Here is the September 2007 news from Hogspore Arkansas brought to you by its leading citizen, Clet Litter:
Mumford Pickens and I got to talking after Wednesday night church supper. We was full up on pork chops and corn bread. We wandered out to his old truck and he give me a taste of some ridge-grown squeezing that he just cooked up.
My sinuses sure cleared up right quick. Now I don’t mind a sip or two, but the Tomorrow-Morning-Clet always gets mad if I go tilting the cup the night before.
Mumford might have had one or two more samples than I did, cause he started to tell me what life was all about. Here’s what he says:
“Clet, This here life is sorta like a merry-go-some-round what’s in a park playground.
When you’re first born, you’re sitting smack in the middle and nothing much is a going on. Don’t feel like you’re really moving at all. Other folks is a taking care of you, changing your diapers, feeding and burping you, maybe bouncing you on their good knee. All you can do is smile or pass some gas, or maybe do both. Dern Clet, that sounds like you right now.”
I didn’t say nothing. Mumford always thinks he’s funnier than he is, when he’s been into the hooch.
Mumford kept talking, “Come them teen years, we start to doing reckless things and a few of us go flying off early. There’s a special feeling of sorrow for them kids cause we all thought they had a good long ride a head of em.
If you ever had one of them kids that left early, there ain’t nothing we can do or say to help you get through it. Cept to make sure we watch over the rest of us that are still on the ride.
Come middle age, we start moving out to the edge. This is the time in life when you start to comment on how fast the years are a going by. You’re getting closer to the edge where things look to be moving faster.
This is when some of our Mommas and Pappys slide off. Grandpa starts getting dizzy spells, from the spinning.”
Mumford stopped talking. His eyes was wet. Looked like he’d just took a cold. He said something bout there musta been some pollen that fell into the mash to make him well up like that.
Then I remembered his pappy and Mumford’s own 16 year old high school boy was both took together, ten years ago out on Highway 71. I looked away and give Mumford some time to dry up.
He commenced up again, “There’s a few old women that can hold onto the edge for years with no trouble at all. They’re the ones that run the voting booths come election time and offer up on how the kids is a growing up so fast."
I can’t really find no fault with his theory and it don't confront with our Sunday school learnings neither.
Mumford says, “Hang on for as long as you can and try not to leave early, cause there’s still folks on the inside that are a depending on you.
But … when it’s your time to go, you gotta slide off the merry-go-some-round with some dignity and peaceful feelings cause after this ride is over, there’s a better one a waiting.”
You know, I like Mumford Pickens. Whether he’s sober or slightly un-sober, we’re all better off for having him around. He is good people.
I was over to Bickum’s Hardware last Saturday to get a new mail box. Some high school boys with a baseball bat, but not enough money for a real baseball, took up batting practice along our road Friday night.
I walked by the shelf with the Stump-Be-Gone Dynamite and I got me an idea. Remember a time when you didn’t have to sign something every time you bought some TNT? I painted a big old baseball on both sides of the new mailbox and installed a little high school graduation present fer them midnight sluggers.
Turns out, weren’t nobody hurt. Sheriff Riley Combover finally laughed and released me, once he heard my side of the story.
I’m a smiling. All day long them mailbox bashers keep trying to answer their telephones and front doors and nobody can hear the ringing, cept them.
Grand daughter Evangeline is studying poetry in school. Only poem I remember had something to do with falling on my ask me no questions.
Uncle Weaver was over to the house and Evangeline asked him to read a poem out loud fer us. She picked one she thought us men folk might listen to and not make fun of. He said he would do it right after he finished his ham sandwich and fried-up salted-down tater chips.
He started to read the Charge of the Light Brigade fer us. The poem must a got to him or it might have been his salty supper, cause his face started getting pink like. He took a blood pressure pill and went out to take a nap on the front porch couch. Evangeline got to giggling. She said something that she thought was pretty funny, but I still don’t get it. “Reading that poem give Uncle Weaver some Hyper Tennyson.”
Walter Hood said he’s having his family history traced. Turns out his 4 year old daughter, Nabelle, done most of the work. What little Nabelle done, was to take some real thin paper, put it atop the old family photos, and got to working with some colored pencils on her great grand Pappy and great grand Mama.
If Walter ever looked up into his family tree, he would see a lot of moss and squirrels.
Cousin Jim finally come to pay us a visit. He’s all growed up now, but this is the first time he’s ever seen Hogspore big city life. It ain’t like he’s backwards cause they even got indoor plumbing up in them hills.
Well, that’s how it started out until the Storm of 2005 come through and blew off his bathroom roof. Ever since, his bathroom is like them high-priced inboard-outboard motor boats. Jim’s got indoor-outdoor plumbing. He maintains he’s got a handsome looking sky light fer contemplating nature and he don’t need no store-bought air freshen uppers.
We took Jim to his first restaurant and had a fine time, but Jim was in the bathroom for one hour before we went in to get him. It weren’t his fault. Sign on the restroom wall said, “Employees Must Wash Hands Before Leaving.” Cousin Jim was just a waiting for one of them “Employees” to come wash his hands for him.
