Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Big Bang! ...

Some years ago, a day or so leading up to a particular July Fourth celebration, Lamar Beefeater and his chief cohort in fatuity, the infamous Luther DooLittle, resolved that they should mosey into town for the purpose of acquiring a ready supply of cheap, bootleg fireworks ... as luck would have it, as the eager lads ambled past the bustling Piggly Wiggly grocery store, lurking at the far end of the parking lot stood an enterprising, young highwayman clandestinely peddling all sorts of "discount" fireworks from the back of an old, beat-up De Soto automobile, its cavernous rear compartment chockful of an extensive gallimaufry of black-market explosive devices and combustible items consisting of Roman candles, bottle rockets, sparklers, Cherry bombs, skyrockets, firecrackers ... and a colossal object the size and shape of a three pound coffee canister ... the ominous words "DANGER" and "FLASHPOWDER" clearly and boldly imprinted down its side ... this behemoth resembled those the local fire department sets off down by the riverside as the main feature of each annual Fourth of July celebration ... and it was just as prodigious ... Luther and Lamar hurriedly made their selections ... first choice most definitely being that of the "big bomb" ... the generally hardfisted boys reluctantly forked over the agreed upon pecuniary amount ... a classic case of parsimony melding with pettifoggery as both parties seemingly made out like raiding brigands in the amerciable transaction ... before heading homeward with their priceless pyrotechnics in tow, Luther and Lamar patronized the Piggly Wiggly purchasing a couple of gigantic, discounted watermelons and were now broke flatter than week-old roadkill on a busy L.A. freeway, albeit filled with excitement and anticipation at the thought of carrying out the cretinous plans they had concocted for that evening.

As soon as the boys arrived back at Lamar's daddy's place they placed the heavy, ripe watermelons on the wooden corn crib floor, then spread out the fireworks right next to the melons ... the very same corn crib floor where Lamar Beefeater had previously suffered a catastrophic failure during the developmental stages of his "time travelin' machine" ... but I'll reserve that fatuous tale for another day ... so a systematic strategy was quickly formulated in which they would devour the smaller of the two watermelons, then gouge a hole in the larger remaining melon and insert the big bomb, now affectionately known as "Big Bertha," and with the words "DANGER" and
"FLASHPOWDER" clearly and boldly imprinted down its side, right inside of that watermelon ... then "touch 'er off!" ... so Luther propped up that big melon with the hole gouged in its center right there in the middle of the dusty corn crib floor while Lamar carefully slid "Big Bertha" down inside of it ... then Luther lit the short homemade fuse with his daddy's Zippo lighter and the hapless duo charged as fast as their brogues could carry them out of that corn crib and into the dense woods behind the Beefeater property.

Well, a minute or so passed by and nothing happened, Luther and Lamar were about to return to the corn crib fraught with disappointment at the thought of possibly having purchased a dud ... then suddenly there was this Brobdingnagian explosion ... (((KAABOOOOOOOMMMMM)))!!! ... an explosion of cosmic proportions shook the earth for miles around nearly knocking it from its axis, surpassed in magnitude only by that of the Mount Vesuvius eruption, accompanied by a towering fireball and rising plumes of thick, black smoke ... this followed by numerous other blasts of lesser intensity and significance ... now Lamar's mama Maude, upon hearing the grand explosion from her kitchen, unaware of the presence of any explosive materials, and thinking that Lamar and Luther were supposedly out in the corn crib simply consuming watermelon, was now certain that a tragic accident had most assuredly occurred and that both Lamar and Luther might either be in dire straights or perhaps even dead ... so she ran out the kitchen door and rushed toward the corn crib to investigate and check on the welfare of the wretched pair ... as she approached the corn crib, which was now in flames and missing most of its roof, she saw what appeared to be chunks of some sort of red substance strewn about in every direction and splattered all over what was left of the floor and walls of the old shed, along with several pieces of whitish looking fragments, bits of rind and watermelon seeds ... then it struck her ... Lamar and Luther had been blown to smithereens!! ... overcome with instant grief, Maude let out this awful, long and loud, bloodcurdling scream, sank down face first right into the worst of that pile of gory muck and fainted away dead to the world ... now Lamar, upon hearing his mama Maude's anguished squall, came running from the woods, Luther DooLittle right at his heels, to see what the matter was ... there they found wooden planks and sheets of metal roofing scattered all across the yard amongst watermelon remains and what was left of the still flaming corn crib ... as Lamar inched his way toward the door for a peek, there lay his mama Maude's apparently lifeless body face down in all that mess ... that's when it struck him ... his mama Maude had been kilt in that explosion!! ... then he too passed out and dropped face down onto that pile of gory muck right beside his mama Maude ... poor Luther DooLittle now filled with awestruck wonder and befuddlement straightaway broke into a dead run toward home.

