Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Gone Ape! ...

The most anticipated and dreaded day round about DooLittle Hollar has always been All Hallows Eve, or Halloween ... and there have been some extraordinarily memorable ones at that ... with the likes of Lamar Beefeater--cousins Luther & Lester DooLittle--and twin, bully brothers Butch & Barry Sedgewick, all being eager and willing "trick-or-treat" participants ... amongst those worthy of mention was Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt's scarecrow incident ... you see each year Uncle Virgil would meticulously construct a makeshift scarecrow using old brooms, some straw and ragged clothes, then tie it securely to a lawn chair with nylon rope so the wind couldn't dismantle it ... and each year some unscrupulous pranksters would sneak in the middle of the night and filch Virgil's scarecrow--chair and all--tote it all the way over to the Community Church where it would be found the next morning perched precariously atop the church steeple ... well Uncle Virgil reckoned he'd lost just about enough Halloween scarecrows, so he being the near genius that he was--through the process of profound cerebration--concocted an ingenious plan designed to thwart any future, would-be larcenists ... so that particular Halloween night, as two dark figures eased onto Uncle Virgil's porch, hefted that scarecrow and began carryin' it toward the street--chair and all--just as they got to the gate "that's fer enough, you fellers can just put me down right here!" announced the scarecrow ... Uncle Virgil right nigh laughed himself into a fit of convulsions as he got up out of that rockin' chair, brushed away stalks of loose straw and watched those piteous culprits taking flight up the lane while screaming at the tops of their lungs ... to this day nobody knows for sure just who those wretched delinquents were ... but Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt never again lost a scarecrow ... nor did he ever again have to pretend to be one!

Oh there certainly were a multitudinous number of other "summers end" kerfuffles worthy of mention here, but I suppose the most infamous occurrence of them all was the "Halloween gone ape" ... folks from near and far likely remember when an adolescent orangutan escaped from "The Greatest Show on Earth" at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus which had set up just over the hill from DooLittle Hollar ... seems as though the calculating primate had already determined that as soon as the unwary handler swung open the cage door it would make a speedy bee-line for the exit and never look back ... now if you've ever seen some animal what's been caged or held against its will by some sort of restraint for an extended period of time ... well, if that animal perchance breaks free, it takes off runnin' amok like a rabid gazelle and don't stop runnin' until it unwillingly collapses in a heap of near total exhaustion ... even then, it might get back up and run for a another day or so until it eventually returns to its senses ... runnin' amok is exactly what that ape had in mind when it crossed over the ridge and dropped down into DooLittle Hollar.

Grandpa & Grandma DooLittle were smack dab in the middle of yet another hebetudinous evening--that was until Grandpa was about to uncork a full jug of his darling, homemade intoxicants and heard an ominously frightening commotion out on the front porch ... fearful of new preachers and old lawmen, Grandpa eased open the door and found himself staring bloodshot eyeballs straight to bloodshot eyeballs with the most menacingly frightful beast that he'd ever seen around those parts "must be Hal-lee-ween Grandma ... looks like we got us one o' them there trick-er-treaters!" he excitedly proclaimed ... no sooner could Grandma finish her reply "we ain't never had no trick-er-treaters to ever wander this fer up here the hollar before ... weren't spectin' none neither ... ain't got no treats ceptin' some grits and maybe a biscuit er two" than the audacious creature snatched Grandpa's jug from his bony grasp ... popped the cork ... guzzled down every last drop of that knock-down liquor ... handed the empty jug and cork back over to Grandpa ... swiped a hirsute forearm across frothy lips ... let out a hair-raising shriek ... then catapulted headlong off the end of the porch and headed in the direction of town--knuckles a draggin'-- like a furious banshee!

