an iron wheel, the thing must have weighed two hundred pounds, between his thumb and forefinger and hoist it over his head. One handed!

No sir, you did not want to make Joey mad and then offer to shake hands and make up. Not if you had anything you wanted to do with that hand in the next few months. Big Peters and my dad could match Joey squeeze for squeeze, but even there it was a standoff.

“Atlas” was offering a hundred bux to anyone who could take a lemon he’d squeezed and get even one more drop of juice out of it. This one paid his buck and tried, and that one tried, and somebody offered to pay if Big Peters would try but Big and Joey had been pals during Big’s carnying days so Big wouldn’t waste his time that way.

But lo and behold, after everybody else had failed to get even one more drop out of that lemon, Pa Hendrix steps up and forks over his buck. Joey takes pity on the old man and squeezes a fresh lemon – but when Pa gets his mitts on the thing it looked like it had been mangled by a whole bunch of wringers. Pa squeezed and squeezed and squeezed and managed to get ONE drop of juice out of it.

So Joey digs in his kick, gets out a hundred dollar bill, and hands it over, while his talker makes a big deal out of the fact that nobody had ever managed that feat before.

“Tell me, sir, how did you ever manage to squeeze one more drop of juice from a lemon that had been squeezed by Atlas, the Russian Strong Boy?”

“Oh,” sez Pa softly. “I have had lots of practice squeezing things. I have been the treasurer of a poor Church for nearly twenty years.”

That happened after Pa got sick, real sick. Pa figures he’s about to cash in, and for some reason he thinks that since a condemned man is supposed to get what he wants for his last meal he ought to get his last wish, too. He hears one of the kids mentions that Mom is baking pies. And pie is Pa Hendrix favorite fruit.

When Ma comes in Pa puts on his most feeble tone of voice and pleads for a last piece of pie.

“Sorry Pa,” sez Ma, “I’m saving those pies for the funeral.” Made Pa so darn mad he got well just to spite her. And that’s the only time in living memory that Ma didn’t get her way.

Now, like I said, Pa’s buddy was Jim Peerce. Pronounced Percy. Jim was the guy who loaded those hundred pound sacks of flour up when some lady decided she liked the pattern on that bag on the bottom of the stack.

Jim got to unstack and restack the flour, ten sacks high, get that certain sack out, and then like as not put it back and restack the stack because the customer didn’t think she would look nice in that pattern dress. Needles to say, when Jim got home after a hard day at the office he didn’t feel like putting up with no female folderol.

So Jim’s wife Maisie sort of felt like the spark had gone out of her marriage. Not that she wasn’t a pretty nice looking gal, but she felt like she wasn’t getting all that was coming to her.

That was when saran wrap first came out, and the magazines were full of the wonders of this miracle see through clinging film. One of the ladies magazines mentioned that everything looked more appetizing wrapped in saran wrap, so Maisie got the idea that she would wrap herself in saran wrap and see what happened. Maybe the magazine suggested it, I don’t know. But anyhoo, Jim came home and Maisie met him at the door wearing a saran wrap dress and a smile.

Jim didn’t know what to say, so he said the first thing that popped in his head.

“So, we’re having leftovers again tonight.”

Well, the time I had has gone so keep checking. I will have more – and more variety, later.

Stranger

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“Is That How High you Want The Steeple?”

Well, the preacher made a rare appearance at the breakfast stop, and I got to listen to his mellifluous voice expounding on his his line of work, herding the flock toward heaven’s gates. He pulls out a piece of paper and said “I want to share this with y’all, because it is the absolute truth.” And Brother John begins to make oration.

“The results of a computerized survey indicate the perfect pastor preaches exactly 15 minutes,” Brother John began.

“The perfect pastor condemns sin but never upsets anyone.”

“The perfect pastor works from 8 AM to midnight. In his spare time, he is also the janitor.”

“The perfect pastor makes $50.00 a week, wears good clothes, reads good books, drives a good car, and gives about $50.00 a week to the poor.”

“The perfect pastor is 38 years old and has been preaching at least 40 years.”

“The perfect pastor has a burning desire to work with teens, and spends all of his time with senior citizens.”

“The perfect pastor smiles all the time and keeps a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his work.”

“The perfect pastor makes 15 calls a day on parish families, shut-ins, and parishioners who are hospitalized.”

“The perfect pastor spends all of his time evangelizing the unchurched and is always in his office when he is needed.”

I was sitting there drinking coffee, black as hell and twice as hot, and thinking the poll respondents must all be Democrats, when the Preacher came to the windup of his oration.

“If your pastor does not measure up to these standards, simply send this letter to six other parishes that are tired of their pastor, too. Then bundle up your pastor and send him or her to the church at the top of the list. In one week, you will receive 1,643 pastors and one of them should be perfect. But remember, you must have faith in this letter. One church broke the chain and got its old pastor back in less than a week.”

I was thinking, as he read that, that there is more truth than poetry there. In fact, it wouldn’t take much of a workover to describe what folks expect out of any of who volunteer their time and services to a cause.

Now, speaking of preachers, pastors, sky pilots, and such, I heard there was an ecumenical council in Wichita last summer. Of course, they had to open the meeting with a prayer. The delegates were surprised when the moderator began, “Puke and weenie men as we are, er, I mean, weak and puny men as we are….

According to some gossip on a Topeka repeater, during that meeting somebody ran in hollering “The building is on fire.” At the shout of fire….

The Methodists immediately gathered in a corner and prayed.

The Baptists started a shout of “Everybody into the water.”

The Congregationalists shouted, “Every man for himself.”

The Adventists declaimed “It’s the vengeance of an angry God!”

The Lutherans posted a notice on the door, declaring the fire was evil because fire is the natural abode of the devil.

The Christian Scientists huddled together and agreed among themselves that there was really not a fire at all.

The Presbyterians appointed a chairwoman, who was to appoint a committee to look into the fire and make a report at the next meeting.

The Episcopalians formed a procession and marched out in good order.
The Unitarians formed a committee, which concluded the fire had as much right to be there as anyone else.

And the Catholics passed a collection plate to cover the damages.

Speaking of committees, did you know there are no committees in Heaven? Nope, nary one. While God was creatin’ the animals a bunch of kibitzing angels told the boss that what He was doing looked like
fun. So the Boss told them that he would let them try their hand.

So a bunch of them gathered up and created an animal. The critter had fur like an otter, a tail like a beaver, feet like a frog, and a bill like a duck. God took one look at the platypus and told them he would finish the job himself. And ever since there hasn’t been a single committee in Heaven.

Now, since I have found a subject, I used to know a fellow name of Danny Grubbs. All Dan wanted to be was a preacher. His dad finally sold a quarter section and sent Danny to Southwestern Bible College.

Now, the Southwestern Bible College was big on what would have been called “circuit riding” back in the old days. When they thought a prospective preacher was ready they would send him to this little church or that little church to hold services. Johnny Grubbs had gotten to that stage and was looking forward to his first preaching experience when a fellow student wound up in the hospital.

The boy had been sent to one of the little pipeline towns that would spring up and fade away over a summer – and the pipeliners didn’t take a shine to the boy’s style of preachment. So they shot him! id

The next Sunday Johnny got directions to that same church. He had sand enough to go, and to preach, all right. But looking out at about three dozen of the worst looking men he’d ever seen he couldn’t help shaking in his boots all the time he was stammering through his sermon. And a mighty short sermon it was, too.

After the preaching was over one of the roughest looking men in the church swaggers up to Johnny. “Feller,” the pipeliner sez, “That was the sorriest sermon I ever heard. You ought to pay us admission to listen to a sorry sermon like that. Do you know what we do with preachers who preach sorry sermons? We shoots ’em.”

course, poor Johnny was about to faint at that point.

“But,” sez the tough, “We ain’t going to shoot no skeeredy cat like you. We are going to shoot the sorry SOB who had guts enough to send kids like you out here.”

That reminds me of the time little Cooter Johnson stopped at the church door to tell Preacher Hollingsworth that when he grew up he was going to give him some money. The preacher knew Cooter because the school used to let the Preacher exhort the students once a week – and Cooter was easy to get to know.

“Well, thank you, Cooter. But why would you give me money?”

“Because my daddy says you are the poorest preacher we ever had.”

Speaking of sorry preachers, I saw a want ad in the Minneapolis Star last summer that began “TAKE OUR PASTOR, PLEASE. Thriving congregation in rapidly developing suburban area desperately needs new, creative, clerical leadership. We would like to trade pastors with a congregation that needs a kindly but do-nothing pastor. We will pay the first year’s salary package plus a substantial bonus for speedy departure. Please respond ASAP to box 275, the Star.”

Which reminds of the ad in a newspaper for a position in Lebanon. That ad supposedly ran, “Middle Eastern Diocese looking for candidates for Bishop. Must be athletic, agile, and have great endurance. Former track stars preferred. Salary and benefits negotiable. Package includes private bunker and armored personal carrier for travelling. Must be willing to relocate.” Considering the situation in that part of the world, the qualifications sound reasonable to me.

And thinking about Cooter Johnson reminds me that before the Johnson family moved to town so Cooter and his sister could go to school, they lived so far back in the woods they had to sweep the coon farts off the porch every morning. Cooter had been in school, oh, a couple of months I guess, when he comes home with a question.

“Mama,” sez Cooter, “Preacher Hollingsworth said Jesus was a Jew.”

“Well, that’s right son,” his mama told him. “Jesus was a Jew.”

“Well then,” sez Cooter, “If Jesus was a Jew what’s He doin’ with a Messican name?”

If memory serves me right, Cooter’s sister was Carol. She was a year older than Cooter, and more than a little outspoken. One time somebody invited the Johnson’s over to their church. And that church was a “holiness” church.

Carol was impressed no end by the old preacher, standing high above the congregation in an old fashioned box pulpit, shouting and waving the Bible like a man possessed. After a while she leaned way over to her Mama and whispered “What will we do if he gets loose?”

Now, speaking of Preacher Hollingsworth reminds me that I spent several hard days working in his plantation. Digging holes in clay that was as hard as brick to plant folks in.

Most of them for good folks who were missed by everyone who knew them. But every once in a while somebody would come along whose departure was a relief to all.

One of those was for Old Lady DuFresne. Now, you talk about a heller, Berta Dufresne had a bad case of naggin’ fever. Besides being under the mistaken impression she was pretty. She nagged husband Bill constantly about things he had nothing to do with and couldn’t do anything about. You know, that kind of naggin’ will upset a man as bad as a plague of flies will upset a horse. For about the same reason.