Now Lamar's daddy Henry had watched this entire sequence of events unfold from start to finish from the comfort and relative safety of the barn ... and could hardly contain himself, convulsing in laughter as he came to the aid of his fallen wife Maude and hapless son Lamar ... after dumping a bucketful of cold water on the duo, thus bringing them both back to the land of the conscious and living, he recounted in graphic detail just how they had come to be in such a miserable and precarious position ... last I heard, Maude was still vexedly combing the countryside, rolling pin in hand, in search of the fleeing Lamar ... who has been hiding in the woods ... surviving on wild herbs ... acorns ... and chunks of seared watermelon rinds!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Walter Higgins ...

It seemed life's journey for Walter Higgins had always been an uphill climb ... as a young boy he had suffered from the awful scourge of paralytic polio leaving his legs bent and weak ... as a result, Walter could but hobble along with the aid of crutches, or he would get down on gloved hands and padded knees and crawl about ... Walter had never been popular among the other children, they usually shunned or openly ignored him when playing or doing other physically demanding activities ... life was a day-to-day struggle for Walter Higgins, and he often wondered if he would ever be of any positive worth to his fellow man ... one thing that kept Walter from giving up was his faith in God and the hope that someday his existence would be meaningful and important to others ... another thing was that Walter Higgins could swim! ... right after Walter's birth his mother and father had taken him to a friend's pool and dropped him right into the tepid water ... naturally, the child began to swim ... before long he was diving beneath the surface all on his own and swimming around like an energetic and playful seal ... over the years swimming became Walter's favorite activity, and he often spent hours at the local swimming hole or the public pool, often from early morning until darkness fell ... Walter was free when in that water, his legs didn't matter all that much then ... and although polio had left him with a weakened heart, swimming was the one thing he was more proficient at than anyone else around ... nobody could swim as good as Walter Higgins!

Now Walter's lifelong dream had been to see the ocean some time before his death, he wanted to feel the warmth of the sand beneath his feet and the gentle ocean breeze against his face ... but more than anything else, Walter yearned-for the chance to one day dive into those warm, briny depths and carelessly swim away the hours ... well Walter's dream was about to become reality when his church planned a day trip to the beach, and Walter had been invited to accompany the group at no cost to him ... on the day of the outing Walter was absolutely elated, this was definitely the happiest day of his life and he could hardly wait to hit the sandy beach and the blue water ... upon their arrival an excited Walter was the first from the van as he jumped right onto that scorching, hot sand on all fours then quickly made his way to the water's edge ... he hesitated but for a moment, then glanced back at the others with a huge smile that stretched from ear to ear ... Walter could no longer contain himself as he dove into that wonderful water and swam ... and swam ... and swam ... Walter was free once again ... nobody could swim as good as Walter Higgins!

The day wore on and the hours seemed to fly by far too rapidly, and as the sun began its lazy descent on the horizon the pleasant winds had turned into a near gale inciting the surging waves to roll a bit more forcefully ... most folks were now exhausted, particularly Walter, and had already made their way back onto the safety of the beach, except for a small sailboat still bouncing dangerously about quite a distance from shore in the roiling water ... a man and his young daughter desperately holding on for dear life as the diminutive skiff crashed against the now violent waves ... just as the group was about to climb back into the van for the long journey home somebody screamed that the tiny craft had capsized ... everybody on the beach immediately looked to discover that the man was now floating on his back having been knocked unconscious, while his daughter was helplessly trying to grasp the bottom of the boat, but beginning to lose her grip each time she slipped beneath the churning water ... somebody had to do something or the child would certainly drown, but nobody there was capable of swimming that far out to save her ... except for Walter ... nobody could swim as good as Walter Higgins!