To make an already too long story short ... that drunken simian hit town with a vengeance, it's first target being the General Store, which it ransacked from the inside out ... then went house to house wreaking havoc and raining down pandemonium ... terrorizing every unfortunate soul in sight ... destroying everything in its path ... it even snatched Aunt Birdie Mae Poteet's new, mail order hat from off her head and voraciously ate it ... by the time the bacchanalian ape's rampaging assault had mercifully came to a conclusion early the following morning, scores of angry folks had already placed frantic calls to Sheriff Clarence A. VanMeter informing him of the previous night's happenings, who at once responded lights a flashin' and siren a blarin' along with his Deputy Cletus A. VanMeter at his side ... both lawmen worked feverishly for the better part of the day obtaining victim's statements along with various descriptions of the alleged, offending malefactor ... finally Sheriff Clarence was confident that he had gleaned sufficient information--along with an extremely precise and consistent description--to effect an immediate arrest, so he and Deputy Cletus jumped back into their patrol car and took out of there like they knew where they was headed ... moments later, Lester DooLittle was rudely roused from a deep, drunken stupor to loud, insistent knocking at his front door ... when Lester opened the door there stood Sheriff Clarence and Deputy Cletus both sporting looks on their faces denoting a less-than-sociable visit "mornin' Clarence ... mornin' Cletus ... what can I do fer you fellers?" he asked ... "you're under arrest Lester DooLittle!" declared Sheriff Clarence as Deputy Cletus slapped a shiny set of handcuffs around his bony wrists ... "what fer?" demanded Lester ... "fer malicious destruction o' property and flagitious mayhem" replied the Sheriff ... "what makes you think I did it?" begged Lester ... the Sheriff responded as he placed Lester in the back of the police car "well Lester, you precisely fit the brazen miscreant's description to a T ... stringy hair from head to toe--long ape-like arms--narrow, beady eyes--large, gaping nostrils--gaudy, green shirt--shrill voice--obnoxious, overbearing demeanor--stinks like a mangy mule and reeks of stale, rotgut liquor!"

Have a Happy Halloween! ...

--sja Share/Bookmark

Friday, October 22, 2010

Get Your House In Order ...

Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt and Grandpa DooLittle were at an impasse, both had sat motionless at the checkerboard until neither could say with any degree of certainty just who's turn it was ... a stalemate which fermented into a seething batch of idle threats and name calling ... as Aunt Birdie Mae Poteet and the Widow VanMeter concluded their weekly shopping spree and were exiting the General Store, they couldn't help but overhear the clamorous dispute occurring between Uncle Virgil and Grandpa ... "you fellers ought not behave like a couple of spoiled brats ... what would the new preacher think of you fellers if he was to hear you carryin' on like that, specially in the presence of a pair of incomparably refined ladies such as the Widow and myself?!" exclaimed the seemingly outraged Birdie Mae Poteet ... "that's right!" the Widow VanMeter sternly concurred ... the aged malcontents immediately squelched their childlike pettifoggery, then Grandpa removed his dusty, derby hat from off his shiny, bald head and graciously enquired "what new preacher?" ... Birdie Mae cleared her throat then replied as her eyelids snapped curtly with each blink "it's absolutely mind-boggling how two supposedly wise and learned individuals such as the both of you could at times be so incredibly slow-witted and ill informed! ... folks have been talking near and far for days now about the new preacher what's coming to take over as pastor of the Community Church ... he'll be residing in the parsonage right next to the church ... as a matter of fact, he's scheduled to arrive some time this afternoon, and will be visiting every home in the area so as to formally introduce himself" ... Grandpa DooLittle sprung to his feet so fast you'd o' thought Satan himself had sparked a blistering fire underneath him "see you fellers later, gotta git home and git ma house in order" he declared as he headed in the direction of DooLittle Hollar ... as the old man tromped away the Widow VanMeter made a charitable offer that Grandpa could not reasonably decline "if you want, I'll send my nephew what's here visitin' from the city up there to help you get your place straightened out" ... Grandpa picked up his pace a bit as he answered over his shoulder "send him, and fast!"

