Thursday, September 30, 2010

Brain Over Brawn ...

It seldom occurs, but a new family by the name of MayWeather moved into town from the big city ... now the MayWeather's had two children ... Millie and Billie Ray MayWeather ... Billie Ray was the younger of the two, but watched over and protected his older sister Millie like a mother hen guarding her chicks ... Millie was a real looker too, the daintiest and prettiest young lady ever to grace those parts for as long as anybody could remember ... well it didn't take Lester DooLittle long to notice Millie MayWeather, and he was right away smitten by her ravishing beauty ... Lester thought Millie MayWeather was better looking than a speckled bluetick pup curled up in a basketful of fresh-cut wildflower blooms! ... Lester at once settled on the conclusion that one way or another he would soon be Millie's beau ... so he stopped by the General Store and purchased a dozen red, plastic roses and a brown, paper poke crammed full of hard, penny candy then headed across town to call on Millie MayWeather ... unfortunately the overly-protective Billie Ray MayWeather had somehow already gotten wind of Lester DooLittle's intentions on pursuing his sister, thus consequently deciding to abruptly nip any potential love affair in the bud right from the get-go ... Billie Ray could hardly wait to lay his hands, and fists on this Lester DooLittle feller ... and just as Millie was now the most beauteous girl in town, Billie Ray was most likely now the roughest and toughest feller for miles around, his reputation proceeding him for quickly settling all disputes with a dose of lightning-fast, hard-knuckled pugilism.

Well Lester DooLittle walked across town, located the MayWeather residence and nervously strolled right up on the front porch, yanked up his baggy britches, brushed back his stringy hair, concealed the candy and flowers behind his back with one hand, hesitated for a moment then soundly rapped on the door with the other fully expecting to be pleasantly greeted by the lovely Miss Millie MayWeather herself ... instead the squeaky-hinged door slowly opened to reveal an extremely hostile and physically domineering looking young bruiser "who are you, and what do you want?" he demanded ... before Lester was able to offer an answer the angry lad continued "if you're that no-good-fer-nuthin' Lester DooLittle what has designs on my sister, then you better go crawl back under whichever rock you came out from ... don't ever come back here again ... and you better never go nowhere near my sister Millie neither ... else I'll give you a whoopin' you'll not soon forget!" then slammed the door shut in Lester's face.

As Lester plodded back toward home thinking things couldn't get much worse--they did ... there stood Bertram and Bernard Sedgewick ... Butch & Barry as most folks called them ... the resident, town bullies ... and quite possibly the only other fellers singly as proficient with fisticuffs as this Billie Ray MayWeather was said to be, but when together the Sedgewicks were without a doubt a mordacious force to be reckoned with  ... "who are you, and what's in that poke?" insisted Butch Sedgewick ... "why I'm Lester DooLittle ... and this here is a bagful of hard, penny candy for my new sweetheart" replied Lester ... "are you any kin to that lily-livered Luther DooLittle what's friends with that yellow-bellied Lamar Beefeater?" quizzed Barry Sedgewick, as he recalled previous run ins with both Luther and Lamar ... why yes, Luther's my first cousin and Lamar's my friend too" declared Lester ... a hateful smirk crept across both of the Sedgewick brother's lips as they figured Lester DooLittle to likely be a weak-kneed pushover just like his cousin Luther ... bearing in mind that they were handed a sackful of furious white-faced hornets during their last encounter with Luther and Lamar, Barry Sedgewick wisely compelled Lester himself to empty out the contents of the brown, paper sack right there on the pavement before making him run away ... Lester obediently dumped the bagful of hard, penny candy out on the street so Barry could inspect its contents ... satisfied that nothing harmful lurked within the bag, Butch Sedgewick then demanded that Lester to pick it all back up and hand it over, to which Lester obediently complied ... now certain that Lester DooLittle was cut from the same cowardly material as Luther and Lamar, Butch informed Lester that if they ever caught him in their part of town again he better have another poke of candy ... or something else of equal value ... in order to "pay" for his future safe passage ... else take a whoopin' like he's never experienced before!

Lester DooLittle's conundrum had just intensified threefold, he had three seemingly immovable obstacles, Billie Ray MayWeather and Butch & Barry Sedgewick now standing betwixt he and the splendiferous Millie MayWeather, whom he had yet to meet in person ... but Lester hadn't fallen off the turnip wagon just last night ... he'd been cogitatin' real hard on this problem, and just may have come up with a way to kill three birds with one stone so to speak ... the next day Lester collected his vinyl bouquet, returned to the General Store and bought another brown, paper bag filled to the top with hard, penny candy then headed back across town toward Miss Millie's house anxious to put his plan in motion ... as soon as he started up the street leading to the MayWeather house, there stood Butch & Barry Sedgewick blocking his way "hand over that bag, then run ... or take a whoopin'!" insisted Butch Sedgewick ... "I ain't gonna do it boys" proclaimed Lester "I reckon we'll just have to fight!" he firmly added ... taken aback by Lester's sudden burst of intestinal fortitude the Sedgewick boys took a couple of steps back ... "are  you ... uh ... are you sure 'bout that?" asked a bewildered Barry Sedgewick ... "I sure am ... if you boys ain't chicken, meet me right next to that crabapple tree there in the back alley along about midnight ... I'll give out a loud hootie-hoo so you'll know it's me ... then come out a swingin' ... if you ain't scared" replied Lester as the now flummoxed Sedgewick boys stood there mouths agape watching him strut away.