Not only that but she drove her kids half crazy trying to run their lives, gossiped about everybody within a hundred miles, and the family dog would hide under the porch whenever she set foot outside the house. Yessir, she was a real friend to nobody, a plague to be avoided at all costs.

And one day she cashed in, bought the farm, passed over, croaked. Died! Dead. So I got the job of opening and closing the grave. It was a hot day, too, and when the hearse got there I noticed a little cloud coming up in the west. Didn’t look like much, but those prairie thunderheads will fool you.

But bad weather didn’t stop a prairie funeral. Skin don’t leak, you know, and most folks were glad enough to get soaked as long as it rained. I thought Preacher Hollingsworth preached a mighty fine sermon, myself. Although I noticed a couple of the DuFresne’s neighbors looked mighty doubtful when the Preacher dwelled a little on her points.

The preacher began a prayer to speed the dearly departed’s soul to its final rest as they lowered her casket down. Just as the ropes slacked there was a flash of lightning and a crash of thunder loud enough to might near deafen every one in the graveyard – and the smell of ozone permeated the land.

And somebody hollers out “Hallelujah, Preacher, she got there all right!”

It sounded a lot like Bill to me. But speaking of Berta DuFresne reminds me of how natural everybody said she looked.

Everybody looked, you know. Because she was one of those folks who have a big funeral. Everybody came to make sure she was dead. The undertaker was an old man name of Dollarhide. Alexander Dollarhide.

Al was a real artist at making the departed look like they were still breathin’. After Berta’s departure somebody put a limerick in the paper, contributed a verse that the editor put in the paper, about Dollerhide’s expertise.

Alexander, the cheerful mortician

With makeup is a real magician.

For all sexes and races,

He paints smiles on their faces,

So they can grin as they go to perdition.”

Now, while I’m on the subject of funerals reminds me of a grave I dug over at the Odd Fellows plantin’ ground – and the deceased and all of his kin were so hard down mean all three of the local preachers refused to say a good word for him. So they called the Southwest Bible College for an emergency substitute.

I don’t know what they told him about the defunct’s people but that young preacher sure was nervous. He got so bumfuzzled he points at the box and sez, “What we have here is only the shell, the nut is already gone.”

Which didn’t please the survivors at all. But cooler heads prevailed and the young preacher got away with his still attached.

Thinking back to that part of the world reminds me of an old Ponca Indian the Jesuits converted to Catholicism. But the old feller never learned a word of English or Latin. His grandson had to translate everything anybody wanted to say to him. Somebody asked the boy how he could translate the priests Latin Mass for the old man.

“I don’t,” sez the boy. “That’s all Cherokee to me.”

The old man got deathly sick so the boy called Enid to get Father O’Brien in to give the old man the Last Rites. One of those rites is the “Apostolic Blessing,” what the Padres call “the Pope’s blessing.”

Father O’Brien carefully explained what he was about to do and the boy dutifully translated for his grandfather. After the translation the old man murmured something. Quite a bit of something!

“What did he say?” asked Father Pat.

“He says thank you, but he wants to know how the Holy Father knew he was sick,” sez the boy.

I ‘spect that was one of the few times Padre Pat was at a loss for words. One time he hit up an old reprobate about missin’ mass real regular.

“Oh, I haven’t been to mass in years. Too many hypocrites in church for me, Padre,” sez the old codger.

“Oh, don’t let that keep you out of church,” smiles Father Pat. “There’s always room for one more.”

Anyhoo, Preacher “Double H” Hollingsworth was a Methodist, and I don’t remember the name of the Holiness preacher, but I sure remember Horace Harris, the Episcopalian preacher. Double H was a second generation Scot and he sure enough lived up to the Scots rep for bein’ cheap.

One time some lady came out from Okie City canvassing for the March of Dimes. The lady had a card she was handing out with a picture of FDR, you know the March of Dimes was President Roosevelt’s favorite charity – him being a polio victim and all, FDR’s picture captioned “President Roosevelt asks you to give until it hurts.”

She marches up to Double H and after a round of mutual introductions she sez, “Reverend Harris, I represent the Oklahoma March of Dimes.”

Double H looks at the card, reads the caption, and hands the card back.

“Lady,” he says, “The very idea hurts.”

But I kid you not, tight as he was, Double H spent money fancying up his church. You talk about a gold plated church in a dirt poor town, that was it. I kid you not, if you weren’t an “old settler” with money you would not be accepted as a member. Period.

One time Phillips Petroleum hit oil on a place a few miles outside of town and pretty soon they were paying the old Sooner more money than he could figure out how to spend. Since he had come up in the world he starts getting the swellhead and figures he ought to quit the Holiness church and go to the swells church. One that fit his new lifestyle.

So he hits Double H Harris up to put his name on a pew in the swellest church around. Double H sez he ought to think on it some more and pray for guidance. And maybe put about six figures on a check by way of greasing’ the way into a pew.

The next day Double H is doing his grocery shopping’ at the IGA when that same farmer hails him.

“Preacher,” he says, “I got down on my knees last night and asked the Lord for guidance. And Jesus appeared to me! He asked me what church I wanted to join. I told him I wanted to get in your church and He just laughed. `Why, Jim,’ he says, `I been trying to get inside Double H’s church for the last thirty years, and I haven’t made it yet.'”

Which sort of reminds me of Charley Mitchell’s saying. Charley always claimed that if you wanted to give God a good belly laugh, just tell him your plans.

Well, lookin’ back I see I mentioned Enid’s Father O’Brien. That Padre was a fine man, one of the kind that would put his dignity aside and help a man push his A Model Ford out of the ditch if the occasion arose. Which it did frequently and often before they paved the roads. And he liked a drop of the Irish whisky and a good joke as well as the next fellow.

One time he came into the five and dime for some envelopes and old Mrs. Ippolito buttonholes him. And she’s some upset!

“Oh Father O’Brien,” she says, “I was just down to the Church and I went into the confessional and there was a strange face at the grill. `You aren’t our regular priest, I said, what are you doing here?'”

“`I’m not a priest at all,’ the man said. `I’m the furniture polisher.'”

“`Well, where’s Father O’Brien?’ I asked.”

“I’m sure I can’t tell you, lady, but if he’s been listening to the kind of stories I have all morning I’m sure he’s gone for the police.”

Speaking of Father O’Brien, one time they called the Padre to come to Breckinridge to administer the last rites to old man Jones. Eldridge Jones.

After he had done everything he could for the man, he steps aside to make room for the family. The old man’s only granddaughter stood at the old man’s feet, the rest of his children and the grandsons gathered around the bed, and the waiting began.

After a while one of the children said “I don’t see him breathing. I think he’s passed on.”

“No,” says the granddaughter, “Papa’s feet are still warm. Nobody dies with warm feet, so he’s still alive.”

Just then the old man’s eyes blinked open and he looked around at the family gathered around him. He raised his head up and chuckled a little.

“Joan of Arc did,” the old man whispered. And then he died.

That Eldridge Jones had a grandson, Jerry, who was a general contractor in Stillwater. Every summer he would join a caravan called the Christian Carpenters to go fix up or build new churches in the more remote areas of the Dakotas, Montana, and places like that. I heard that one time Jerry and his crew pulls up to a place and the preacher was right there to meet them. After the introductions were over the preacher picks up four bricks.

“Brother Jones,” sez the preacher, “We want a church built on this lot. We want the southeast corner right here.” And the preacher drops a brick to mark the spot. Then the preacher steps off about fifty feet and drops another brick.

“We want the southwest corner right here.” Then the preacher takes of at a right angle and after stepping off 75 feet he drops another brick.

“We want the northwest corner right here.” The preacher takes off, stepping off fifty feet and dropping a brick.

“And we want the northeast corner right here. Is that clear?” sez the preacher.

And Jerry picks up a brick and throws it just as high in the air as he can.

“Preacher,” he says, “Is that how high you want your steeple built?”

Stranger

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Reminiscing About Spinning Wax

Back when I first got my Second Class, I got a job as a jack of all trades at a radio station. The First Class from the big station in Tulsa stopped by at 3:3- in the AM and brought the old crackerbox’ filaments up to temperature, and from 4:30 to 9:00 I spun wax and ran across the street when the bus came in so I could read the news off the “wire.” The wire being the front page of the Daily Oklahoman.

I found a playlist on the ‘net that sure reminds me of those days. Got lots of good music on, the Hut Sut Song, reminds me of the old days – real old days. I started school at Cleveland, the first time that song was popular.

Miss Brand was my first teacher. After more’n a I sure remember that woman. Mighty nice, and mighty pretty. And above all mighty patient, trying to get thirty seven six year old’s to peck up a few kernels of learning.

There was one boy in class who had been set back twice. His name was Tommy, Tommy Schwartz. Tommy’s daddy had bottle fever awful bad, and his mother had run off, (Who could blame her?) which would have been bad enough but his daddy was always on his duster to beat somebody up. He’d come in after school and if he hadn’t had a fight or two, or he’d lost a fight, his daddy would call him Mary Ann and use him for a punchin’ bag. Just a sad case all ’round, but all the kids were scared of Tommy and had real good reasons to let him alone. I still wear scars Tommy gave me.

One day Miss Brand was tryin’ to get a little basic add em up down the kids, so she says, “Class, if I laid one egg in this chair and two eggs on this desk, how many eggs would I have?”

And Tommy pipes up, uninvited, “Miss Brand, I don’t think you’re built right to do that.”

Busted the class up, for sure, and Miss Brand laughed loudest of all.

Another time Miss Brand wanted all the kids to take a nap, so she says, “Now class, lets all be quiet as a little mouse.”

Tommy says, “Mice ain’t quiet.” Which they ain’t, but it got another good laugh, and this time Tommy didn’t have no desire to sit down the rest of the day.

Yep, that Tommy was sure a tough kid, and I look at scars he gave me every time I shave. I got in more fights there than in any school I ever went to – except Waldo, Arkansas.

Went to part of the fourth grade in Waldo. That’s where I learned not to sock somebody in the mouth that’s chewing tobacco.

There’s Shoo Fly Pie. That always reminds me of one of the two jobs I have been fired from. I sure deserved that firing. I was the early morning announcer at the radio station. That was back just after the FCC had banned “Stone Cold Dead in the Market” as being unsuitable for the American public to listen to – which “dey fount ‘im stone col’ dead in de mah-ket” was the whole Calypso song! It was a real big radio station, 100 watts 4:00 AM to sunrise, 250 to sunset, then off.