Grandpa DooLittle made his way up the hollow in record time ... bursting through the front door he began breathlessly relaying the news regarding the impending arrival of the new preacher to Grandma DooLittle, including the part about the Widow VanMeter's nephew supposedly on his way to assist in getting the place in good order "oh my goodness, the house is mess!" insisted Grandma ... now even though Grandma was a meticulously efficacious housekeeper, she was never satisfied with the overall cleanliness and neatness of the DooLittle abode ... so Grandma at once jumped to her feet and headed for the broom closet to fetch her broom, mop and scrub bucket ... Grandpa on the other hand had some "cleanin'" of his own to do out in the barn ... as he exited the house he was met by a well-dressed, young man approaching from the walkway "good afternoon sir, I'm here to make sure your house is in order" announced the polite gentleman ... without further ado Grandpa grabbed the man by the coattail pulling him in the direction of the barn "yep, I been expectin' you, hurry along now, we got lots to do out here in the barn, time's a wastin'" demanded Grandpa ... as they entered the dark, odoriferous barn Grandpa began frantically barking out orders to his "borrowed" assistant--"help me cover up that there liquor still with this here tarpaulin!" then "help me tote these jugs o' shine over there and hide 'em behind that pile o' hay bales, and don't fergit the the ones with the homemade wine and hard cider in 'em!" then "grab that stack o' girlie magazines, those decks o' poker cards and them boxes o' Cuban cigars from underneath that there workbench and hide 'em outta sight up there in the hayloft!" then "on yer way back down reach over there and flip that there Playboy calendar around backards!" and "shovel up all that there mule manure and fetch some fresh feed and water fer these here critters!" ... finally Grandpa determined that the resulting clean up and concealment efforts were sufficient to dissuade any potential discovery of his most glaring vices by the new preacher and at last proclaimed "ok boy, that should do it, let's go to the house and git us a cold glass o' lemonade" ... Grandpa and his helper entered the kitchen just as Grandma was putting away her cleaning materials "Grandma why don't ye pour us all a big ol' glassful o' that there cold lemonade?" ... Grandma retrieved the pitcher of lemonade from the icebox and placed three tall glasses on the kitchen table ... then staring intently at the young man as she poured "where's yer manners Grandpa ... you didn't even introduce this fine-lookin' feller" ... before Grandpa could offer a reply there was a sharp rap at the front door "go see who that is Grandpa" ordered Grandma ... Grandpa DooLittle opened the door and there stood a spiffy-looking, young fellow "Mister DooLittle I presume, I'm the Widow VanMeter's nephew, she sent me up here to help you get your house in order" ... all of a sudden Grandpa DooLittle felt blood rushing from his head and his knees became weak and wobbly as he turned to his "helper" standing there in the living room--then sheepishly asked "and you are?" ... the youthful stranger gulped down the last of his lemonade then responded "my apologies sir, my name is Samuel Walter Wigglesworth, III ... new Pastor at the Community Church ... and I do believe prayer is straightaway appropriate!"

--sja Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Eye Of The Beholder ...

Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt had settled on the resolute conclusion that his on again off again relationship with the Widow VanMeter was likely headed nowhere, particularly with that meddlesome busybody Birdie Mae Poteet residing right next door to her ... so he dumped the Widow outright ... before long Uncle Virgil became tragically submersed in a deep slough of loneliness, and thus figured it high time that he somehow find a less socially entangled companion--no less by way of a "mail order bride" service ... so he directly sent for their catalog ... now  even though Virgil was nearly blind, he was a voracious reader, made possible by a thick-lensed monocle commonly held to his right eye, and although practicable as far as perusal of simple text was concerned, the vintage eyeglass caused photographs to appear more than a bit obscure ... but Virgil read anything and everything he could get his hands on, subscribing to various and sundry magazines and newspapers ... well, Uncle Virgil's long-anticipated "Mail Order Bride" catalog finally arrived in his mailbox, along with a dozen or so other assorted magazines ... Virgil retrieved the armful of mail, rushed inside and carelessly tossed it all on the kitchen table, which included letters and other reading materials, then following a quick lunch anxiously commenced poring over the photos with the greatest of interest and enthusiasm.

After hours of excruciatingly intense searching Uncle Virgil selected three photos of particular appeal from amongst hundreds of others and encircled each with a Sharpie ... ah they were three beauties too, however Virgil desired a second opinion, so he summoned Grandpa DooLittle to come over and critique his selections ... besides, who was more level-headed and straightforward than Grandpa DooLittle? ... well, Grandpa soon arrived and after consuming several glassfuls of Virgil's homemade apple cider sat down to take a gander at Virgil's potential mates ... "what do you think Gramps, some real lookers huh?" announced Virgil ... "uh ... uh huh ... them's some mighty fine lookin' heifers there Virgil" Grandpa half-heartedly declared, then added "is these here the ones yer pickin' yer future lady from?" ... "why yes they certainly could be, but I don't appreciate your referring to those lovely Mail Order Bride catalog girls as heifers!" exclaimed an obviously perturbed Virgil Hunnicutt ... understandably amused and bemused Grandpa DooLittle replied "well why didn't you say so in the beginnin'? ... Virgil Hunnicutt, I know that you know that I ain't never been one to frivolously besmirch folks' good looks, intelligence or lack of either ... as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder ... and to each his own ... but them there heifers IS heifers, and that there "catalog" where you picked 'em from is the Horse & Livestock Trader Magazine ... that there Mail Order Bride catalog is a layin' right there beneath the table on the floor!"

--sja Share/Bookmark

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Folly Of Envy ...