Minutes later Lester knocked brusquely on the MayWeather's door and as expected was again met by a seething Billie Ray "I thought I told you not to come 'round here no more ... now I'm gonna have to beat you senseless Lester DooLittle ... bet that won't take long huh?!" he proclaimed  ... "you hold on just a minute now, I'll fight you for sure, but it ought to be on my own terms" exclaimed Lester ... "what terms is that?" demanded Billie Ray ... "well if you ain't chicken, meet me right next to that crabapple tree in the back alley along about midnight ... give out a loud hootie-hoo so I'll know it's you  ... then come out a swingin' if you ain't scared" offered Lester as Billie Ray stood there watching Lester confidently walk away ... the trap was set ... well, that night the old town clock had just about finished its midnight knell as the Sedgewick boys uneasily couched in the alleyway lying in wait for Lester DooLittle to arrive and signal with his loud "hootie-hoo" ... there were no lights of any sort, the pitch-black darkness making it all but impossible to see anything other than one's silhouette moving about ... about that time Billie Ray entered the alley making his way toward the crabapple bush in search of Lester DooLittle ... as he approached the gnarled crabapple tree he gave out a thunderously hearty "hootie-hoo" ... fists straightaway commenced to flying from every direction as the Sedgewick brothers engaged in mortal combat with alleged ruffian Billie Ray MayWeather, all three combatants trading punches under the mistaken assumption that it was Lester DooLittle they were tussling with ... as the battle heated up the Sedgewick brothers got the upper hand over Billie Ray and were soon beating him to within an inch of his life ... the Sedgewicks continued to thump on Billie Ray 'till they simply exhausted themselves then finally walked away leaving him lying there in a wretched clump ... Lester DooLittle had watched the entire slugfest from the relative safety of a crooked limb atop that crabapple tree.

The next day, unsure of what fate might have in store for him, Lester DooLittle again headed across town toward the MayWeather house, plastic flowers and penny candy in hand ... as he neared the street where Millie  lived there stood the Sedgewick brothers, their knobby knuckles busted and swollen, who after gaining their respect surprisingly threw up their hands and waved as Lester passed by ... I reckon they figured anybody that could take a beatin' such as what they had put on who they assumed was Lester the night before, without leaving any visible signs of that beatin', had earned the right to walk the streets on their side of town without further attack ... Lester continued on up the street with a sudden albeit unfamiliar air of self-confidence directly to the MayWeather's front door and boldly knocked  ... eventually the squeaky-hinged door slowly opened to reveal a severely battered Billie Ray MayWeather ... leaning on a homemade crutch and with one arm in a sling ... upper lip busted, lower lip fat, right eye nearly swollen shut ... gashes and scrapes all over his head and face ... black and blue wherever bare skin was exposed ... one front tooth completely missing ... Billie Ray stared intently at Lester DooLittle for a few tense seconds then painfully leaned toward the staircase and announced "Millie ... you're new boyfriend's here!!"

A few days passed and Billie Ray MayWeather had spread the word all over town "don't mess with that Lester DooLittle ... he'll put the fists to you so hard and fast ... you'll think you're a fightin' with two fellers instead of one!"


Monday, September 27, 2010

Ain't No Fightin' Rooster! ...

One of life's simplest pleasures for Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt was eating fresh, farm eggs for breakfast each morning, preferably fresh, brown, farm eggs ... he usually had at least two of the scrumptious things fried "sunny side up" along with a glassful of fresh squeezed orange juice, sausage, ham or bacon, gravy, grits or hash browns, toast or biscuits with butter and jam, and at least two cupfuls of hot, black coffee--but most of all he loved to eat those eggs ... as Virgil got older, and older and eventually even older, it became quite evident that it was just too much of a chore for the ravenous, nearly deaf and blind centenarian to walk all the way into town each morning just to have breakfast at the Corner Cafe, especially in bad weather ... so Uncle Virgil decided to acquire a few prime laying hens and an adequate rooster from Grandpa DooLittle, then keep the prized flock in an old shed located right behind his house which he had converted into a makeshift chicken coop ... that way he could have fresh eggs "on demand" right outside his door anytime he got a hankerin' ... besides, Virgil was a danged good cook, and didn't at all mind preparing his own food, which he by far preferred over the fare offered at the diner ... so Uncle Virgil got about half a dozen or so of the finest Rhode Island Red laying hens along with an energetic, brightly colored, black and auburn Welsummer rooster ... and forthwith began gathering fresh, brown eggs at home every morning.