Walter rolled out of that van landing onto the gritty sand on all fours and began crawling toward the water's egde as fast as he could, then without hesitation dove right in and began swimming with all his might in the direction of the overturned boat ... Walter was already bone-tired from swimming all day, but the thought of that girl drowning right before his eyes gave him a sudden burst of energy and a second wind as he swam seemingly effortlessly to her aid ... by the time Walter reached the capsized sailboat the man had regained consciousness, but was too weak to be of any real assistance as he too now clung to the side of the vessel ... his daughter however was nearly at the point of total exhaustion, and about to slip beneath the surface for the final time just as Walter grabbed her around her waist with one arm and began swimming back toward shore with the other ... reality was beginning to set in and the adrenalin rush was fading away as Walter began to feel the effects of this life-threatening encounter on his own twisted body ... with his last ounce of strength Walter made it back to shore and collapsed just as he delivered the quivering girl into the waiting arms of anxious onlookers ... everybody was overjoyed and gathered round to embrace the horrified child as her father finally managed to also get himself ashore and join her ... hardly anybody noticed that Walter Higgins was lying motionless in a heap.

The dire and trying experience combined with extreme fatigue was too much for Walter's disease-stricken heart and he was gone ... his lifelong desire to see the ocean before his death had come to fruition ... and he had passed with the knowledge that he had preserved that little girl's life, a feat nobody else there was capable of doing ... because nobody could swim as good as Walter Higgins! ... he also finally realized that his existence was meaningful and important to others and of positive worth to his fellowman ... this was definitely the happiest day of his life ... and as Walter Higgins stands with a huge smile stretching from ear to ear ... on some beautiful and faraway shore ... overlooking the crystal sea ... watching the sun continue its lazy descent on the distant horizon ... a gentle ocean breeze caressing his face and the warmth of the sand beneath his feet ... he thinks for just a moment that he might dive right into those briny depths and carelessly swim away the hours ... but there's plenty of time for that ... Walter Higgins would much rather stroll around heaven with his now straight and sturdy legs and strong new heart ... he is free once again, truly free ... and you see ... now nobody can walk as good as Walter Higgins!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Bailout Blues ...

Here's a bit of aged humour written at the height of the bailout days ... a now irrelevant topic, but thought I'd post it again just for fun ... the DooLittle clan had been peddling homemade lemonade each summer for several decades now from a movable stand situated in the center of the town square ... an endeavor which had become a family tradition ... this industrious undertaking had always been an extremely profitable enterprise for the DooLittles ... until just recently that is ... the local economy had tanked and folks weren't spending much money on lemonade ... at least they weren't spending much of it at the DooLittle stand ... which under such inauspicious conditions appeared to be hanging on the brink of certain failure and ultimate closure ... could it be the end of an era? ... now Lester DooLittle was an indolent young fella who considered himself to be a thinker of the highest order ... so Lester took it upon himself to think of a way to assure the continued existence of the lemonade stand ... consequently he settled on the idea of going before town council to request a huge monetary bailout ... he would simply explain how important it was to the town's continued economic vitality that DooLittle Lemonade Inc. not be allowed to go out of business ... after all, DooLittle Lemonade Inc. was just too big to fail!

On the day council members had gathered to hear the DooLittle's urgent appeal ... Lester combed his hair, donned his best Sunday-go-to-meetin' suit, climbed on his shiny, new Schwinn bike and headed across town to council chambers ... to his surprise as he wound his way through the tree-lined streets he saw numerous other lemonade stands with folks waiting in long lines to purchase tall glassfuls of his competitors' lemonade ... sounds of laughter, children playing and birds singing filled the balmy, summer air ... life seemed good ... but how dare they buy lemonade from anyone other than a DooLittle?? ... eventually Lester arrived at town hall just as his turn came to present his petition before the usually accommodating council members ... he nervously rose to his feet, gathered his composure then sheepishly proceeded to explain how that folks were no longer buying DooLittle lemonade at an economically sustainable level ... how that the town's economy would likely not survive if the DooLittle lemonade stand ceased to exist ... and how that the Doolittle lemonade stand would most definitely go out of business unless an enormous bailout was awarded on behalf of the town and it's taxpayers ... finally, Lester surmised that if DooLittle Lemonade Inc. were allowed to go out of business that certain doom and everlasting destruction lurked just around the corner for all of civilized humanity ... after all, DooLittle Lemonade Inc. was just too big to fail!