The modest cottage nestled amidst the bullbrier thickets had been more often than not peaceful and quiet ... until a vociferous Cricket took abode within a woodpile just outside the old man's bedchamber wall ... each night thenceforward, as the sun began its descent beneath the treetops, the melodious insect instinctively commenced his raspy chirping, which grew in intensity toward the wee hours of morning ... now this particular old man had recently resigned himself to death, patiently awaiting its advent with great expectancy ... however unable to neither permanently expire nor temporarily sleep as the Cricket's nerve-wracking scrapes echoed throughout his darkened room, he would often clutch bedclothes about his head in futile attempts to muffle the odious racket ... during one such toilsome night the old man vowed to forever silence the jet-black fiddler so that he might at last depart this world in peace ... thus the vexatious Cricket's goin's and comin's were forthwith constrained as he was obliged to not appear within the old man's reach lest he perchance encounter ill-timed extinction.

One early morning ... as the Brobdingnagian Cricket was about to conclude his nocturnal symphony ... he was met by a colossal Grasshopper proudly standing nearby who boldly announced "good morning Cricket, word about is that thou hadst lately suffered an untimely demise" as it rudely spat what appeared to be tobacco juice from its loathsome mouth ... "who would broadcast such dazzling falsities? as thou canst clearly surmise, I'm quite healthy, wealthy and wise!" retorted the Cricket ... the Grasshopper again spat then replied "the old man hath vowed to lay thee asunder ere he himself soon dies" ... to which the Cricket proclaimed "not so! the master of the house holds me in the highest of regard, and is oft lulled to restful sleep by my harmonic chords ... furthermore, we have breakfast together nearly each and every morn ... were anything fit for utter destruction 'twould be a vile and pestilent fellow such as thee!" ... with that the wretched orthopteran burst into laughter spewing nasty juice far and wide from its despicable jaws "I shan't think it true emanating from one such as you, a claim best left unbelieved lest perhaps I might see!" declared the envious Grasshopper ... "then go roll thyself round and round in yonder heap of coal dust until thou art black as pitch, then go feign thyself as me" suggested the knavish Cricket ... the eager Grasshopper pondered but for a moment before diving headlong into that pile of soot shamelessly rolling about till no part remained uncovered then displayed itself to the Cricket ... "uncommonly astounding!" insisted the Cricket "had I not discerned myself so well, I had thought that me were thee, and thee were me ... now hasten thee inside and present thyself to the master of the house, and enjoy thy hearty breakfast!" ... the blackened Grasshopper again spat then tactfully crept beneath the kitchen door as the Cricket leapt upon the windowsill to watch and listen ... straightaway was heard "Splat!" then the triumphant cry issued forth as the old man exclaimed "'twas a surety that anon I would silence that clamorous Cricket's ceaseless cacophony, this very night I myself will bow my head and pass in blessed tranquility" ... after the old man had been respectfully carried away to his final resting place, the Cricket became the master of the house ... and each night thenceforward, as the sun began to sink behind the tall treetops, the Cricket commenced his mellisonant strain, which increased in magnitude toward the wee hours of the morning ... ofttimes neath the pillows on the old man's feather bed!

"For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one."   --Job 5:2

--sja Share/Bookmark

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Reality Trumps Perception ...

The famished mouse could hardly believe its good fortune ... discovering a gap in the shed's wooden sheathing large enough to crawl through, yet too narrow for the mangy cat perched high atop a nearby fencepost to enter ... inside the shed rested a mammoth, at least in the mouse's perspective, wheel of scrumptious cheese, which was unfortunately too large to squeeze through the space in the planks even if the puny Mus musculus had been stout enough to heft it ... so the ever-ravenous rodent decided it well-worth the risk to oft scurry as quickly as possible across the grounds from its nest beneath the well house, eat its fill then afterward make a hasty return ... upon each attempt the habitually vigilant genus Felis would pounce from his vantage point in pursuit of the mouse nearly grasping it each time in his sharp claws as it disappeared through the space in the shed ... for the next several days the cat continued to chase the mouse to and fro albeit unable to overtake it, so the cat concluded that an unconventional approach to the situation was necessary ... else he too would anon feel pangs of hunger along with the besmirchment of his longstanding reputation as an adept hunter.

For the next few days the cat simply sat there watching squint-eyed as the hungry mouse charged toward the shed then back again ... soon the mouse began to reckon the cat to be more reasonable than originally thought by obviously abandoning all efforts to apprehend it ... eventually the mouse developed a cavalier attitude and would confidently take its good ol' time leisurely strolling back and forth while paying little to no attention to the cat, often pausing midway to wiggle its whiskered nose while casting a wry glance in the apparently insouciant feline's direction ... one day after eating its fill, the abdominous mouse exited through the space in the shed on its way back to the well house again stopping midpoint to sardonically taunt its erstwhile nemesis, but the cat was conspicuously absent from his lofty roost ... fraught with sudden panic and fright the mouse tightly closed its beady eyes then sped toward the safety of its nest as fast as its feet could carry its rotund body ... believing that it had perhaps miraculously escaped unscathed to the entrance of its abode beneath the well house the mouse breathlessly opened its eyes just as it dove into the waiting mouth of the cat ... with a keen sense of self-fulfillment the cat again climbed atop the fencepost as he pondered amongst his infinite erudite thoughts how that reality trumps perception every time!