Now this particular rooster didn't resemble most other run-of-the-mill, henhouse roosters around those parts, daily strutting around the yard like he owned the place ... this rooster was leaner, meaner and more athletically put together, like one of those fightin' roosters sporting an extremely proud and aggressive demeanor, yet Grandpa DooLittle had assured Uncle Virgil of the fact that "he sure ain't no fightin' rooster" ... but no mortal human being other than Uncle Virgil could get anywhere within forty feet of this pugnacious bird without chancing an immediate, wanton and severe flogging, it's razor-sharp spurs capable of slicing one to the bone, and Virgil would often feed the obstreperous fowl cracked corn right out of his bare hand treating it as if it were a pet ... unfortunately word spread about the dangerous critter that Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt had been keeping in his backyard.

So when Uncle Virgil summoned Lester DooLittle to come over and build a modern and proper hencoop--his request was met with more than a bit of trepidation on Lester's part--"ain't no way I'm a comin' over there with that there killer beast a runnin' loose!" he adamantly declared ... well Virgil assured Lester that he would straightaway put the rooster in a secure location so he could safely come over and begin construction ... confident that Uncle Virgil would do exactly as he had said, Lester gathered his carpenterin' tools and headed over to Virgil's place ... in the meantime Uncle Virgil had chased that rooster all around the yard trying to catch him, but couldn't even get within arm's reach of the agile, quick-witted cackler ... so when it finally ran through the open door of an abandoned panel truck hidden behind some bushes near the fence, Virgil quickly slammed that door shut thus entrapping the speedy and elusive bird inside, at least Lester DooLittle should now remain unscathed when he entered the property ... no sooner had Virgil walked out of sight than Lester pulled up in front of the gate ... the wide-eyed boy slowly slid out of the still running truck and began nervously looking all around for any sign of Virgil's rooster ... seeing no rooster and satisfied that he was in no eminent danger, Lester shut off the truck's engine, grabbed his tool belt, entered the gate and began gingerly walking toward Uncle Virgil who was now standing near the spot where he wanted the new henhouse to be  built ... Lester had made it about half way between the front gate and Virgil's front porch when he heard the loudest, most frightening and furiously angry sound seemingly right next to him that he had ever heard in his entire wretched life sending icy shivers straight up his back "kukukukukukuk cock-a-doodle-doo! ... kukukukukukukuk cock-a-doodle-dooooooooooo!!" ... Lester was certain that ol' rooster was comin' for him and frantically cried out "you was supposed to put that rooster someplace where it couldn't hurt nobody old man!" ... Lester DooLittle was so scared he didn't know whether to run like a scalded jackrabbit or just fall over stone-cold dead right there on the spot, but his feet had already made the executive decision to run to the nearest haven of safety--that junked panel truck sitting right there smack dab in the middle of those bushes ... as Lester jerked open the door, dived into the back of that rusty junker and slammed the door shut behind him, amidst his own screams of agony he thought he could hear Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt's reply "I did put him where he couldn't get to you Lester ... he's inside that old panel truck there in the bushes!"

Notice: No poultry of any sort were harmed during the writing of this story ... can't say the same for Lester DooLittle!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Snakes Alive! ...

Now Aunt Birdie Mae Poteet and the Widow VanMeter are the closest of friends ... and conveniently reside right next to each other in a well-maintained duplex at the edge of town ... well the other day Aunt Birdie Mae Poteet was sitting in her den all snuggled up in her overstuffed easy chair while doing some knitting ... all of a sudden she heard the awfullest screams accompanied by long doleful wails emanating from what she thought to be her neighbor the Widow VanMeter's next door apartment ... concerned with her friend's safety and well-being Birdie Mae placed an urgent 911 call and summoned a rapid response from Sheriff Clarence A. VanMeter and his Deputy Cletus A. VanMeter, who is also Clarence's first cousin ... upon their arrival, amidst desperate,  earsplitting  shrieks and howls, they discovered the Widow's door to be either locked or jammed from the inside ... believing his dear mama to be in immediate peril, Sheriff Clarence drove his V-8 police car up the cobble walkway and onto the front porch, its huge, chrome bumper ramming the door so hard that it took it right off its hinges and sent it tumbling all the way into his mama's kitchen ... as Sheriff Clarence and his loyal Deputy Cletus bravely rushed inside with guns drawn there stood the Widow VanMeter hysterically screaming at the top of her lungs while pointing in the direction of her new, Maytag automatic clothes washing machine and dryer ... both lawmen simultaneously converged on the spot where the Widow was pointing only to discover a six-foot-long ... and somewhat shriveled ... recently shed, snake skin wedged in between the shiny appliances.