Senior councilman Hunnicutt cleared his throat, raised a bushy eyebrow and began to speak ... "Mister DooLittle sir, your family has been operating an extremely lucrative and successful lemonade stand around these parts for as long as I am able to reasonably remember ... and the DooLittles have made a Brobdingnagian amount of money at immense profit margins ... however the keys to your prosperity hasn't always fit in the tumblers of honorable business practices ... the DooLittle's began using bad lemons and cheap corn syrup when making their lemonade, while your competitors use only the finest lemons and pure cane sugar as their ingredients ... the DooLittles now serve their lemonade in small Dixie cups with little ice if any, as other stands offer tall glasses with plenty of ice, and even a straw upon request ... the DooLittles are no longer reliable, only opening their stand when convenient to the DooLittles, other stands are open on a regular basis ... furthermore your competitors' lemonade stands regularly reinvest the majority of their profits back into their businesses, the DooLittles seldom reinvest as much as a nickel of their vast profits back into DooLittle Lemonade Inc. for the exclusive purpose of improving or maintaining their lemonade stand, rather they spend huge sums of cash to take extravagant vacations and purchase luxury rental properties, fast cars, boats, spiffy clothes and shiny, new Schwinn bicycles! ... last, but not least, the DooLittles are currently charging a whole dollar for a small cupful of that lukewarm swill they dare to call lemonade, while none of your competitors are charging more than a quarter for a tall, refreshing, icy glassful of superior quality citrus beverage ... the DooLittles can only blame the DooLittles for this precarious and long foreseen conundrum ... it would be neither fair to your competitors nor prudent for the taxpayers of this tiny hamlet to subsidize the continued profligate and reckless existence of DooLittle Lemonade Inc. ... this council's answer to your absurd request sir is emphatically NO!"

A dejected Lester DooLittle slowly ambled out the door now stricken by an onslaught of full-blown bailout blues ... his head hung in defeat bearing the stark realization that DooLittle Lemonade Inc. wasn't too big to fail after all ... the DooLittles had known for quite some time that their lemonade was deficient in quality and excessive in price, but they had never been genuinely concerned with the concept of customer satisfaction and had done nothing to insure it ... the DooLittles had only been interested in making a quick and easy dollar ... eventually Lester was able to obtain gainful employment selling lemonade for one of his previous competitors ... lemonade stands were flourishing all around town ... the town's economy had not collapsed under the weight of the loss of DooLittle Lemonade Inc. ... sounds of laughter could be heard ... children were playing in the streets ... and birds were singing in the balmy, summer air ... life was good!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cattail Cheese ...

There was a time not long ago that I was required to travel about in some of the more definitively rural areas of the country ... seldom did I run across conventional eating establishments, well-known franchised convenience marts or self-serve gas stations ... on the contrary there were a smattering of small country stores here and there along the highways and back roads of which I often frequented ... surprisingly some offered delicious homemade snacks such as pepperoni rolls, barbecued chicken, fried bologna sandwiches, cakes, pies and other treats ... my favorite was pork tenderloin biscuits consisting of tender, thick, baked pork tenderloin nestled inside of a fresh, hot, homemade buttermilk biscuit all of which would melt right in your mouth without even chewing it ... I never drove past that place without stopping for two or three of those heavenly delicacies ...

One place in particular sticks in my memory like cockleburrs to a woolen sweater ... a small country store which sat along the way constructed of weathered barn boards and a tar paper roof with a single gas pump sitting at the far corner ... it's proprietor was a sweet, elderly lady everybody around those parts simply called 'Mz Mabel' ... Mz Mabel had operated the tiny market all alone since the untimely death of her husband thirty-five years prior and still permitted several of the more trustworthy local folk to run a monthly line of credit for any goods purchased ... I would often stop at Mz Mabel's for a snack and cold drink as it was the last chance to do so for the next forty miles ... usually I grabbed a small bag of chips, a cold RC Cola and a chunk of longhorn cheese to munch on as I made my way back home ... Mz Mabel always kept several pieces of cheese wrapped in plastic wrap and sold by weight in a huge glass-topped cooler along with a few other perishable items such as milk, butter, eggs and cold cuts ... but that day there was no sliced cheese in the cooler, so the extremely kind Mz Mabel offered to go cut me a wedge from the 'big round' ... "how big a piece do you want young feller?" she enquired as she made her way to the far end of the long wooden counter ... "oh 'bout a quarter pound I suppose" I replied ... about that time I heard the ol' lady sternly demand "git down off a there Tommy, 'till I git this feller's cheese" ... I glanced just in time to see a huge tabby cat scurrying from off the top of an uncovered round of longhorn cheese, it had been sitting there the entire time ... Mz Mabel retrieved my slice of cheese, weighed it, carefully wrapped it in plastic, walked back to the cash register, placed it with my other items then said "will that be all?" just as that cat jumped back up onto that round of longhorn cheese and assumed it's previous sitting position ... "how long has the cat been sitting on the cheese?" I politely asked ... "oh, fer as long as I've had him, 'bout six years now I reckon, he likes to sit up there and watch fer mice ... and it keeps the blowflies off the cheese!" ...