"I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them."   --Ecclesiastes 9:10-12

--sja Share/Bookmark

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Uncle Sam Wants You! ...

Sheriff Clarence A VanMeter stopped by the General Store to pick up a fresh box of shotgun shells ... likely double-ought-buckshot ... on this particular day Ansel Poteet and Grandpa DooLittle were raptly perched on the store's front porch deep in the cerebral throes of a three-day-long checkers marathon ... occasionally breaking for "natural occurrences" of course ... nearby stood the ever expressionless Wooden Indian, drops of water from the previous night's rain trickling onto his eye from a leaky eavestrough overhead gave one the notion that tears were slowly creeping down his oaken cheek ... conspicuously absent was the elder paterfamilias, one Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt ..."how's it goin' fellers ... where's Uncle Virgil?" enquired the Sheriff ... Grandpa DooLittle slowly rubbed his bristly chin whiskers while carefully keeping a keen eye peeled on the checkerboard as he replied "well Sheriff, ol' Virgil ain't been hisself lately ... all weepy and down in the mouth ... ain't been 'round here fer many a day!" ... Sheriff Clarence was a bit taken aback by their seeming lack of urgent concern ...  "yep, many a day now" added Ansel Poteet as he jumped three of Grandpa DooLittle's red checkers, then hoarsely demanded "Crown me!" ... but Sheriff Clarence was immediately concerned, so decided he'd better directly go check on Uncle Virgil Hunnicutt.

Minutes later ... with a sense of cautious uneasiness ... Sheriff VanMeter was knocking on Uncle Virgil's front door as Deputy Sheriff Cletus A.VanMeter stood by in case backup should be needed ... "who is it?" responded a barely audible and obviously distraught sounding voice from inside ... "it's Sheriff Clarence A. VanMeter and Deputy Cletus ... we're here to check on your welfare" announced the Sheriff ... all of a sudden Sheriff Clarence heard Uncle Virgil a wailin' and a moanin' and a bawlin' like a mama cow what's had her calf taken away for weanin' ... believing Virgil to possibly be either ill or injured, Clarence ordered Cletus to boot open Virgil's door ... both seasoned lawmen then valiantly charged inside only to discover Uncle Virgil down on his knees with arms extended forward while holding his wrists firmly together "slap on the cuffs Sheriff ... I'll go peacefully without a struggle!" cried the piteous, openly sobbing old gentleman ... "what on earth is wrong with you Virgil Hunnicutt? ... we ain't here to haul you off to jail!" proclaimed Sheriff Clarence, then added "I seen you weren't playin' checkers over at the General Store with the rest of the fellers as you customarily do ... Grandpa DooLittle said you'd been awful upset as of late ... so I figured me and Cletus ought to hurry on over here and find out why" ... warm tears streamed down Virgil's face from swollen, bloodshot eyes as he declared "well Sheriff, I reckon I'm just too danged old and tired for this here sort of thing" as he pulled a folded piece of paper from his shirt pocket and handed it over to Sheriff Clarence ... Clarence looked at the paper which had a picture of Uncle Sam and read as follows "UNCLE SAM WANTS YOU!" ... however when the Sheriff unfolded the crinkled piece of paper completely he saw what it actually said, then read aloud "UNCLE SAM'S QUALITY AUTO WANTS YOU TO STOP BY TODAY AND PURCHASE A NEW OR USED TRUCK!" ... Virgil swiped his flannel shirtsleeve across his dripping nose, then Deputy Cletus helped the now smiling and relieved centenarian to his feet as he sheepishly muttered "you mean I ain't been drafted into the military ... I ain't no lawbreakin' draft dodger after all?" ... by now Sheriff Clarence had been stricken utterly speechless, so Cletus explained "naw, you ain't been drafted ... Uncle Sam don't want you to report for no military service Uncle Virgil ... shoot everybody in the county got one of these here handbills in the mail, me and Clarence here included ... but Uncle Sam's Automotive does want you to stop by and purchase a new or used vehicle!" ... grinning from ear to ear like a cunning Cheshire cat Virgil donned a woolen sweater then slipped on his ol' derby hat "well then, would you fellers give me a lift over to the General Store ... I reckon they's a big checkers match a goin' on?"