Deputy Cletus gingerly retrieved the fragile, paper thin, reptilian hide and straightaway disposed of the awful thing in a garbage receptacle located outdoors as Sheriff Clarence tried to quiet and calm his mama's shattered nerves ... after several minutes of intense quietin' and calmin' efforts the Widow VanMeter was finally composed enough to listen to her learned son's logical explanation as to why and how that despicable snake skin had ended up stuck between her washer and dryer ... most likely slithering into the laundry room from outside by way of a wide gap between the floor and the dryer's exhaust vent ... and that the furtive creature that had left its worn-out covering behind was probably long gone by now ... well the Widow was having none of that, and sternly demanded that Clarence and Cletus conduct a complete and thorough search of the entire premises ... even if mangy bloodhounds had to be called in ... so Sheriff Clarence and Deputy Cletus commenced to turn that place inside and out just so the Sheriff's mama could rest assured that no cold-blooded ophidian of any sort had become an unwelcome house guest ... after about two full hours of trenchant yet fruitless serpent hunting it was becoming clearly evident to all concerned that the snake that had discarded its skin in the Widow VanMeter's apartment could not be found and was no longer there ... so Clarence cursorily rehung the splintered door, lovingly hugged his mama--grateful that no harm had befallen her ... and as he and Cletus prepared to leave, all of a sudden they heard the awfullest screams accompanied by long doleful wails emanating from what they thought to be Aunt Birdie Mae Poteet's next door apartment ... "what in the world is that Sheriff?" cried Deputy Cletus ... as a wry grin crept across Sheriff Clarence's dimpled cheeks he sardonically replied "sounds like ol' Birdie Mae just found that snake!"


Friday, September 17, 2010

Men Working Ahead ...

Aunt Birdie Mae Poteet lazily arose from bed just as the early morning sun cast piercing beams of brilliant light through cracks in the antiquated Venetian blind ... songbirds cheerfully harmonized from Magnolia trees just outside her bedchamber as a pleasantly tepid breeze spilled into the room ... it was a glorious, late summer day ... a perfect day for Aunt Birdie Mae to don her best outfit, along with proper and matching shoes, bag and accessories ... and of course, one of her intricately fabricated hats ... and take a leisurely stroll into town for the explicit purpose of proudly showcasing her natural, pulchritudinous beauty ... well it took Birdie Mae the better part of the morning to attain the aforementioned level of resplendent comeliness, and now satisfied that her appearance equaled or exceeded that of royalty she set forth down the street toward town.

As Birdie proceeding along the way, her sharp, high-heeled shoes energetically striking the pavement with a clarion pop upon each footfall, she began to feel young again ... oh she knew she looked good ... real good as a matter of fact--even at her rarely heralded age ... but Birdie Mae couldn't help but wonder if she still had it ... when it came right down to it, could she still turn heads? ... could she still draw attention to herself? ... and not just from folks like Grandpa DooLittle or Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt--although it might be a telling accomplishment if one were to provoke a cursory glance from ol' Virgil now and again--considering the old man was all but blind! ... anyhow, ain't it funny how at times we often consider or envision some particular thing in our minds and it suddenly appears or becomes reality right there in front of us? ... as Birdie turned the corner there was this sign "MEN WORKING AHEAD" ... a great day was about to get better as Birdie Mae quickly retrieved a mirror from her faux, yet imported, Gucci handbag and prepared herself for the ultimate test--"construction workers!"

Now resolutely satisfied that she could look no better, Birdie Mae squared her shoulders, threw back her head and began anxiously sashaying up the street in the direction of those workers like a strutting peafowl ... a hint of sway influencing her gait ... as she neared the work site she got the sense that masculine eyes were following her like a pride of merciless lions stalking their hapless prey ... the pavement beneath her feet began to feel like she was treading on a billowy cloud at the welcome sound of thunderous catcalls and shrill whistles as she passed through a gauntlet of burly, bare-chested, musclebound young men ... ol' Birdie Mae Poteet still had it! ... she could still turn a man's head! ... just wait 'till Virgil Hunnicutt got wind of this, he just might look at her in a different light from then on ... oblivious to reality amidst her state of blissful euphoria, a construction supervisor wearing a white hardhat approached Miss Birdie Mae and politely extended a huge, calloused hand "may I help you ma'am?" ... now that Birdie had proven to herself that she was still quite the "head turner" she wanted to give the impression that she was more than taken aback and quite insulted by the mens' obnoxious behavior "yes indeed you may ... I assume from your forwardness that those men fall under your direct supervision ... that being said, I find their conduct to be atrocious, somewhat animalistic in nature and altogether indecorous, particularly in the presence of a genteel lady such as myself!" ... all work ceased as the now flummoxed men stood there staring dubiously at Aunt Birdie Mae until their supervisor at last replied "well ma'am they were only trying to warn you, nothing more ... and we'll all definitely apologize in just a moment ... but first ... may I help you out of that freshly poured, wet cement?!"


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

No Swimming! ...