It was so big that I had to wait for the bus to come in and bring the Daily Oklahoman so I could read the livestock prices, ball scores, how many were arrested in last nights panty raids, and the other really important news. After I got through with important stuff I had to read the war news, Israel versus some Arabs, and politics – and remember to make out like I got it off the “news wire” too.

Every morning the bus would pull in between 4 and 4:30 and throw out the papers. Hilda would set me out a paper and wait for the next record to pour me a big mug of coffee. I’d sprint down the stairs, across the street, throw a dime on the counter, and run back to the studio.

Well, the governor and the legislature had been having a war and The Guv proved a bigshot Senator lying. The Senator claimed he was just using “constructive fiction to clarify the situation.” Something about that got my mouth runnin’ off when it shouldn’t.

When I played the next record I didn’t kill my mike. I could see Hilda, standing in the Cafe window drinking coffee, and the first soft passage I said, loud but real innocent, “I thought constructive fiction was when you were trying to talk a girl into a naval engagement.”

ilda sprayed coffee all over the window. A couple minutes later I was unemployed.

“Kawliga”, Hank Williams – I lived up at Decatur, when that was popular. Most all the working men around town wore khaki pants. Most wore khaki shirts, too, for that matter. They got used to wearing khaki in the army, same placi I learned to carry a coffee cup, and they didn’t feel any more natural in anything but khaki than I do without my coffee cup.

The man who ran the service station on the corner next to Pearl Van Etten’s Boarding House and Cafe on the Southwest corner of Courthouse Square – wish I could remember that man’s name! – told this one on himself.

Said that one night he and his wife went to bed mad. You shouldn’t do that, you know, but they did. Next morning, they got up mad. Of course. So mad that the wife decided to really doll herself up – so she puts on her newest prettiest favorite dress. Then she has to get him to zip her up.

Well, he is still mad, so he just runs her zipper up and down about a dozen times, zipppp – zipppp – zippppp, and then the zipper sticks, plumb. He has to cut her out of her dress, and you know how that makes her feel.

Well, she changes dresses and goes to work, and when she comes in that evening she sees him laying under a car in their driveway. She reaches down and grabs his zipper and zip, zip, zip, real quick.

Then she walks in the kitchen door and he’s settin’ up there in the kitchen drinkin’ coffee.

There’s Jeep Jocky Jump and that reminds me of Joe Cloud.
I mentioned Joe Cloud a while back, the picture taking Indian. Joe was a crackerjack driver, drove everything and always kept the equipment he drove in top shape.

Joe was a truck driver, drove ammo trucks from Cherbourg to Berlin, unloadin’ about a hundred feet behind the fighting ’cause soldiers can’t do much fighting without ammo. ‘Course, this got him shot at a lot and hit some, so they decided a Wisconsin Indian should go to a hospital in Oklahoma. Makes the usual kind of screwy sense most gummitup decisions make.

While Joe was convalescing he would limp around Okie City – and a gal named Mary Mankiller hit Joe’s eye – just right. Good looking gal, too. Mebbe a little hippy for some but sure suited Joe. Sunny personality. Mary got about as stuck on Joe as Joe was on her, too – but the fly in the buffalo fat was Mary’s papa. He wasn’t about to have no son in law to support, not none.

“You get a quarter section with a good house, farm it, and get a good job, you can marry Mary,” sez Papa Mankiller.

Joe takes his back pay, mustering out pay, and his poker winnings and buys a nice place, two quarter sections, 320 acres.

That winter Joe’s folks died, so Joe wound up with a little brother to keep, and the Kid spent most of his time with Mary – which Mary and Papa Mankiller both was as fond of the Kid as if it were really hers, ‘stead of being kinda on loan.

Now, Joe hardly ever spoke his brand of Indian – but he would say “mii iw”, sounds like mee oww, which means that’s enough, or that’s all, or the end, or something like that.

Anyway, one time Joe said his little brother had a cat that knew how to speak Indian. All it did was run around and say “mii iw, mii iw, mii iw,” all day.

Considering how the Kid deviled the cat I ‘spect the cat would have said “mii iw”, that’s enough, for sure, if he could have known what it meant.

Joe took the Kid to the circus one time, and Joe got to walking and talking with Mary. Custom said that they were supposed to walk with the kid between them, and they are looking at each other, talking’, you know, and not paying no ‘tention a’tall that the kid got about six or eight feet in front.

All at once Joe and Mary realize that the kid is standing’ looking up, about a foot behind an elephant – and the elephant is sticking its tail out, and… Joe peeled off left and Mary went right! After they dug the Kid out – he sure did need a bath!

Sure did kill the evening. Joe is a fine fellow. Funny too. Make a stuffed bird laugh!

He’s the guy who told about the old rancher that married a young wife. He couldn’t keep his hands off her. He finally had to fire every one of them.

Ella Mae Morse singing No Love, No Nothing. Dunno’ why but that reminds me of the joke that used to go around about the traveling salesman that broke down miles from nowhere. He goes up to this house and asks for a place to spend the night.

The farmer says “Well, I sure can’t turn you out so you got a choice. You can sleep with Baby or you can sleep in the barn.”

Salesman decides on the barn. Next morning he gets up, goes to the well and pumps water over his head to get him awake, and when he straightens up he comes face to face with the prettiest young woman he ever sees. He gets real excited, and to cover his confusion he asks this maxima femina pulchra her name.

“They call me Baby,” the beauty says, “And who are you?”

“Me? I’m just the biggest dum fool in three states!”

That’s one of those jokebook jokes, not too good.

My son up Yankeeland likes to buy old furniture and stuff at estate auctions. He was at one where the defunct had been collecting rare and valuable Scotch whiskey bottles. The bidding had gotten over 200 bucks on one fancy bottle when an old farmers wife walked over to it and shook it.

“Gawdamighty,” she says, plumb shocked, “It’s empty!”

I’m with her – but two hundred bux is too much for a full bottle of hooch tastes like bad whiskey cut with used motor oil.

Went to see some relatives one year before last and took the grandkids to the Henry Doorly zoo over in Omaha. They have a beautiful zoo there, you go in and almost the first building you go in is the cat house. You walk in the front door and there’s this big glass cage with a white Siberian Tiger pacing back and forth. Durn thing gave me the creeps!

Every time we would go by the cage that tiger would stop pacing and come over to the window and look at me like I was a walking pork chop. First time I have ever been able to read a cats mind. LUNCH!, on the hoof!

Guess he figured the way I walk I couldn’t run very fast, but if he’d broke the glass we’d ha seen how fast I could have got my pocket knife out. I sure had my hand on my Case Stockman’s Special! Left there nervously, for sure.

Down at the bottom of the hill in this zoo there’s a pond with the most and biggest carp I ever saw.

I was taking pictures when a wallet fell out of a mans coat and dropped into the water – and this big carp balanced it on his nose like a seal with a ball. Another one came up and hit it, knocked it over and a third carp bumped it back up in the air. First time I ever saw carp to carp walleting.

Would you like to see my vacation pictures? Well, sorry I axed! There’s Tex Beneke with Jukebox Saturday Night….

Mentioned Sheila Ried a ways back. Nice little heifer, she was. Farm gal, moved to town, real quiet gal. You might near had to hold a gun on her to get her to say anything, but when she said you better listen close.

She was kin of Tag Taggerts, the brand inspector, and she used to ride Tags horses. One day she came in the Jackpot and she’d lost enough hide to half sole an elephant. Everybody wanted to know where she wrecked her car.

She said she’d just been out riding a real polite horse.

“A polite horse? How’s a horse polite, Sheila?”

“Well,” she says, “Tag’s horse was so polite we came to a barb wire fence and he let me cross first.”

Yeah, horses can be a trial, all right, but when you ride you are s’posed to keep a leg firm on each side and your mind in the middle. One thing about horses, they start at thirty below another is they don’t need oil, or grease, or antifreeze, and they don’t get dead batteries either.

The place next to Tag’s was Ol’ Hardmans, but a man named French had the place before Hardman bought it. French had him a little bottling operation there during prohibition. They called his hooch “Summer Vacation” ’cause one drink and school was out. Tag said him and two, three more used to get a pint of French’s nose paint out behind the barn, and take turns nippin’ at the bottle.

After a while one of them would get up and leave and the others would take turns guessing which one it was.

Doggone – there’s Ella Mae Morse with Blacksmith Boogie…

One of the reasons Tag quit shoein’ horses and took Big Peters job of brand inspector was his wife wanted a new indoor bathroom. One with a private tub, ‘stead of a Number 3 washtub in the kitchen, a gas water heater instead of more coal in the stove, and with an indoor reading seat ‘stead of a 30 yard walk in the dark when it’s so cold the cows let down icicles. She told Tag she wanted every night to be Saturday night!

Tag had a falling out with Mullendore at the Bank, so he goes to Altus to borrow a thousand dollars for the job.

Natcheral, the banker hadn’t ever done no business with Tag, so he’s cautious, you know. “Since this is the first time we have done business, Mr. Taggert, would you mind telling me where you done your business before?”

“Out back, where we dug her out and set her in the middle of a willow thicket.”

Ac-cent-chu-ate the Positive, Nat King Cole. MMMM….

The next place out 9 past Hardman’s was the two Church’s, Owen E. and Earle O. The reason I remember their names is because Hen Johnson came back from England talking’ Oklahoma Cockney – the durndest haccent Hi hever ‘eard. She was rattlin on to a lease hound in the Jackpot one day and she told him the place behind Hardmans place was “Ho He hand He Ho Cu-urk’s.” Made me swallow my Java sideways and I durn near strangled.

There were three, four families of Churches on Highway 9. From town pass Hardmans, then the brothers, and Tom, Glenn, and one I can’t put a name to right now. The brothers were two nice old batches, first class farmers, made 3-4 trips a year to Dallas to “Git Them Deep Ellum Blues.”

If you don’t know, Elm Street was a pretty notorious street all over the Southwest – like the song said, “You go to down on Deep Ellum, just to have a little fun, keep your money in your pants. Those redheads on Deep Ellum, they don’t give a man a chance. Papa’s got them Deep Ellum Blues.”

They wouldn’t go over to Tulsa – said they saw too many folks they knew from church “Down on Archer,” and too many folks from church saw them, too. Ever so often Glenn would have to go to Dallas and bail ’em out.

The brothers were big on rotatin’ crops, don’t remember the sequence but it was something like wheat, corn, milo, alfalfa, with a 160 of ditchweed hemp every so often.