I've never really had a taste for longhorn cheese since that incident ... and often wonder just how many chunks of 'cattail cheese' I may have consumed over the years ...


Friday, June 18, 2010

Honoring The Honorable On Father's Day ...

I'll begin with a somewhat amusing story I heard somewhere long ago, it's an old one and it isn't mine, but with a bit of embellishment and rephrasing I will attempt to share it with you here ... a farmer was traveling along a country road on his way home when he came upon a huge hay wagon that had overturned and was now lying on it's side ... two young fellows were frantically trying to upright the wagon back onto it's wheels using only pitchforks and shovel handles as the triple-digit heat of the afternoon sun nearly roasted them to the bone ... it so happens that those two young fellows were none other than Lamar Beefeater and Luther DooLittle ... the farmer seeing their obviously futile efforts stopped to enquire if he might render some assistance ... "What happened boys? ... can I lend you a hand?" the helpful farmer asked ... Luther DooLittle, his clothes soaked with sweat, his throat parched from thirst hoarsely replied "sir, I layed 'er over so a tractor could pass by comin' from the opposite direction, must have dropped 'er wheels into a rut or groundhog hole and tipped er' over on 'er side ... then the mule broke loose and run off ... there she lays ... and if we don't get 'er flipped back upright real soon my daddy's gonna be awful mad" ... the kind farmer thought about it for a moment and taking into consideration the boys failed attempts at getting that wagon back on it's wheels in the searing heat of the hot afternoon sun he said "well fellers, why don't you ride on up to the house with me, have some cold drinks, eat some supper and rest for a while until the beaming sun dies down a bit? ... then I'll come back down here with my tractor and help you fellers upright that wagon ... by that time your mule will probably have come back and will be waiting on you" ... Luther said "I don't know, my daddy's gonna be awful mad" ... at which the farmer assured Luther that he knew his daddy well, and insisted that everything would be just fine if the boys took a break ... so Luther and Lamar gladly went along with the farmer ... now about five hours later, Lamar and Luther now all rested up and refreshed were just finishing up a delicious supper prepared by the farmer's wife when Luther reminded the farmer that they really should get back and upright that overturned wagon as soon as possible 'cause "daddy's gonna be awful mad" ... the farmer gulped down the last of his fresh buttermilk, wiped his chin with his kerchief and asked "by the way Luther, where is your daddy today anyhow?" ... with a hint of bewilderment Luther DooLittle looked that ol' farmer right in the eyes then sheepishly replied "underneath that hay wagon!"

Now on a more serious note ... nearly a century ago amid the Big Bend hills of Washington, darkness was settling over a lonely farmhouse ... a weary father sat at the kitchen table, his head bowed in sorrow as about him huddled his sobbing children ... outside the howling March winds splayed eerie streaks of powdered snow across the icy window panes ... suddenly the youngest tore himself from his father's grip and darted into the stormy night calling for his dear mother ... but the only sounds piercing the darkness were doleful moans from the maddened tempest, and that of a piteous child's broken heart ... the father hastily gathered the little boy back into the safety of his arms, and for more than the two decades William Jackson Smart, alone, kept tireless vigilance over his motherless children ... this poignant experience in the life of Mrs. John Bruce Dodd of Spokane, Washington, who was then Sonora Louise Smart, was the inspiration for Father's Day which materialized through the devotion of this father, and the father of her own son, John Bruce Jr., born in 1909 ... through the observance of the love and the sacrifice of fathers everywhere, her idea of Father's Day emerged in 1910, through a formal Father's Day petition asking for recognition of fatherhood.