One day Luther DooLittle showed up at Lamar Beefeater's house carrying a conspicuously new chainsaw ... "where'd you git that?" asked Lamar, fully aware that Luther never did have more than two cents in his pockets to rub together at any given time ... "got it over at the General Store just last night" answered Luther ... "but I thought they was closed at night" replied Lamar ... "they was closed" Luther smugly responded, then proudly added "I stole it!" ... "follow me, I want to show you something" ... anxious to get an admitted larcenist along with freshly stolen merchandise as far away from his house as he could just in case Sheriff Clarence A. VanMeter or his deputy happened to show up, Lamar complied and followed Luther as he hurried up into the woods ... the boys moved stealthily along until they got to the old, farm pond in the meadow ... "there ain't no trees to cut down here" quipped a somewhat befuddled Lamar ... "ain't gonna cut down no trees" declared Luther "but watch this!" 

Luther gave that big, heavy chainsaw a heave and flung it right out into the middle of that slimy pond ... it smacked the surface of the muddy water with a sickening splash and slowly sank out of sight as air bubbles danced up from the direction of it's descent ... "what'd you do that fer?" cried Lamar ... "you'll see, now go fetch me a stick from off a tree" demanded Luther ... Lamar was well beyond shock and awe by then, so he ran back into the woods and retrieved a three-foot-long  stick from beneath a dying sycamore tree and brought it back to Luther, who then commanded his now exasperated pal to "hurl that stick out there in the pond right where that chainsaw went in and watch what happens!"

Both boys stood there silently and watched ... one now in a state of utter confusion ... urgent expectancy all but overwhelming the other ... as the water resumed its usual motionless demeanor ... that rotting sycamore stick just floating calmly about ... Lamar broke the cold silence "well!?" ... Luther eventually returned to his senses, what little he had, and disappointedly muttered "well it weren't supposed to turn out like this ... that there chainsaw was supposed to swim back up out of that there water after you throw'd in that there stick!" ... Lamar then quizzed with genuine concern "what are you talkin' about, have you lost your mind Luther?" ... frustration shifted to embarrassment as Luther angrily declared "no I ain't lost my mind ... it's in the Bible, 2 Kings 6 I think ... this here feller borrowed another feller's axe so he could chop down a beam ... all of a sudden the axe head slipped off the handle and fell into the water ... that axe head sunk to the bottom out of sight, cause axe heads can't swim, and I reckon neither could that feller that dropped it in ... so that feller went and told another feller all about how that axe head had fell into the water ...well that other feller went and cut down a stick and throw'd it into the water right where that axe head fell in ... and right before their eyes that there lost axe head swam right back up out of that water so that feller that lost it could grab hold of it ... so why didn't the same principle work fer me?" ... at which ol' Lamar humbly concluded "well I reckon it might be because that axe head was borrowed ... not stolen!"


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shattered Illusions ...

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
Threescore men and threescore more,
Can't place Humpty Dumpty as he was before"

And such were our shattered illusions ... it's hard to believe that it's been nearly nine years since those grand symbols of international commerce and free trade came tumbling down to the ground ... I recall that sunny September morning as if it were only yesterday ... always will I reckon ... a crystal clear, blue sky ... nary a cloud  ... as I leisurely drove up that dusty, backwoods road while scanning various FM radio stations made available compliments of the high, mountain elevation ... suddenly I found myself listening to a broadcast which brought to mind that old 1938 radio spoof by Orson Wells entitled "The War Of The Worlds" by H. G. Wells which depicted a Martian attack on civilized earthlings ... except this particular morning they were describing airliners crashing into skyscrapers in New York City ... another slamming into the Pentagon ... another heading up the Potomac River toward the U.S. Capitol or possibly the White House ... other aircraft were yet to be located or accounted for, no determination had yet been made as to their intentions, and armed, fighter jets had scrambled into the crisp, autumn air ... it seemed that America was under attack ... well, I wasn't at all interested in listening to what I thought was nothing more than contrived foolishness and sensationalism, so I switched the dial to another station ... surprisingly I found more of the same ... then on to another, and again more of the same ... the drama was unfolding on every radio station, and as a chill crept up my spine, I settled on the stark realization that America actually was under attack!

I'll never be able to erase those horrendous images which were forever etched into my memory on that dreadful September day as I sat glued to the TV set immersed in a state of abstract confusion watching history unfold before me ... and during those fearful and uncertain days which followed there were no assurances that more attacks were not forthcoming ... for the first time in my life I felt that my ever invincible country was possibly incapable of protecting herself ... this blindsided attack by a seemingly unknown and insignificant group of cruel, faceless individuals had nearly brought this great nation to the brink of absolute ruin in a single day ... we were the walking wounded, in shock and stunned disbelief ... how could any human being be so obdurate and coldhearted so as to impart such pain, suffering, death and devastation on their fellow man? ... thousands of innocent, unsuspecting men, women and children who's lives either abruptly ended or were forever altered ... virtually overnight America's way of thinking about national security and her many enemies drastically changed ... no longer were our foes marching under the flag of any particular nationality ...  there were no soldiers donning uniforms with insignias and name tags openly displayed on sleeves and chests ... no marching soldiers or tanks rolling across our soil ... no ships steaming toward us from off our sovereign shores ... no bombers carrying deadly payloads in the skies above us ... no what we were/are up against is a political and religious ideology based upon hatred, who's ultimate intent and goal is to destroy any people who do not agree with nor abide by their evil and twisted philosophy ... to make matters worse, individuals who espouse ideological values such as those who carried out the atrocious acts of September 11, 2001 have no respect nor regard for human life, including their own ... a different type of war had been declared on America, and on every civilized culture in general ... America was forced to responsively transform her way of thinking, or fall.