Each of the Church places were a full section, 640 acres, and one time this guy came down from Stillwater doing some kind of Ag census for A&M, before it became Oklahoma State. The guy asks O.E. what kind and how many acres of each crop he had. O.E. says “We got a hunnert sixty acres of wheat, a hunnert sixty acres of corn, a hunnert sixty acres of cotton, and a hunnert sixty acres of hemp.”

And the census type says “My word, Mr. Church, you are tilling a lot of acreage. What time do you go to work?”

“Go to work! Hell, man, I’m surrounded by work!”

That reminds me of Tim Jacks, the A&M professor who had to do a bunch of research at the U of Oklahoma library . He gets on campus at Norman and asks the first guy he sees “Where is the library at?”

The Sooner gets snooty and sniffs “At the University of Oklahoma we do not end a sentence with a preposition.”

Tim sez “OK, Where’s the library at, Jackass.”

It was a lovely fight. Made Gabriel Heatter’s evening news.

The next place was Tom Church’s place, and Tom had the three boys, Jim, Len, and Jack. Jim’d promised his girl he’d go to UBO, U of Baja Oklahoma, cause she was going there – and Jim had one of those cash under the table deals there too. Did well at Texas, 3.8 grade point average and played pro ball under a “nom de pigskin” in the late forties and early fifties. Smart fellow, real sharp, too!

Now, Oklahoma has always been real big on football, of course. One day one of the OU assistant football coaches was tooling down Hiway 9, past the Church’s places, and sees Jim going like a streak, running a loose yearling down on foot.
The AC is doing about twenty or so and Jim passes him, right behind the critter, gets it around the neck and sticks his boot heels into the shoulder of the road, stops that critter one hand, sticks the other hand under its belly, picks it up and drops it, kerchunk, right there between the fence and the road.

The AC stops, rubs his eyeballs back in his head, and calls over to Jim, “Hey, son, what grade you in school?”

“The twelfth, sir, I’m a senior,” says Jim, thinking’ fast.

“Well, do you think you could pass a football?” says the AC.

Jim finishes tying the calf, and ambles over to the car. “Well, I reckon I could if I could swallow it.”

There’s “House of Blue Lights,” “Detroit barbecue ribs”…

There were no kids on Ho Hee and Hee Ho’s place but Glenn had a house full of kids. All sizes, all kinds. One of his girls gave me a good laugh one day. I was down at Altus, chowing down on barbecue when somebody said something about President Harry S Truman firing General McArthur.

Sally Church said she reckoned Truman was doing what could be expected considering how vulgar he was. “Anybody with a hairy backside hadn’t ought to advertise it as part of his name!” She said it just like that, too. When we quit laughing Sally was so mad she went home.

Glenn Churc’s house was a big two story with a big wide porch that was big enough to set tables out and feed the threshing crews – and there was a big ol’ bell at the end of the porch to call the crews to dinner. The Churches would give you the shirt off their backs, or put you up for a night or a month, but don’t cast no covetous eyes on that bell!

Glenn’s wife would have a house full of visiting kinfolks and kids every summer and the kids sure loved to ring that big ol’ bell. Mrs. Church would get Glenn to set the tables up and everyone would eat on the porch in scorching hot days.

Now, Sally’s fellow was name of Joe Wilkes. Sally and Joe had an agreement that when Joe got his internship out of the way he was going to hang out his croakers shingle and give Sally the biggest house in Okie City by way of a wedding present.

Which meant that Joe spent every moment he could at the Church house, that sounds funny – don’t it, courting Sally. Now, it was hot. So hot you’d dig baked potatoes out of the field.

Well – Joe is setting there eating some of the finest fried chicken he ever hooked a lip over, when the beans the med school cafeteria had served the day before started paining him. Joe felt like somebody had a tire pump and was pumping his guts up.

Joe didn’t know what to do – he couldn’t very well excuse himself with dessert not even served yet – but he was in pain and it was getting worse. All at once he got a flash – he was setting directly under the bell rope!

In fact, that rope wasn’t a foot over his head – and you could hear the bell over the whole township, so it was plenty loud enough to cover up what he had to do. Joe fidgets a little, then he reaches up, stretching like, and when he feels the bell rope he jerks like he hit a spiderweb or something and lets loose of what ails him.

And then he turned the brightest shade of red any of the Church’s ever saw. Glenn had got tired of the kids ringing the bell and had taken the clapper out!

Sally called Joe’s public and spectacular explosion a foxes puss – but I seen later she married him anyway.

Remember glass milk bottles? Glenn’s wife was a city gal, had lots of relatives come from Kansas City to visit every summer. One day one of the younger girls that was visiting, she was about five, came in carrying one of the glass bottles Phillips 66 stations used to put motor oil in – they looked like a glass milk bottle with threads for a tin pouring spout to screw on. Glenn asked the girl where she got the bottle. “Oh, Mr. Church, I found a cows nest!”

One of the older city boys brought a young Rhesus monkey, and the monk was getting to be a grown up monkey and just plumb hard to handle. Glenn had to call the vet about some heifers, so while the vet was out they asked if there was anything he could do about this rambunctious monk.

The vet says “Let me tell you right now – you need to take that monkey to the Zoo in Oklahoma City. That’s a Rhesus monkey and you ain’t never going to be able to handle a full grown Rhesus monkey. They ain’t nothing but trouble.”

About a week later the vet runs into the kid in town. “Say,
what did you do about your monkey?” he asks.

“Oh, I did what you told me, I took him to the Zoo. We had so much fun I’m gunna take him to the movies next.”

Glenn took his family to a church in Mountain View, a fine big stone affair. Had everything except a bell. Back during the Dust Bowl a new preacher wanted to get a bell. Everybody was trying to figure out how to pay for a bell when Glenn pipes up, real serious. “We got steam heat in the balcony, we got steam heat in the choir room, we got steam heat in the basement. Let’s see if the Rock Island will give us a steam whistle.”

The congregation didn’t like the idea, for some reason.

Well, my hour is up, so let me post this, and go.

Remember, always wear a smile. It’s easier on your face, and it fools folks into thinking you agree with ’em.

Stranger

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Well, It is A Bit Dry!

NOAA says we are supposed to be in the midst of a record breaking El Nino – which should be an indication of rain. But it is so dry right now that trees are following dogs around.

Anyhow, I found a station that plays Scots music, and I finally found out what that tune Willie McNab was alla time whistling is. Willie was a good looking Scots sailor who jumped ship in Houston and took up the carnival life until he got enough cash to go home to Strathclyde as a passenger.

Since half the people in Texas got their backs wet every time they visited home, a lack of official papers wasn’t the problem it would be nowadays. Yessir, Willie was illegal but he sure cut a wide swath among the young ladies.

But I remember that tune very well well, because once you have been whistled at all day long for two or three weeks straight you don’t forget things like that. The tune’s called the Drunken Piper – and in Willie Fergus McNab’s case it was doggone appropriate.

Sober, Willie was as cheerful as anyone I ever labored with. But Willie would drink all you gave him, long as it was alcoholic. And one sniff of a bar rag would make all reason desert Scotty. Man, feed him one shot glass of firewater and Willie was ready, willing, and able to stagger from place to place and look on slack jawed and owl eyed as the world spun on its axle.

But give him two drinks quick and pretty soon Willie was a sodden nuisance. Three drinks within an hour put him out like Lottie’s eye. Blind drunk. Just aware enough to take another drink and stagger from chair to chair. Which definately made him a problem when we talked a cupple of gals into playing canasta.

Because it’s hard to stop a guy from pouring himself another shot when you have your mind on cards and conversation and navel engagements and such. And two gals with one guy is not a recipe for romance. Or wasn’t in those days, anyhoo.

One Friday Willie got away from us and wound up in Dallas, down on Deep Ellum. Used to be a Greek guy there, purebred, with as ugly a mug as you will ever see outside of a nightmare. The Greek ran a combination eatin’ joint and blind pig. Blind pig because anyone with a thirst could get blind drunk if he made a pig of himself!

El Greigo had hamburgers, hot dogs, chile for the Mexican trade, mebbe a little Greek food for his domino playing buddies, and beer. Greek beer.

But the Greek kept a bottle of hooch under the counter for “special customers.” The ones with the money to pay. I can sure remember plenty of moonshine getting served up there as “the good stuff.” It was good. One shot and you were mellow, two shots you were jovial, and if your disposition ran that way the third shot and you were ready to whip Joe Louis and take a run at Sugar Ray Robinson.

But Willie was a stranger, and when he walks in and asks for a dog and a beer the Greek takes him in. As a man with a thirst. So he asks Willie if he’d like a shot of “wizky.”

Willie figures a tot of Scotch would do him good and sez yes. And gets served a water tumbler of 150 proof Sneaky Pete. Which was about three times Willie’s total daily capacity.

Natural, Willie eats his dog, and drinks his shine, and calls for another round. And most likely another. But he don’t remember anything after he orders the second round.

What he did remember was waking up three mornings later, wearing his his shoes and a hangover, in a strange room. While he’s trying to figure out where he’s at and how he got there and how the 12th Battalion of the Scots Field Artillery could fire all those guns is such a small room he realizes he’s not alone.

Willie casts his eyes to the left and sees his neatly folded on a char. Except his shoes, which he was wearing. He casts his eyes to the right – slowly because it hurt the roots of his hair to move his eyes – and he’s face to face with a naked woman. Who was so ugly she made him forget his hangover.

Because the first glance shows him she’s plumb ugly in the face, the second glance reveals she’s the gnarliest, most repulsive female Willie Fergus McNab never hoped to meet! It takes Scotty a minute to notice she has a strong resemblance to the Greek who served him his supper.

Willie figures he’s passed out and been parked in the Greek’s mothers or sisters bed. Since he don’t want no racket in his debilitated and vulnerable condition he eases out of bed and starts for his clothes. And stumbles over something soft!

He looks down and is revolted to discover he’s tripped over another naked woman. And this woman is so ugly she makes the one he woke up with look like Miss Texas! In fact, Willie claims this second female is a dead ringer for a baboon. Teeth, hair, and all!

While Willie is standing there petrified with horror, Miss Nude Frightful sits up, rubs her eyes, shows off a remarkable set of oversize incisors, and sez “Good morning, dear. You slept with our bridesmaid, don’t you have a good morning kiss for your bride?”

Willie broke down the door getting away! And dressed in an alley three or four blocks away! For the two or three weeks more he stayed around he carnival he was strictly on the water wagon.

And everytime a stranger showed up he’d hide, because he was afraid the Greek had sent somebody after him to bring his son-in-law home! Red Brown finally took pity on the boy and paid him off so he could go home.