Sunday is Father's Day ... if you love and appreciate your father, then by all means let him know just that this Father's Day no matter how elaborate or simple the gesture ... it will mean more to him than you could imagine ... I never had the privilege of getting to know my 'real' dad, and it seems he had little interest in knowing me ... however, my great grandfather took it upon himself to stand in as my father ... and although he passed away when I was but five years of age, he demonstrated to me all the attributes of what a genuine father--and a man--should be during those five short years ... I often think of my grandfather ... the positive influence he had on my life continues unto this very day ... he and my grandmother took me in as a child, they had little money or worldly goods, but they both had a wealth of love to give ... they certainly were pleased to share that love with me ... I love you Grandad! ... Happy Father's Day! ...

"Walking With Grandpa"

"I like to walk with Grandpa,  
his steps are short like mine.  
He doesn't say, "Now hurry up!"  
He always takes his time.  
I like to walk with Grandpa,  
his eyes see things like mine;
a birdie bright, a funny cloud,  
a penny that really shines.  
Most people are in a hurry,
they do not step and see;  
I'm glad God made Grandpa patient,
and almost as young as me."

Poem by Rodney O. Hurd
Portrait by Lauritz Andersen Ring


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Can You Dig It? ...

I happened to run into my old friend Lamar Beefeater the other day at the flea market, he was over there scouting around for old farm implements which he collects then places in his backyard as antiques ... town officials where Lamar lives tried to force Lamar to put up a high fence all along the front of his house to block the public's view because they considered those antiques as the beginnings of a junkyard ... well, Lamar acquiesced to move all his priceless pieces of antiquity to his backyard so as to squelch potential hard feelings with the public, but more importantly to keep from putting up that expensive high fence ... the town did give in just a bit and permitted Lamar to leave just one object out front if he promised to keep the grass from growing up all around it, which he gladly did ... that one object happened to be Grandpa DooLittle's old plow ... so since I had recently shared the story, I figured I would ask Lamar if he remembered Grandpa DooLittle's acquisition of the Shakespearian mule ... now for those of you who may not have read my earlier post entitled "Shakespearian Mule," the story touched on an often stubborn mule that would only obey human commands after having a bit of William Shakespeare read to him in a calm and soothing manner ... Lamar Beefeater burst into a sidesplitting belly laugh until he was nearly out of breath and had to go sit down on the front wheel of some feller's John Deere tractor until he regained some measure of composure ... I looked down at Lamar who was almost convulsing and told him that it was sort of a humorous story--but not that danged funny! ... Lamar looked up at me as each breath he took in flooded more color back into his ashen face ... finally when Lamar was able to speak again he let me know in no uncertain terms that it was not my story that had brought about his sudden burst of cachinnation ... then he told the following tale ...

To the best of Lamar's recollection, early one spring morning Grandpa DooLittle had summoned Lamar and his close cohort Luther DooLittle over to his place for the purpose of hiring the boys to do a bit of manual labor ... in dire need of ready cash for the many upcoming summer activities the boys anxiously rushed right over unaware of what the nature of their work might entail, but willing to do almost anything to earn some money ... upon their arrival Grandpa informed the pair that he needed them to retrieve picks, shovels and buckets from the toolshed then proceed to the furthermost corner of the lower field near the riverbank where the soil was less stony and dig a pit large enough for that Shakespearian mule ... the boys looked at each other as sadness crept over their puerile faces at the thought of the demise of the old mule ... Grandpa DooLittle appeared to be overwrought too, and as a lone tear trickled down his whiskered cheek he demanded "hurry along now fellers, time's a wastin'" ...

Lamar and Luther gathered the required tools and headed toward the lower pasture bemoaning the death of the grand beast all along the way ... they dove into the task at hand with mixed feelings ... on the one hand they were certainly grief stricken at the thought of that dead mule ... on the other hand they were glad to be earning some money ... the boys worked all through the day in the beaming heat of the sun and finally flung the last shovelful of dirt from the now enormous hole ... now where was that poor dead creature and how in the world would they get him moved into that grave? ... about that time Grandpa DooLittle showed up to inspect the boy's work ... "good work fellers, that there hole is deep and wide, it ought to do just fine" ... elated at Grandpa's satisfaction with their efforts, they then enquired as to where the Shakespearian mule's carcass was located and how they were going to get nearly fifteen hundred pounds of dead weight moved from wherever it was and into that big hole? ... somewhat bemused at the question Grandpa DooLittle looked at the boys and replied "well fellers, if I can manage to coax that stubborn critter out from under the shade tree and down to the edge of this hole with a bucketful of fresh carrots and sweet feed ... and somehow convince him that his book on William Shakespeare is lying at the bottom of the hole ... and if you fellers will shove on his hindquarters at the same time he hangs his head to look fer his book ... I think he'll drop straight in as soon as this here gun goes off!" ...