The total number of people who died in a series of orchestrated suicide attacks committed by a Muslim terrorist organization called Al-Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden and his cohort Ayman al-Zawahiri, were at one time estimated to be 2,976, most of which were civilians ... out of those victims, 236 were foreigners, which brought the total number of American citizens who died to 2,740 ... let us never forget that fateful day when nineteen hate-filled, religious fanatics fueled by false promises and visions of grandeur hijacked four commercial, passenger jet airliners, each commandeered by a qualified pilot ... the hijackers then crashed two of those airliners into the World Trade Center's Twin Towers located in New York City, the first (United Airlines Flight 175) struck one tower and minutes later (American Airlines Flight 11) slammed into the other ... the third airliner (American Airlines Flight 77) smashed into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia ... the fourth (United Airlines Flight 93) in which the flight crew and passengers wrestled with the hijackers in an attempt to regain control of the aircraft, crashed into a field in the vicinity of the town of Shanksville, Pennsylvania ... all 246 people aboard those four doomed airliners died instantaneously ... and 2,605 men, women and children perished either in the Twin Towers or on the ground near them ... another 125 lost their lives in the Pentagon ... among the total 9/11 fatalities were--343 New York City Fire Department firefighters--23 New York City Police Department officers--and 37 NYC Port Authority Police Department officers ... an additional 24 people reportedly remained listed as missing and presumed dead ... only an estimated 18 people managed to escape in time from the South Tower before it came tumbling down ... with countless remains having never been found, the exact number of deaths associated with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have never been officially determined.

One of the darkest days in American history has came and gone ... much darker than that of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941 ... that which occurred on September 11, 2001 was wholly different, it's evil and portentous effects significantly far more widespread and all-encompassing in nature ... on 9/11/01 America stood at the threshold of utter destruction ... the obliteration of the World Trade Center involved so much more than the senseless loss of thousands of precious, innocent lives and some lofty structures, it nearly brought about the total annihilation of trade and commerce worldwide ... as with the Pentagon, within it's thick walls resides the center of command and control for the entire defense of our nation, had those walls failed we would have been rendered virtually defenseless ... more importantly, along with those toppled buildings America's longstanding illusions of safety and invincibility had also crumbled ... our weaknesses and vulnerabilities were at once layed bare for the entire world to see ... a world forever changed ... and whether misdirected or not "The War On Terror" was launched.

Now that blood-stained rubble has been removed, and toxic dust all but blown away by fleet winds of time ... as rebuilding at Ground Zero moves forward ... my hope and prayer is, may our sore wounds quickly heal and our deep scars soon fade, but let us never forget the heartbreak and emptiness every humane and civilized person felt that awful day ... may our confidence be steadfast and our resolve unwavering that America's defenses remain ever vigilant, strong and capable, but let us never forget the fear, uncertainty and sense of helplessness that permeated every fiber of our society brought about by those who envy and hate us ... may God grant each of us grace to forgive those who administered such a barbaric scourge of death and destruction upon the blameless, but let us never forget those heinous acts of savagery so that we never allow nor enable any individual or group, whether by our ignorance or indifference, to ever again cause America to experience darkness such as that of September 11, 2001  ... most importantly, may God carry us in the palm of His hand, and continue to watch over, guide and bless us as a nation founded upon His sovereign principles, and may we never deny, reject nor turn away from His eternal providence ... America had a great fall ... yes, America had a great fall ... threescore men, and threescore more ... can't place America as she was before ... such are our shattered illusions ... 

"Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred." --Psalms 25


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Take It To The Limit ...

The following is a true story ... well, mostly true anyhow ... Grandpa DooLittle loved to catch fish more than almost any other activity ... anything except for eating every unfortunate fish that he managed to entice onto the barbed tip of his rusty fishhook ... most times the elderly angler frequented places such as secluded lakes or farm ponds right near to DooLittle Hollar in relentless pursuit of the hapless yet elusive creatures ... he would bring home scads of catfish, bluegill, sunfish and an occasional striped or largemouth bass if lucky, then Grandma DooLittle would patiently and meticulously clean every one of those fish, roll them in flour or cornmeal and fry them up in butter in her huge, cast iron skillet ... Grandpa & Grandma had fish for supper just about every other day, and Grandpa kept the freezer, which sat on the back porch, overloaded with an endless supply of frozen fillets ... but Grandpa had all of a sudden developed an intense "hankerin'" for some fresh, pan-fried trout ... and in order to catch trout he would have to angle the freshwater brooks and streams where golden, brown, rainbow, brook and native trout could usually be found lurking in calm pools or eddies just below rapidly flowing water currents--and where fishing license and a trout stamp were both definitely mandatory ... now Grandpa had never been fainthearted when it came to sidestepping the law a bit now and again, particularly when it positively affected his beloved fishing endeavors, but he figured it might be better to just go ahead and purchase the required license and stamp this time ... just as a precaution ... especially considering the fact that Howard "FeatherFoot" Trotter, the local game warden, had been trying to nab Grandpa for whatever reason, any reason for that matter, for the last twenty-five years ... and although unsuccessful so far in his stalwart efforts, the crusty officer had publicly sworn to never retire until he had nabbed Grandpa DooLittle committing some illegal deed.