Yessir, firewater will make you act like folks in that old song. You know the one – “They say strange things, and they do strange things, in the Bowery, the Bowery, the Bowery; I’ll never go there any more.”

Personally, I never tasted any I that does anything but make me want to get out in the middle of a 40 acre field and go to sleep. So I ‘spect I’m going to be on the coffee train until I cash in. I just wish coffee tasted as good as it smells brewing. Speaking of coffee reminds me of Father Flynn, the “Catlik” padre back when I came from.

One of the Padre’s parisioners was a lady, getting a mite hard of hearing – so when she said anything she put it at a force seven volume level like deef as a post folks do.

When she went to confession, everybody in the church and some of the folks in the street could hear her bellerin’ about all of her little lapses. Which – her lapses were little ones like getting annoyed when some person kept ringing her telephone knowing she couldn’t hear it and her husband wasn’t home.

Finally the Padre asked her to write down everything she wanted to confess, roll the paper up, and slide it through the grille in the window to him.

She agreed to that and the next week here she was, poking her list through the grille at the priest. The padre takes it and looks at it, and turns it over and looks at the back, and looks at the front, and turns it every way but loose, and then he bellows “What is this, this looks like a grocery list” at her.

The woman slaps herself on the forehead, and bellows “Holy Mother of God, I left my sins at the Safeway!”

Now, I have made a few miles in my time, went to a lot of different schools, and of course went to school with a lot of different people.

Back in first grade me and a fellow named Willie Weichert were pretty thick. When I came back to town the first person I ran into was Willie. Couldn’t have been nobody else – how many people do you see, redhead, six foot six tall and sixteen inches around the chest? Built like a red top tomato stake!

Willie was a worker, too. He wasn’t like the old boy that came in for breakfast one morning and told his mama he’d dreamed he had a job.

“You poor lad,” sez Mama real sympathetic. “You look so tired.”

Anyhow, Willie had been looking for a job and finally found a job waitin’ tables in a fancy restaurant in Tulsa. ‘Bout the second day on the job he runs up against a customer who was more’n a little drunk, mostly on self importance.

“Do you know who I am?” this gee roars at Willie.

“No sir, but I’ll ask around and when I find out I’ll come back and tell you, sir.” Willie says, straightface.

Willie thought he was going to get fired over that but instead it tickled the boss so much he got promoted instead. But speakin’ of embarassment on the job, I used to know a fellow I’ll call Len Overstreet, who wanted to be a preacher.

Len went four years to a high class Bible College – won’t say what denomination, you understand. Anyway, Len was about ready to graduate, right at the head of his class. The preacher at an older church nearby had a heart attack, so they sent Len to his church to do a little substitute preachin’ for practice, and get a feel for havin’ a church of his own to be shepherd of and sky pilot to.

Now, Len’s borrowed robes were just a tad long, and they had the processional, solemn and slow, and Len is walking slow like he is supposed to, and he gets tangled in his robe, and KERFLUNK, he falls down, shakes the church, right in front of a packed house.

Len, he keeps his cool, though. He gets back up, and squares around and looks at the congregation, and mostly the congregation is about to choke, but there’s one old fellow in the front row that Len has been warned about. That fellow ain’t cracked a smile nor liked a preacher or a sermon in forty year.
“Watch Brother McInairny,” they told him, “And don’t let the old sourpuss ruin your sermon.”

So Len, he says “Brother McInairny will now lead us in prayer.”

And Brother Mac gets up, slow and solemn, and starts out, solemn, “Dear Lord, did YOU SEE THAT, HAW, HAW, HAW!”

Len gritted it out and I heard he delivered a fine sermon, but somehow or t’other he just didn’t feel like he had a proper
call for the ministry any more – so he took up making crank bait, fish lures, for a living. Now he’s up in Springfield, and he’s a fish bait millionaire!

But anyhoo, speaking of Willie Weichert reminds me of his mama. You talk about a plain spoken working woman, Willie’s mama was plain spoken some – and work was the only thing she put any faith in here on earth. Jesus for heaven, work for here! T’ only time I ever remember her not having anything to say was the time the bum came by and asked her for a handout. It made her plumb mad!

“You sorry bum,” she sez. “I bet you never did a lick of honest work in your life.”

“Lady” sez the bum, “If youse don’t think going around askin’ dames like you for a bite to eat ain’t work youse don’t know what work is.”

And just for clarity, a bum wouldn’t work and a hobo would. Which made hobos respectable when bums weren’t, you see. Now, it was Old Lady Donnely who lived down by the Katy railroad that got squared up by a railroad bum. But the bum turned down her offer of working for food.

“You sorry no good loafer,” she hollers. “You ain’t never made the acquintance of work.”

“Yes I have, lady,” sez the bum. “I lost all three of my wives that way.”

Stranger

Posted in Humor | Comments Off on Well, It is A Bit Dry!

Noted: Lynch Mob Says Clinton Had The Right!

Buzzfeed reports DOJ lawyers are arguing Hilary Rodham Clinton has a right to delete any e-mails she chose.

In other words, the DOJ, under Loretta Lynch, essentially says Hillary has the right to delete evidence of criminal activity, even when such activity is against Federal law.

While Ms. Lynch is new to the job, even amateurs know better than that.

Stranger

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The Slight Chill Makes Me Yarn For Halloween

As I write this Halloween is six weeks away. That was just about all the excitement you had for a whole year. Back when, I once knew a guy who never did anything except swill down nosepaint and polish a bar rail get elected Mayor just on stopping kids from turning outhouses over every Halloween. A one issue election!

‘Course, it was a lot of trouble to turn the darned things back up, particular if you were in a hurry, and if you happens to be inside when it got turned over you sure better hope they didn’t drop the thing on its door. If you had to crawl out through the holes in the seat things could get messy in a hurry.

Anyhow, this Lushington got elected on a promise of stopping kids from turning outhouses over – and next Halloween the loser didn’t let him forget it for one little minute. Lush and his Town Marshall, Sleets, who was called that because nobody could pronounce his name, said they were going to stay up all night and keep watch – and park any kid who turned an outhouse over in the one cell Crossbar Cabin so quick they wouldn’t know what happened to them. And they almost did!

They stayed up all Halloween night watching and not a darned thing happened. About three in the morning they decided they had cowed the kids, so they tried to take a nap huddled up in Joe’s old Rockne sedan parked in front of Town Hall.

All of a sudden they heard a racket that sounded like a horse and wagon. They figured something was up. When they caught the dray they saw the two rowdiest kids in the county, the Cooter twins, driving like they had not a care in the whole wide world, and a big ‘ol backhouse setting up in the wagon bed. The Mayor promptly loaded the Twins up in the back of the car while the Marshall drove the dray to City Hall.

When they got the boys in the Marshalls office, they claimed they had been going home from a play party over on the flats and just happened to find this outhouse sitting in the road. They seen it was their outhouse, so they figured it was their boundin’ duty to load it up and take it home. They said that Granny was liable to need it just any time, and the rest of the Cooters would definatly need it about daylight.

Joe and Sleets ran back outside and looked that privy over close! Moved it up under a street light where they could examine it better. No doubt about it, it was the Cooter outhouse all right! And it wasn’t doing Granny a bit of good sitting there!

After a lot of jaw, Mr. Mayor decided he couldn’t keep the boys from taking their outhouse home, so just before daylight he let them go. Fact is, he and Sleets escorted them to the edge of town and watched them out of sight. They must ha’ gotten the idea at the same time ’cause they turned that old car around in a hurry and raced for the courthouse.

Yup – as dawn turned to full daylight it was clear to everyone that Lush’s outhouse was parked in front of the Spanish American War memorial, and Sleets’ doniker was decorating the Garden Club’s WWI Veterans Memorial Rose Garden. If that cannon had been loaded, sitting on Sleet’s throne would have been hazardous to your health.

You could probably have heard the laughter past Okie City and all the way to Topeka. Even the Garden Club ladies were too busy laughing to be mad.

Joe and Sleets didn’t have a clue about who transplanted t
he privys – except that the Cooter twins were in on it. The two of them stomped around breathing fire for a few days, threatening the twins with life in prison as soon as they could figure out what they could charge them with, but Judge Ross persuaded them there is no law against using your own outhouse as a decoy – particularly when you are decoying a couple of loons.

Now, there were other and better ways to cool down the kids. The next year ‘Ol Hardman, who was all gimped up, decided he was getting too old to turn his privy back rightside up every year.

Hardman had a quarter section in the sand hills, and the house backed up to a wash that was chock full of willows. ‘Course, the privy was between the house and the wash.

About dark Halloween, Hardman cranked his tractor up, dropped a lass rope around the doniker and moved it about ten feet closer to the house. Then he parked the tractor, and went up in the barn loft to wait for developments.

Along about midnight he saw six dark shapes come running out of the wash toward his outhouse! One fell down about twenty feet or so short of the privy, and the other five kinda dropped out of sight about ten feet short of the backhouse’ new parking place.

Next day, Hardman had some business up by the Cooter place.
The Davis’ told him that they heard about his little trick. And they told him that the Cooter boys had picked cotton to get money to buy new boots, and they got brand new twenty dollar hand stitched El Paso boots out of Railway Express yesterday – and they had had to burn their new boots this morning!

Since the twins were into about every bit of meanness that went on, the Davis’ thought that luring them into a cesspit was about the best thing that could have happened to them! The Cooter boys vowed revenge – but before they got around to doing anything the Japs hit Pearl Harbor and the draft hit the Cooters.

You know, this computer can’t spell at all well – and the spell checker will do a lovely job of guessing at what you intended to say and putting exactly the wrong thing down for you.

Now, what brought on all this rumination about proofreading was Teddy Blue, because that is not her name but close, asking me for some hot recipes, when the spell checker changed to recopies. Hot as in gut singeing! Some of the recipes I have put in here should be about hot enough for any reasonable person.

Of course, some folks aren’t nearly reasonable. My Dad had one when he had the restaurant. This brakeman used to get off the train every night and order hot fried oysters. And gripe that they weren’t hot enough. Dad tried everything he could think of. He waited to start cooking them until the fellow got to the door. Served them on a scorching hot plate. Heated the ketchup, which used to be catsup and the spell checker changed to cat suit, till it steamed. Every night they weren’t hot enough.

Finally my Dad took a catsup bottle and filled it with his hot sauce. Boiled down extra hot chiles, red coloring, and a spoonful of vinegar. That night he served the guy oysters as usual. The guy slopped “catsup” in his plate, speared an oyster and rolled it in hot hot “catsup” and then threw it in his mouth, all as usual.