Not to worry, the Shakespearian mule went on to live out his full natural life ... you see he was spared when Lamar and Luther talked Grandpa DooLittle into giving them the old mule as payment for digging that pit ... Grandpa tossed in the book on William Shakespeare in the deal too ... Lamar and Luther spent that entire summer reading it ... to that Shakespearian mule!


Monday, June 7, 2010

No Hard Feelings ...

Now that I seem to have amassed a whole passel of you ladies who read my posts, I'll recount a short story possibly to your liking ... as I've touched on many times, lifelong friends Lamar Beefeater and Luther DooLittle have provided an excess of ludicrous folly over the years as far as amusing and calamitous tarradiddles are concerned ... such is the following condensed tale ... Luther DooLittle had a cousin about two years his elder who's name was Clodine, a girl ... Clodine DooLittle lived with her mother and father in the next county over ... the only time Luther saw his girl cousin Clodine was at the DooLittle reunion held each year at Grandpa and Grandma DooLittle's place ... now that reunion was usually a joyous and fun occasion for all concerned, all except for Luther DooLittle, who had been fraught with increasing apprehension each day as the get together approached ... you see, the previous year Luther had picked a fight with his cousin Clodine by yanking on her ponytail ... Clodine whirled around and shoved Luther ... Luther shoved back ... Clodine took a prizefighter's stance then delivered three swift lefts and a brutal right ... Luther found himself sitting on the ground staring down at his tooth lying in the dirt in front of him ... Clodine peered down at Luther with a bit of a smirk and said "no hard feelings" then smugly walked away ... the gravely embarrassed Luther vowed that he would get back at her when the next annual DooLittle reunion rolled around ... my how time flies ... the yearly homecoming was the very next day.

As I said, Luther had been gravely embarrassed since getting his clock cleaned by a girl and had been bragging and boasting to all his friends about how he was going to get back at his cousin Clodine ... his best pal Lamar Beefeater asked Luther if he was going to fistfight with Clodine again ... Luther assured Lamar that pugilism with a girl wouldn't be quite the honorable nor gentlemanly thing to do, although for reasons which had nothing to do with his respect for womenfolk ... no Luther DooLittle was simply scared to death of Clodine as far as further fisticuffs were concerned and everybody knew it ... but Luther had a plan up his sleeve ... well it was more than a plan, the next day right before the family shindig Luther stuffed a big, ugly warty toad beneath his shirt and began searching for his cousin Clodine ... he found her sitting under a shade tree sipping apple cider with his friend Lamar Beefeater ... perfect situation ... Lamar would be a credible witness as he scared the life out of her with that warty toad right there in front of the entire DooLittle clan.

As Luther cautiously sauntered up to Clodine she quickly rose to her feet not knowing what he might be up to, but more than ready and willing to oblige him if he desired to take up where they had left off the year before ... Luther quickly reassured Clodine that he meant her no harm and that "no hard feelings" lingered from their previous encounter ... then as a gesture of peace and sincerity Luther offered to permit Clodine to embrace his pet toad, which he placed directly in her hands before she had a chance to refuse, fully expecting the young girl to scream and run away in terror ... instead Clodine replied "oh how cute!" as she lifted the homely creature up to her mouth and kissed it right on the lips ... at this point Luther was more than a tad bit befuddled at what he had just seen, Clodine wasn't afraid of that nasty ol' toad in the least ... Clodine then explained how she had never been really that mad at Luther and that he had always been her favorite cousin ... as a show of good faith she offered to let Luther handle her beloved pet too, at which she retrieved a gigantic, hairy tarantula she had affectionately named 'George' from her apron pocket, and before Luther had a chance to refuse she placed the big genus Lycosa right on his chest as it immediately began to crawl toward his throat ... every living soul in DooLittle Hollar heard the screams and saw George fly about twenty feet straight up in the air then come back down and land right back in Clodine DooLittle's apron pocket as Luther DooLittle ran down the lane like a scalded prairie chicken toward the gate ... Clodine exclaimed "no hard feelings" as Luther's fleeting strides hit the gravel road leading out of the hollar and his frantic screams eventually faded out of earshot ... and like they say, there's always next year!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ain't No Sunshine Today ...