Now Warden Trotter loved his job about as much if not more than Grandpa DooLittle loved his fishin' ... Trotter would by no means allow the slightest opportunity to apprehend some unscrupulous game law violator to ever pass him by, even for the most minor of infractions ... his techniques were legendary around those parts ... the inexorable lawman would often spend days or even weeks at a time scouring the woods or stealthily creeping alongside various waterways in the relentless pursuit of "good fer nuthin' lawbreakers" ... donning camouflaged coveralls, Howard would sit motionless for hours perched out on a limb high up in a tree, or hidden in some dense laurel thicket or brier patch anxiously glassing the countryside with his powerful binoculars in hopes of spotting some unwary suspect ... and if you're wondering why Howard was called "FeatherFoot," folks had given him that nickname because of the enormous man's eldritch ability to sneak through the woods across sticks, twigs and dry leaves as silently as a feather floating down onto a thick bale of cotton ... those unlucky enough to have been captured red-handed by Howard Trotter amidst the throes of unlawful acts have all attested that they never heard him coming until it was too late to run and too late to hide ... "FeatherFoot" had always seemed to just supernaturally appear right before their eyes from out of nowhere.

So Grandpa DooLittle rounded up Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt and Ansel Poteet, his two favorite fishin' buddies ... they in turn collected their fishin' gear and gathered their preferred baits and fishin' lures, which respectively included nightcrawlers, mealworms, homemade spinners, hand-tied flies, minnows, cheese balls, a can of corn and Grandpa DooLittle's "secret weapon" consisting of live June bugs dipped in a mixture of lard, butter, cheese sauce and bacon grease ... then they headed to the river and dropped in their lines just as the morning sun crawled above the eastern ridgeline ... the three amigos fished with passionate fervour yet varying results until that same sun began to slowly settle behind the rolling hills to the west ... Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt had been fishing with his fly rod all day, but had caught nothing--his chances made virtually nil due to the fact that he had no fly tied to his line--and nobody had bothered to inform the nearly blind centenarian of that fact ... Ansel Poteet had fared somewhat better, he had two reasonably, good-sized brown trout hanging from his stringer ... but Grandpa DooLittle on the other hand had been yankin' 'em out of the water left and right all day long ... and with the creel limit being eight, each time Grandpa caught that number he would straightaway scurry up to his car, which was parked right next to the gravel road, and hide them ... then at once return and commence to yankin' 'em out again.

Well it was nearly dark and Grandpa had used up all the bait ... so he summoned his pals and together they headed back to the car ... and there stood Game Warden Howard "FeatherFoot" Trotter ... who had been comfortably nestled behind a rotting tree stump the entire time watching Grandpa DooLittle "yankin' 'em out of the water left and right" ... "let me see yer fishin' licenses and trout stamps fellers" he coldly demanded, to which all three fishermen promptly complied ... then "FeatherFoot" smugly enquired "how many fish did you boys land today?" ... Ansel Poteet proudly proclaimed "just two" while Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt shamefully announced "not a nary one" ... the visibly shaken and now quivering Grandpa DooLittle hesitated for a bit as "FeatherFoot" impatiently waited, his glaring eyes seemingly piercing holes in the guilty looking, old man's forehead with his icy stare ... "uh, eight I reckon" was Grandpa's reply ... "is that right? ... then why don't we just have a quick look inside of your vehicle" said "FeatherFoot" with an overly confident and knowing smirk ... there he discovered eight trout hidden beneath the car seat, eight more behind the car seat, eight more underneath the dashboard, eight more behind the spare tire, plastic bags containing eight each beneath each car fender, two stringers holding eight each under the car hood on both sides of the engine, several groups of eight each in various locations concealed beneath the car's undercarriage ... finally Warden Trotter reckoned that he had found all of the hidden fish as he turned and exclaimed "you're in serious trouble DooLittle" ... "I've gotcha now!" ... Grandpa tipped his hat, scratched his bald head and with a look of befuddlement asked "what trouble you talkin' about Mister Game Warden?" ... "FeatherFoot" could hardly prevent himself from bursting out in a hail of euphoric, belly laughter as he stoutly averred "because the creel limit is eight fish per day according to the current law ... only eight ... just eight ... you knew that didn't you DooLittle?!" ... Grandpa flung open the lid and sheepishly handed his timeworn fishing basket over to "FeatherFoot" then insisted "count 'em" ... the beaming game warden looked inside and amid a wry chuckle responded "eight" ... with a grin that would be the envy of any Cheshire cat Grandpa declared "well then what's the problem officer?!" 