This night the guy rolled that hot oyster around in his mouth for a few seconds, his eyes got real big, and then he spat the oyster back in his plate.

“Blaze, damn you, Blaze.”, he says! As he grabs the water glass, which did not good at all. Butter finally put the fire out, but the dude never complained about “cold food” after that.

Well, lets see if Dads gut warmer is hot enough for you. Take one firmly packed cup of small, fresh, Cayenne t peppers. (Or a cup and a half of canned jalapenos if you can’t find fresh Cayennes ) 3 small cans of tomato sauce, a #2 (medium) can of drained tomatoes, 1 rounded tablespoon pickle spice, 1 rounded tablespoon cayenne pepper, 1 pint of vinegar, 3 medium onions, 1 large clove of garlic.

Put everything but the tomato sauce and vinegar in your blender and blend WELL!!!. Add the sauce, stir well, simmer for 45 minutes in a tightly covered pot, adding 50/50 vinegar and water if you need more fluid.

This is a pretty hot sauce for meat, fish, or fowl, or anything else you want hotted up. Iportant note!!!! use discretion in the amount you use, and to whom. It is somewhat potent!

Dad said that taken regularly it will grow hair on your chest and that would be inconvenient for those among us who need a top on their “bathers”.

Remembering just how hot that sauce was reminds me of Magde, who loved it. Madge was the most accident prone woman I ever saw, so much so her husband took everything sharp away from her.

Now, about ten o’clock one night a tough mug broke out of prison over at McAllister prison, got into town, and found a house with a car in the drive and nobody home. This mug broke in and stole the car keys, two pistols, a five dollar bill the missus kept for emergencies (In the freezer compartment by the ice cube trays – first place a crook will look for cold cash.) and the car keys. Next morning, the car was found near Mountain View, out of gas.

Naturally, the radio station was warning people every breath to stay in, this Con was armed and dangerous, and so on. And naturally, that morning Madge’s husband U – fore Euless but nobody could spell Euless so it came out Ules, had to take some seed to the Cooter place, and left Madge in the kitchen listening to the radio and washing eggs to take to town, when she happened to see a stranger in a striped shirt slip into her outhouse.

She knew it was “armed and dangerous” so what to do?

Home alone. Husband gone for at least an hour, maybe two or even three. No phone, no way to call for help. Well, U kept a can of gas under the kitchen steps. Madge slipped out of the house, real quiet, got the gas, and sneaked up to the privy.

Like most, this one had a door that opened in, so you could open the door and lever the privy up if you were trapped in it and it turned over. And like most privy’s in that country, the latch on the outside to keep the door from banging in the wind.

Madge started pouring gas on the ground in front of the outhouse, and in just a minute she heard boards creak as the convict shifted his weight. She real quick snapped the latch and then she hollered “You in there.”

“I poured gas all around the outhouse, and I latched the door. I know you can smell gas strong as I can. As long as you stay quiet in there nothing will happen. If you try to get out I am going to light this match and set the gas afire.”
W
hat a pickle! If he tried to shoot through the door, he would probably miss and he would be afire in a flash! He might bust the door down, but if he missed her or Madge was standing out of reach, behind the John for instance, he’d be a cinder.

He shifted around and every time a board creaked Madge threatened the match. He finally sat quiet and waited for developments. After more than an hour, with him inside with
his guns, and a woman with a can of gas and a match outside, he could hear a truck pulling up.

He couldn’t see Madge making frantic gestures at U – making like shooting something and pointing at the privy. U knew Madge had something treed – he just didn’t know what!

U pulled his old hogleg out from under the seat and ran to Madge, who explained in whispers that she had “armed and dangerous” latched in the can.

U cocked the old Colt, and hollered “We are going to take the latch off the door. Crack the door and throw your guns out, and then throw all your clothes out after them. Then when we tell you to, you come out backwards, real slow.”

The ‘scapee protested about losing his pants, but a threat of setting the backhouse on fire was enough to persuade him to behave. They searched his pants, then let him come out, buck naked, and then let him put his pants back on. They got him hogtied with baling wire and Madge held the gun on him while U went to town to call the State Troopers to come and get him. Talk about a man glad to go back to prison!

After the Trooper, it was LeRoi LaRue, came out and picked the prisoner up U turned to Madge and said, “Honey, you know I don’t let you keep matches at the house.”

Madge said “Yes, but the man in that privy didn’t know that!”

Well, it is time to get some more work done, and I will never get through if I don’t start.

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An Actor Vs A Distinguished Gentleman

An Instapundiit item juxtaposes the faces of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and an actor.

Born in a Savannah “neighborhod” and raised in extreme poverty, Justice Thomas is one of the sharpest legal minds on the planet; if not the sharpest. If you are fortunate enough to meet Justice Thomas, a smile and a word will get you a return in kind. And he is an American, a friend the Constitution, and of the American people.

The actor? Hosato Takei was born in 1937. Interned in one of Roosevelt’s concentration (called internment) cams. In common with most interned families, Takata’s parents lost almost every thing they had to time and the tax collector.Takei earned a BA in theater from the University of California before paying his dues in the entertainment industry.

As the image at Instapundit notes, Judge Clarence Thomas votes for the political party that freed his people, and that has for 150 years done its best to uphold equal rights for all.

While Takei votes for a political party that has historically “Whites only,” and only some White’s at that.

While Judge Thomas Party was pushing through Constitutional amendments to insure equal rights for all, Takei’s party was bitterly opposed to Asian immigration. When Chinese workers were through blasting the UP railroad through California’s mountains, Takei’s party wanted to reward them with a one way ticket home.

While Judge Thomas Republicans mounted an enormous effort to make sure Black Americas were fitted for the industrial jobs they were sure would come, Democrats used every excuse to keep Black Americans in ignorance and poverty.

While Judge Thomas Party was trying to make members of Indian nations American citizens, Takei’s party spent time stirring up fears of an imminent attempt to recapture the land the Nations lost.

I could go on, but Thomas has a sterling record as a lawyer and judge. Judge Thomas is the real deal.

George Takei? is an actor, who pretends to be someone he is not.

In judging the relative worth of the two men to our society, I would judge one’s value to be fleeting at best. Who is he to criticize?

Stranger

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Medicine Men and Developing A Jury

Looking at the rain reminds me of the summer of 51 in in South Dakota.

I don’t care much for South Dakota. In fact, I was pleased when Rand McNally omitted the state from their road atlas. That comes from my youngest days, when every town and wide spot in the state had a vagrancy law. A law they strictly enforced whenever the town treasury needed a transfusion.

If you were caught breathing South Dakota’s precious air or standing on a square foot or two of their millions of acres without being able to prove local residence or a local employer – you were going to get your wallet emptied.

Because the fines for vagrancy were whatever you happened to have in your kick. If you didn’t care to fork out all you had, you guested in their flea and bedbug infested crossbar motel long enough to become a resident. And you paid your board bill with the sweat of your brow.

Harvest hands, carnival people, travelling salesmen, and almost everyone else on the road thought this practice amounted to legalized armed robbery. The Supreme Court eventually agreed with us, but back in the ’40’s roadies passed on a warning, friendly wise, to anyone planning a trip to or through that state.

“Better not stop in Gregory, they are pushing the vag racket hard.” Or Brookings, Yankton, Mobridge, or wherever else the traveling folk were “held up and robbed by the law.”

Human nature being what it is, every so often you would warn someone who thought he was too fly to fall foul of bandits with badges. I remember the time my dad tipped Greener, the cook house king, that the word was the Winner town marshal was cleaning out every roadie who stopped for eats or gas in that burg.

Greener gave my dad the horse laugh, said he’d been gassing up in Winner for years without trouble, and talked about how “Big Jim talks like a nervous old woman, he says he’s going to detour around Winner, haw haw haw” the rest of the fair.

But the first person we saw when we pulled in the next fair grounds was Greener. And the fat man’s first words were “Jim, could you loan me twenty to pay the bread man? They throwed a vag rap on us at Winner and took every cent we had.”

Which want usually happens to those who will not take notice of a friendly word of warning. But on the other hand, there were a lot of places where the people were at least civil, and some places the people were downright nice.

While I was on vacation a few years ago, I came back through Baraboo, Wisconsin. The last time I was in Baraboo old Doc Hale was peddling his brand of patent medicine. Doc was genuine MD till he got inoperable cancer. Doc sold his practice and took up the patent med pitch, which Doc said the stuff he sold would cure you if you weren’t too sick and you believed in it, and that was better than he was ever able to do as a regular croaker.

Doc was out at the fairgrounds, peddling his 100 proof elixir of alcohol, sugar, anise and caramel, when the local law hailed him. One of the town croakers wanted the Doc hauled in for practicing medicine without a license.

Doc’s wife saw them coming so she slips back to thier trailer, grabs Doc’s license to practice medicine in the State of Wisconsin off the wall, and slips it face down in front of the Doc.

After Doc wound up his spiel, the Baraboo law dog asks, polite, if the Doc has a license to practice medicine.

“Oh, yes Sir,” says the Doc, holding the framed certificate up for everyone to see. “Wisconsin was the first state I was licensed in when I graduated from medical school.”

The local law smiled and left, muttering about crazy doctors, and the crowd, the “tip,” was highly impressed.

Of course, Doc was a real Doc, ministered to the carneys, and knew his onions. He was just a bit burned out with treating folks he could not help.

Anyway, the summer of ’46 Doc was making the rounds with a new line of liquid dynamite. He had a real pretty wife that shilled for him – which if you don’t know a shill is someone who stands in the crowd and buys the product, so as to get the marks hands out of their pockets and get some money in circulation. Rita had kids in college but she looked maybe 30 or so. One of the kind the late Justin Wilson said looked so good you looked her up one side and right back up the same side. Quick with a comeback, too.

One time in Indiana, Doc really got wound up, and a guy who had seen Doc at three or four places recognized Rita as being “with it.” He asked Rita “Will that stuff really make you live longer?”

“I don’t really know,” Rita said, “I only met the Doctor in 1856.”

I believe the mark bought a couple cases of the stuff.

Yessir, Rita was pretty swift on the uptake and a real diplomat. Whenever anyone knocked on her trailer door she would put her hat on. That way if it was someone she didn’t want to talk to she could say she was just going out – and if it was somebody she wanted to see she could say she was so glad to see them, “Just let me take my hat off and put the teapot on and we will have a nice long visit.”

Back then penicillin was brand new – if the sawbones knew then what the croakers know now Doc might have been saved. Or maybe not, life bein’ chancy.