I've been sitting here this evening trying to think of some humorous story or anecdote to post here on the blog ... something to make you laugh one more time ... it's not easy sometimes, especially with all the pain and heartache inflicted on the helpless and innocent every day all across this country, particularly on the children ... I was having some difficulty coming up with a new yarn, but ol' Virgil Hunnicutt, the DooLittles and the Beefeaters have all been quite well-behaved as of late, so there wasn't much to pull from ... then I heard the following news report ... I'll share it with you, but be forewarned, I'm all out of humour now ...

The report was about an event which occurred nearly a year ago in Texas, the awful details were just recently made public ... seems a Texas woman called a 911 dispatcher telling her that she had just murdered her children at an abandoned farmhouse ... two daughters ... 12-year-old Kelsey Leanne and 13-year-old Kiersten Leigh ... the woman can be heard on a 911 dispatch tape imploring the operator to speed an ambulance to the abandoned house in Hill County where she used a knife in an attack that left her younger daughter dead and her older daughter badly wounded ... "I just killed my children," she told the dispatcher ... then she said, "one of them is still alive, hurry" ... "get an ambulance out here to save the one that didn't die," she said ... "come on, hurry up" ... then she cursed at the dispatcher.

Law enforcement officers found 12-year-old Kelsey Leanne dead inside the house and13-year-old Kiersten Leigh critically injured in a bedroom ... their mother was standing in a garage with her hands raised ... authorities said Kiersten had a stab wound in her back and evidently tried to protect her younger sister during the attack ... the woman had cut the 13-year-old's throat with a knife, who immediately ran to her 12-year-old sister in an attempt to protect her by covering her with her own body ... however, her mother chased her down and stabbed her repeatedly in the back, and was then able to also slice her 12-year-old daughter Kelsey Leanne's throat causing her to bleed to death within minutes ... as bad as this description of the event is, the part that broke my heart and my spirit was the haunting, piteous sound of 13-year-old Kiersten Leigh's weak voice, which could be heard in the background of the 911 tape, as she begged her murderous mother to tell the dispatcher to have those responding to help her to please hurry!

I'm neither going to play the recording of the 911 tape nor mention this coldhearted woman's name here on my blog out of respect for those children ... she pleaded guilty last week in Hillsboro, Texas to capital murder and attempted capital murder and will likely spend the rest of her life in prison ... but hell awaits people like her ... what's wrong with people who take it upon themselves to cause such pain and suffering on others? ... can you imagine the indescribable pain and suffering those two little girls endured? ... can you imagine the horror and sense of betrayal experienced by those little girls at the realization that this pain and suffering was brought upon them by their own mother, the one person in the whole world they should have been able to trust more than anyone else? ... I just don't understand, I have no words for it ... I realize that many of you enjoy and look forward to reading my posts here on TheSouthernJackAss ... I enjoy writing them ... but sometimes it's hard to find even a sliver of light in all the darkness ... sometimes the tears of a clown are for real ... this is one of those times ... I'm sorry, but I just had to share some of those tears ... I hope I'll have something to brighten your day or bring a smile next time ... there just ain't no sunshine today ...

A Child's Hymn by Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Hear my prayer, O Heavenly Father,
Ere I lay me down to sleep;

Bid Thy angels, pure and holy,
Round my bed their vigil keep.

My sins are heavy, but Thy mercy
Far outweighs them, every one;
Down before Thy cross I cast them,
Trusting in Thy help alone.

Keep me through this night of peril
Underneath its boundless shade;
Take me to Thy rest, I pray Thee,
When my pilgrimage is made.

None shall measure out Thy patience
By the span of human thought;
None shall bound the tender mercies
Which Thy Holy Son has bought.

Pardon all my past transgressions,
Give me strength for days to come;
Guide and guard me with Thy blessing
'Till Thy angels bid me home.