The wife, Punkin, got me on a diet. She said it was time, after I split out the back seam on two sets of overalls in one week. Now I can stand the pain of a hammer hitting my thumb or a month long toothache, but I just can’t stand no hunger pains.
If I was a spy a being tortured, I wouldn’t give up no classerfied information no matter what they done to me, just long as I got fed proper on a regular basis. But tie me up in front of a cherry pie and I’d give up my Momma.
So I struck a different course with my wife and admitted I might be somewhat overfed. I was hoping that Punkin would get more reasonable-like if I agreed with her. She might give me more to eat. That didn’t happen.
You know what she said to me? She said, “Clet, I’m so dern proud of you for knowing that you got yourself a problem. It takes a big man to admit when he’s fat.”
The Hogspore Volunteer Fire department got called out this weekend. We put out a barn fire over to Duncan Winslow’s place.
Weren’t much damage done, but Duncan’s prize mule, Bertram got burned on his hindquarters. This is the second time Bertram’s got burned. He was struck up by lightning when he was a year old. He gets real skittish when he hears thunder at night. He tries to crawl in bed with Duncan.
On real cold nights Duncan and his wife go ahead and let the mule stay. Ol Bertram is warmer than an electrified blanket. Duncan likes Bertram being there cause his wife can’t tell who’s passing gas all night.
Most of the time though, it’s Duncan that’s adding to global warming. There was one particular hard freeze night; Duncan had spooned down 3 bowls of chili for supper. It got so foggy in the bedroom that Bertram left the king sized family bed to go out to the frosted-up barn for some fresh air.
Well, last Saturday night, Duncan Winslow rented out his big ol barn to a circuit preacher for a revival meetin. They was a baptizing people six at a time in the water trough, when it started up to storming with lightning a flashing.
Must have been 150 people got saved that night. The preacher was on fire, and so was the barn after Bertram got scared and kicked over a kerosene lantern. Duncan says Bertram’s gonna be all right since the animal hospital changed his condition from a Critical to a Stable.
Mumford Pickens couldn’t help but chime in on it. “All them new converts that night was barn again, cept Bertram, the mule. He was burn again.”
You know, for a small town like we got here in Hogspore, something always is a happening or going on. If you got anything you’d like to ask or you wanta hear more bout one of my friends or kinfolk, ask one of them people at this here newspaper, and I’ll get back to you, unless I’m fishing or eating.
We had our first case of Hogspore road rage last Monday morning.
You all know Harley Spears. He’s the one that lives out on old Barlow’s Road and comes down once a month for supplies. You’d know him if you seen him. Here’s another hint: He’s the only feller left in the county that still drives a buckboard.
Harley’s ol rickety buckboard come round the corner on two of the four wooden wheels, negotiating a wide turn into Bickum’s Hardware parking lot.
At the very same time, the Widow Fenster decided it was time fer her to cross the street. She had her mind on a new bolt of Calico cloth that she’d seen in Bickum’s window.
The buckboard didn’t hit the Widow as much as she sorta walked into it. Her parasol caught up on the wagon and carried her on into the parking lot. It took 3 seconds before she decided to let go the parasol.
That was sorta an unfortunate time to let go, cause they was already slowing down when she dropped off. A wheel spoke hit her head and took her straight into a two-minute coma.
You’d think Harley would be running up to see how bad the Widow was hurt. You would a thought he might be somewhat concerned bout almost killing Widow Fenster, who just happens to be the mayor’s mother.
Harley jumped offen the buckboard. He was mad. His teeth was a clenched and steam was coming outer his nose. He come running toward the Widow with his buggy whip a waving it over his head.
Widow was starting to come around when she saw Harley come running up and screaming at her with a big ol nasty buggy whip a cracking in the breeze. She never had no trouble with short term memory cause she remembered Harley had just tried to buckboard her on into the promised land.
Harley was standing over her when his common sense come running back into his brain. He dropped the whip and leaned over to see if he could help. This is when the hysterical- like Widow Fenster run her parasol right up Harley’s nose and out his left ear.
The umbrella opened up outside Harley’s ear and was a shading his face. He was thrashing around and generally feeling more than a little out of sorts, but at least he weren’t getting sunburned.
A lot of Harley’s brain had never been used, cause after the parasol got taken out, he was recovering with no problems at all.
Just to show you what a sweet saint of a woman she is, the Widow Fenster forgive Harley fer almost killing her. She sent over a couple of her favorite movies for him to watch while he is recovering.
Turns out she might be a little more spiteful than we first thought. Them movies was “Singing in the Rain” and “Mary Poppins”.
Last Sunday, Preacher talked about Methuselah and how he lived to be 969 years old. When we was leaving church, Mumford Pickens caught up with me to give his take on it.
Mumford’s been married 5 times just so you know where he’s a coming from. Mumford said, “If I was Methuselah and I got to be 400 years old, I would a traded in my 400 year-old wife for a couple of young 200 year-olds.