However, I don’t know that life was any more chancy then than now. But the insurance is sure higher. There is more truth than poetry in that old joke…

How many doctors does it take to change a light bulb?”

“That depends on how much insurance the bulb has.”

And nowadays we have more specialists, too. A specialist is someone who knows more and more about less and less. Either that or a croaker with a smaller practice and a bigger house.

I see that 175,000 people die every year from the croakers screwups and infections contracted while they were being treated. For true! Yep, every sawbones buries his mistakes. You still wanna know why I call ’em croakers?

I was talkin’ to a ham on 2 meters while I was pirootin’ around Omaha and he told me that there is a doctor in Iowa who makes house calls. Now don’t that beat all? I remember when the house call was the ordinary way you saw the doc.

Nowadays a lot of doctors are so high falutin’ they won’t make hospital calls. But this denizen of Zero Land told me that his doctor makes house calls but he won’t make farm calls. Not
unless the farmer gags the ducks.

Say, do you remember when Doc Johnson took a whole month off and went to Colorado on a big game hunt. When he got back his nurse asked him if he killed anything.

“Didn’t kill a thing. Didn’t even get a shot at killing anything,” he says, “I’d have been better off staying here.”

All joking aside, I do trust my doctor. If he treats you for dandruff that’s what you die of. Of course, doctors are a sight more useful than lawyers. Well, I better not get wound up on shysters, but I mind when Tag Taggert brought Lark Starr in for stealin’ cows.

Judge Ross asked Starr if he had anything to offer the court before he passed sentence on him.

Starr said “Sorry, Judge, I don’t have a smear. My lawyer took every last penny I had.”

Did you hear about the holdup man who held up a Jackson lawyers office a while back? The poor feller lost six hundred dollars.

Most lawyers practice because it gives them a grand and glorious feeling. Give ’em a grand and they feel glorious!

But you know, we should love all the lawyers. Who else would we get to get us out of all the trouble they get us into? And lawyers come in real handy whenever a felon needs a friend, too.

Say, I went to school once in Antlers, Oklahoma, one year. Miss Custis was the teacher there, and we had three grades in one room. You might say I was in the middle, I had the second grade on my right, and the fourth grade on my left.

Had a real pretty girl, her dad was a court clerk, in my class. That was another Sheila. Miss Custis asked Sheila to come up and explain to the fourth grade how the court system works.

Sheila stood up and said, “The lawyers make speeches and sit down. The judge makes a speech and sits down. Then the bailiff takes twelve of them into a dark room to be developed.”

Well, the rain has slacked up, so I suppose I had better gear up to do a little climbing.

Stranger

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From Divorce Court to Banking

You know, the Internet is a wonderful thing. I was looking at the internet version of the Oklahoman, scanning the obits and society pages for familiar names, and I came across a story about a modern divorce.

Reading between the lines, this gal was suin’ her well connected husband for mental cruelty. And the judge in the case was an old college buddy of the defendant.

“And besides giving her a clear title to the house and the cars, you will pay your wife a thousand dollars a week in alimony,” the Judge told his friend.

“But Judge,” pleaded the now ex-husband, “have a heart.”

Then he goes in this long speech about how he had pulled strings to help the Judge attain his seat on the bench. He reminded him how he had loaned him assignments in high school and helped him with his homework. And how paying out a thousand a week to his ex would make it impossible for him to live in the style he had accustomed himself.

“Well,” sez the Judge, “I guess we can lower it to five hundred a week.”

“And remember how I helped you with Latin and your pre-law course,” the ex-husband continued.

“Make it three fifty,” declared the Judge. But the ex-husband still wasn’t satisfied.

“And even after you graduated I was the one who fixed you up with a date for the homecoming dance, with the girl who became your wife.”

“So it was you,” roared the Judge, glaring at the man. “Case closed at fifteen hundred a week.”

Which goes to show you that there are times when you are better off keepin’ yer cake hole shut. Of course, that problem is far from unique. I knew a pretty enough gal one time, up in Decatur, who was a one subject conversationalist. Herself.

I was in a place in Newton one time and this gal came in looking for a job. After she talked to the boss a while he asked her when she could go to work. She told him two weeks, and he said he needed somebody sooner than that, but if the job was still open then he’d call her.

“Where can I get ahold of you?” the boss asked.

“I don’t know,” she says. “I’m awful ticklish.”

This gal was good looking enough to have a man, but she had been through about every eligible man in Newton County, and a few from Kemper and Scott, and they had all found an excuse to make it a one date romance. Or two at the most.

I was in Phillips Cafe one time and I heard her talking to
the gal who helped out at rush hour.

“Oh Barbara, I have met the most wonderful man” she gushes. “He’s coming tonight to pick me up and take me to dinner. And he’s absolutely perfect in every way.”

“Debbie,” sez Babs, “Let me give you some advice. Men don’t like to hear about you, they like to talk about themselves. If you talk about yourself all night he will be bored and you will never see him again.”

Well, the advice must have sunk in. Because the way the gossip went, the feller picked Debbie up all right. And she chattered about herself all the way there. And all through dinner.

As they were leaving the restaurant Deb was heard to say “And that’s enough about me. Let’s talk about you for a change. What do you think of this dress I’m wearing?”

And yes – that was another first, last, and only. Women do tend to be talkable. At the most inopportune times. A friend of mine goes to a lady dentist because it makes him so happy to hear a woman tell him to open his mouth instead of shut up.

Jimmy, Jimmy Burke’s his name, does have a talkable wife. Alma has one tone of voice. Accusatory! He got his income tax refund check in the mail yesterday and she has him convinced it’s all his fault.

Jimmy’s the one who wanted to know if a man said something out loud out in the middle of the woods where there was no woman to hear him if he was still wrong.

Jimmy had one of those embarrassing moments a cupple years ago. Jim’s ears were about to melt one day when his brother in law came by with a brand new Christmas boat. And suggested Jimmy go with him to try it out. And do a little fishing!

So Jimmy and Greg had been out on the lake for a cupple hours, and they look up in a little bay and there’s a half a dozen ducks bobbin’ around and one great big old Canada goose. So Greg turns the boat toward the bay and puts the trolling motor on slow, slow.

And there they are sneaking up on the waterfowl!

“Jimmy,” whispers Greg, “My sixteen gauge is in the locker. Get it out and get ready. When they see us they will jump, so let ’em have it just as they clear the water.”

“That goose would sure taste good between bowl games,” Jimmy whispers back.

“Yeah, man, he sure would,” sez Greg, speeding up just a skosh. “Stay down, man, stay hid, and he’s ours.”

They get about fifty yards from the ducks, and they don’t get noticed none at all. Greg slows down a little, but they are still sneaking up on ’em. A few minutes later they are only twenty yards away.

“Take ’em, Jimmy, take ’em,” hollers Greg, standing up and waving his arms.

Jimmy can’t stand it no more. Bam, bam, bam, he proceeds to ground sluice that goose. He emptied the shotgun at him! Before the bird can even spread his wings to take off. And not a feather stirs. Except the doggone goose spreads out flat on the water and sinks!

Dead geese are not supposed to sink. Jimmy and Greg are standing there with their mouths open, drawing flies, when a couple of guys jump up out of the brush lining the shore yelling “Don’t shoot our decoys, don’t shoot our decoys.”

Yep, Jimmy and Greg had bagged an inflated rubber goose. And took plenty of kidding about it, too. Alma had heard about all it before Jimmy came draggin’ in. All she wanted to know was whether he wanted his goose roasted or retreaded.

The guys down at the Cookhouse Cafe kidded Jimmy about it for a week or so, but Alma kept it going about six weeks straight and off and on ever since. One of these days that woman is going to run Jimmy plumb out of patience.

Considering Jimmy’s mama it’s a wonder Jimmy has as much patience as he has. His mama was one of my schoolteachers, and Miz Burke was the only one armed teacher I ever had. A tractor accident took her arm off at the elbow. But that didn’t slow her down none getting problems on the blackboard, now.

She kept an eraser under he crippled wing, and a spare piece of chalk behind her ear, and she was faster than most by a long shot. A good teacher but a little short tempered.

One of those ten year olds start acting up in her class and she would grab him, sometimes it was a her, prop up against a desk, park that kid bent over between her knees, and whale away. OUCH! I guarantee, Miz Burke kept her whole class in order, all the time.

But anyhoo, talking too much about too little seems to be a pretty common problem. ‘Course, folks make plenty of problems for themselves besides talkability. Or the lack of it.

One time I was in a Rexall up in North Dakota, reading Arthur Clarke’s Earthlight in Thrilling Wonder Stories and nursing a nickel coke, when a couple of pretty gals walk in. And one of the gals was showing off a ring and telling t’other all about her fiance.

“Oh, he’s the most wonderful man,” she gushed. “He’s so polite and so attentive, and he always gets me every little thing I want.”

“Maybe so,” sez her friend. “But when you are thirty he’ll be seventy.”

“That’s all right. I will always love Roger for what he is no matter how old he gets.”

“What is he, besides old?” asks the pal.

“I thought you knew! He’s the president of the First National Bank of Fargo.”

Actually, I have heard worse reasons than money for acrimony, alimony, matrimony, or whatever it turns out to be. The good reasons begin with affection and only end with money! And you would be surprised at the number of gals who have their eye on his bottom line.

A British poll found the number one ambition of single European women aged 18 to 26 is to be a young widow. The women polled said the best way to achieve that ambition is to marry an old man. Which reminds me of that famous firm of shysters in Topeka. You have heard of Plantem and Spend?

Of course, young girls have been told mature men have less desire and more money. The popular myth about mature men is like the old story of the salesman who had been to more than 70 conventions in three months. He gets to Atlantic City, eats dinner, and heads right to his room.

As soon as he gets upstairs he undresses and crawls slowly into bed. No sooner than he turns off the light than a key rattles in the door and in slinks a drop dead gorgeous model!

Puzzled, the weary salesman switches on the light and surveys the dazzling damsel.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” says the girl, “It looks like I’m in the wrong room.”

“You are in the right room, Honey,” sez the salesman. “You are just 40 years too late.”

But many a cuddlesome lass has found that to be less than true. As witness that whiteheaded fellow that’s been so much in the news lately. If the news could be believed he’s one of those who believe they are cheaper by the dozens. Or maybe by the gross. But we all know the news can’t be trusted. Which is a good thing because I hate to think a conservative fellow Democrat would act like a Liberal. Until I have credible proof, anyhoo.

Looking at all the women baring all about Condit reminds me of the story of the three old guys sitting in the park discussing how they would like to be buried.