The very next evening Grandpa DooLittle had his fresh, pan-fried trout fillets for supper--right there inside of his jail cell--compliments of a donation from the Department of Fish & Game's very own Senior Warden Howard "FeatherFoot" Trotter, and prepared by Sheriff Clarence A. VanMeter's fine kitchen staff--confiscated trout caught by Grandpa DooLittle--enough fish fillets to feed him and all the rest of the jail's inmates for the next thirty days and beyond ... yes, Grandpa DooLittle ended up serving the entire thirty day sentence in the county jail because Grandma DooLittle refused to go to the cookie jar this time and bail him out, certainly not for catching more fish than the law would allow, but rather for being careless enough so as to get himself caught ... needless to say, Grandpa DooLittle had his fill of fried fish--for the time being anyhow ... he also came to the definite conclusion that from thence forward ... when it comes to fishing ... he would simply take it to the limit!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mysterious Ways ...

Due to recent occurrences above and beyond my control I have become a bit lax as far as updating posts here on TheSouthernJackAss ... I suppose with such an ever increasing, steady and loyal following I should aspire to do much better ... my apologies, as summer begins to wind down I should be able to offer more frequent and interesting stories for your reading pleasure, that is my hope ... until then, here is perhaps a somewhat familiar and classic tale of which I have taken the liberty of twisting around and inserting a few local characters ... I think most of you have already read some of my posts involving Lester DooLittle, ol' Luther DooLittle's cousin ... if so, you know that Lester DooLittle was an overtly uncouth chap who always enjoyed dabbling in unsavory vices such as thievery and the consumption of all types of tobacco and alcoholic spirits ... well this particular evening Lester's gills had just about turned blue from swilling his Grandpa DooLittle's homemade wine that he'd "found" hidden behind jars of canned string beans in the old man's root cellar, and the wayward juicer's head was now spinning like freshly greased fan blades ... so Lester figured it was time for him to head home, which was located on the far side of town ... and to make this jaunt a bit more urgent it was now pitch-black dark, and drops of rain were beginning to slap the ground as lightning flashed in the distance accompanied by rumbles of rolling thunder ... Lester DooLittle had to get home and get home quick, else risk getting caught smack dab in the middle of a fierce thunder storm ... so Lester forthwith set forth out of DooLittle Hollar and toward town.

Now as was customary around those parts, folks often took a short cut through the old cemetery in order to get from one side of town or the other ... and most usually this path was taken in broad daylight, preferably while in the presence of other living human beings ... so when Lester finally made it to the edge of town he was faced with a sudden dilemma as those scattered raindrops had turned into a downright gullywasher, and those distant flashes of lightning were indiscriminatingly crashing into the ground all around him like huge, angry forks of searing, earsplitting fire and brimstone ... Lester must decide at once, proceed the long way around the cemetery through the raging storm, or take the direct route through the cemetery ... well Lester quickly determined that he was definitely more terrified of those deadly, blazing thunderbolts from the sky than he was of any ol' dead person planted 'neath the ground, so he closed his eyes and took off like a scalded hare right through the middle of that graveyard.

Lester was making real good time, his feet hitting the soggy ground as he somehow managed to blindly maneuver his wiry frame betwixt the granite head stones with the grace of a fleeting cheetah ... just as he neared the far end of the spooky boneyard, with the lights of his house glaring just ahead--ka-splash! ... Lester DooLittle landed face first into a freshly dug, empty grave which was now beginning to fill with muddy rainwater ... the horrified rummy attempted to get to his feet, but was unable due to the slick mud on the bottom and sides of the six-foot-deep hole ... now stone cold sober Lester tried and tried but was unable to get any grip whatsoever so as to pull himself from what could end up being his own tomb ... the situation had become virtually hopeless as Lester somehow rolled onto his knees and began to fervently and loudly pray to God "oh Lord just somehow, someway get me out of this terrible place ... and I'll be a good and decent feller from now on!" ... well Lester's prayin' went on for hours, long enough for the booze to wear off of Maynard Slaughter, the town's very own beloved, resident wino, who had been lying there skidded at the other end of that grave unbeknownst the whole time to Lester DooLittle ... when Maynard heard the boy's piteous pleas he sat up and calmly replied "son you might as well quit yer pinin' and have another swig from the bottle ... cause neither one of us is ever gettin' out of this here pit!" ... needless to say Lester DooLittle's prayers were immediately answered as those dreadful words felt like icicles traveling up his spine ... the panic-struck cuss leaped straight up and catapulted himself out of that slippery tomb and his feet hit the ground running in the direction of his house ... as soon as Lester was safely inside of his bedroom he recalled the encouraging words of an old hymn written by William Cowper ... and from thence forward Lester DooLittle never again permitted hard liquors to cross his lips and became a good and decent feller!

"God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain."  --William Cowper