“I’d like to be buried with John McGraw. He was the best manager and the greatest strategist baseball ever had,” said the baseball fan.

“I’d like to be buried with Teddy Roosevelt. He was a great man, built the Panama Canal, made our Navy the best in the world, and carried a big stick,” said the old Navy man.

“I’d like to be buried with Gina Lollabrigida,” said the third.

“But Gina Lollabrigida ain’t dead yet,” protested the Navy man.

“Neither am I, Harry, neither am I.”

Obviously, neither is Condit. But money is not the most important thing in the world. It’s just mighty tough to be entirely without it. And it’s amazing what folks will do to get some.

Sort of like the piece in the Trib, back when I was using around Chicago, about a reporter overhearing a couple of youngish matrons complaining about how many hours their husbands worked and how little they made.

“If only I had married a millionaire,” moaned one.

“You mean, if you were only a millionaire’s widow,” corrected the other.

Speaking of Chicago, one time a story went around about a shirt maker who was in deep trouble. He’d run up big bills with two of his suppliers and he owed his bookie a ton. And all three of his creditors were out for blood. His!

Talking it over with his wife, they figure the only thing for him to do would be to die! So between them they get up a mock funeral, and invite all his creditors and kin to the funeral.

And a fine funeral it was, too, with flowers all over the place, dozens of mourners, and the whole nine yards. Naturally his two suppliers and his bookie are there, chatting about what a natural lookin’ corpse Goldberg is, when it became time to bid the departed his final goodbye. Everybody parades by the coffin, and the bookie brings up the rear.

When the oddsmaker gets to the coffin he whips out a 45 and screams “You dirty SOB, even though you are dead I’m going to get personal satisfaction. Nobody gets away with owing me money. I’m going to fill you full of holes, you dirty bastid!”

Goldberg sits up in the box, throws up his hands, and sez “Not so fast, Louie. You, I’ll pay.”

Joking aside, this really is a woman’s world. When a man is born the first thing they ask is “How’s the mother.” When a man marries they always say “She was a lovely bride.” And when he dies they always ask “How much did he leave her?”

Speaking of Goldberg, his buddy Ginsberg was in the womens panty business. He sold Montgomery Ward 500,000 pairs of panties on 90 day billing. So he was long on recievables and short on cash. He goes to a bank to ask for a loan.

The banker gives Ginsberg all kinds of papers to fill out, and finally one of the bank executives inverviewed him.

“How much money do you want to borrow?”

“I need $25,000 for ninety days.

“How much do you have in recievables and how much inventory do you have?”

“I have one hundred thousand dollars in recievables and one million pairs of panties.

“In that case, we can give you the loan.

A week later Ginsberg returns to the bank and hands the banker the money he had borrowed, along with the interest. “I sold all my panties for cash and made a big profit,” he says.

“That sounds wonderful,” enthused the banker. “Now that you have all that extra money, why don’t you deposit it here?”

“I’d like to,” says Ginsberg, “But first I have to ask you one question.”

“Well, yes, ask anything you like.”

“Tell me, how many panties you got in stock?”

Stranger

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Blowing Up The Outhouse; And Drunk To Boot Camp

Well, this is sure a pretty afternoon. If you wanted nice weather and today wouldn’t do, you would be in tough shape. But it’s been cold and clammy the last few days. The kind of weather that used to make folks cut trips to the outhouse short.

Things changed when you got a crowd of boys, or a crowd of girls, together and looking for some privacy. Most prairie houses were cracker-box affairs, with a kitchen, a parlor, and one bedroom on the ground floor and two bedrooms for the seven kids upstairs. The boys bunked in one room, the girls in t’other, you know.

Oh, sometimes there would be another room downstairs and a couple more bedrooms upstairs. But no matter how you sliced it the average family had mom and pop and seven kids on twenty by thirty feet of ground. Counting the porch! There was not much room and less privacy. So kids needing gossipin’ room would gather up in the outhouse and monopolize the place!

I remember one time some of the city gals the Cooters kept came early. Their school had burned or some such, and here were five gals and Lizzie; with nary place in sight to sit and gossip. Except the doniker.

So they would gather in there and play dolls and such. Which was a pain when somebody needed to see a man about a dog! And after three or four days the two hired boys decided to do something drastic!

The boys were twins, about fourteen at the time, name of Len and Jim Krawpullen. Never heard of such a name before or since, but Krawpullen was what they went by. They had gotten kicked out of school, and pretty much given a choice working in the country or going to reform school.

They chose to work it out, and the Cooters volunteered to work them. So here they were, making twenty five bux and found a month, doing a man’s work. If that sounds cheap, a farmhands wages were fifty a month and they had to fend for themselves. So I figgered Lane Senior and Junior were generous, because they got what the Farmers Almanac predicted.

“A boy will do half a man’s work, and two boys will still do half a man’s work.” Besides boyish high spirits, the boys had just about enough brains between them to furnish one of those little ants polite folks call pismires. Rude folks call ’em something else that begins P-I-S!

Anyhoo, one afternoon the boys felt bad in need and the johnny was occupied. And occupied. And occupied some more. The giggling and doll talk they could hear left no doubt of who – and that relief would come with supper call. The girls never missed a chance to eat!

One of the boys thought that a firecracker under the seat would make the girls move. T’other remembered there was dynamite and slow match squirreled away in the feed room. Not being either smart or familiar with blasting, they got a whole stick of Nobel’s best, attached a long fuse to it, and slip up to the back of the biffy.

Like a lot of country conveniences, the Cooter outhouse had a gap between the back skirting and the ground. The boys slipped their “firecracker” through the crack and eased her down real quiet. Then they lit the fuse and backed off to wait for developments. Which were not long coming.

According to Len, the outhouse lifted up a couple of inches when the blast went off, and before it could settle back in place four screaming girls were making a beeline for the house. And about ten seconds after that Mrs. Lane Junior Cooter had both of the boys by the ear.

Now – this was before the Cooters had running water. Those boys had to tote a number two washtub of water from the windmill for each of those girls. And heat it! And pour it out after each girl was clean.

After the girls were all cleaned up – they had to scrub the outhouse! Len said that scrubbing the walls and roof was the most sickening part of all, washing gal clothes after they had the Cooter Convenience clean was nothing compared to purifying that well splattered jakes.

Besides larnin two kids not to play with explosives, another good thing came of that. The Cooter womenfolks cut the menfolks biscuits and bacon off until Lane Junior put in running water and built a double bathroom annex on the house. One day without home cookin’ did the trick!

But speakin’ of the Krawpullens reminds me of the time the whole Cooter clan went to Dallas, seein’ the Twins off to boot camp. They boarded Len and Jim with Joe Wells. Now, Joe and his wife and boy lived at Babbs, a little community southeast of town.

The boy, Bob, was thirteen, and gun wise; where Len and Jim were fourteen and about as dumb as they come. The last day Len and Jim were to stay at the Wells’, Joe and his Mrs take off to town and leave the boys to their own devices.

The twins had noticed Joe kept a little .22 rifle over the mantle. Bob figured it would be OK to take the twins out with a box of .22 shorts and show them how to shoot. Natural, after a few minutes the twins knew all about guns, and Bob was froze out.

As Bob told it later, the twins were the worst shots he’d ever seen. They couldn’t hit a barn from the inside. They spent the next hour burning powder at anything that moved and a lot that didn’t, and didn’t hit a thing! By that time they had wandered across several sections of prairie and decided to take the short cut home. So the cut across Harry Otto’s place, past one of Otto’s grain bins.

There was a big brass padlock on the grain bin door and Jim decided to take a crack at it. And lo and behold he hit it! The only thing he’d hit all day – and the only thing of value he had shot at. Naturally, that lock flew all to pieces. So the boys took off running and didn’t stop until they were home.

The next morning the breakfast table was abuzz. “Did you hear about the robbery at the Otto’s? Somebody busted a lock and got away with 500 bushels of seed wheat! Ain’t no telling what this world is coming to, we get in a war and somebody starts stealing seed. Must’a been an Axis agent, maybe.”

Natural, Bob didn’t say a word. He was scared to death that his daddy would find out he’d been toying with forbidden fruit. So Bot tried to stay out of sight and take it all in. After a couple of days everything was quiet and Bob thought he was home free.

But at breakfast the third morning Bob’s daddy spoke up. “You know, I walked over to Otto’s grain bin and the lock was shot all to pieces. But the ground was soft and I couldn’t find a tire track anywhere. It didn’t look like there had been a bag of grain in the bin for years, and if there had of been they would have had to have a skyhook to carry it off without leaving tracks. But the insurance is going to pay Otto off for his loss. He says that will clear his note with Mullendore, so it looks like everything worked out for the best.”

Bob relaxes considerable, until his Dad goes on. “Funny thing, the only tracks I found around there were three sets of bootprints.” Then he looks Bob in the eye and winks!

Len and Jim worked for the Cooters until they got their draft notice. Now, like I said, between them they had about enough brains to come in out of the rain. So they get their “presidential greetings” and decide to celebrate. By getting drunk! Which, for non-drinkers, was not too doggone smart in itself.

And it was even dumber to sneak into French’s barn and draw two pint fruit jars of his “Lost Weekend” moonshine. They called that tipple that because because you take a couple of drinks and you lost the weekend. The twins took their loot to their room and proceed to hold their nose and drink down a pint apiece. On Friday night.

Mrs. Lane Cooter Junior missed them for Saturday breakfast, and noonin’, and supper. So Junior got Ol’ Harman out to help out. They busted down the door and found the boys – still out like Lotties eye. Ol’ Hardman always claimed a man ain’t drunk if he can lay on the floor without holding on – and those boys were wondrously drunk. The half sip left in the jars was proof enough of what had happened. Junior and Ol’ Hardman gathered them up and threw them in a stock tank to sober ’em up.

The shock woke them up – but they woke up to a very strange world. You talk about the jim jams, they had ’em. Sort of like that Kipling ditty that goes “In the full, fresh, fragrant morning/ I observed a camel crawl/ Laws of gravitation scorning/ On the ceiling and the wall./ Then I watched a fender walking,/ And I heard gray leeches sing,/ And a red hot monkey talking/ Did not seem a proper thing.”

It was all Ol’ and the Cooters could do to get the boys sobered up enough to report for induction the next Wednesday. When the Cooters drove the boys to Okie City the boys were about like that joke about how many drunks does it take to change a light bulb.

Two; one to hold the light bulb and the other to drink until the room spins. The boys got to the draft board on time, but they said they really didn’t sober up until their second day in boot camp.

Stranger

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