Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Friend Bo

My Friend Bo stopped by today. 

Actually Bo isn’t too well thought of around here but I can tell you that many’s the day Bo has showed up just in time to pull me out of a deep hole.   So today I was pretty glad to see him and told him, “Come on in, Bo,” but he wouldn’t and I had to just stand out there in the wind in nothin’ but a jean jacket and my thermal underwear to hear about his latest project.

And it didn’t amount to a hill of beans but it took my mind off stuff I didn’t want to think about today so I listened like it was the dangest dang project I ever heard and had tremendous “potential”.    However so, I can tell you that even around here there isn’t much of a market for chicken feet.  Bo’s plan is to go over to the Mennonites next time they have a big chicken butcherin’ and get the feet and sell them on the internet.  My part in this project, other than listening and nodding and saying, “You don’t say,” and “By dang, it just might be a money maker,” was to teach Bo how to run the computer and sell stuff on the internet. 

I thought the “You don’t say,” and the ”By dang….”  would probably be the easy part because I remembered Bo from when we were in grade school.  He always had a lot of  trouble with the pencil sharpener.

We talked a little while about how to wash all the stuff off the feet and how to keep them from stinkin’ while they were in the mail and such and then we kind of got down to the internet part.  I asked Bo who his ISP was and he said, “What’s a “eye yes pee,”  and I tried to tell him and he kind of went vague on me so I went back to the washin’ the chicken feet part for awhile.. then tried the internet thing again in a different direction.

“Bo, which credit card do you want to use.  You gotta have a credit card for just about everything on the internet you know.:  and he kind of gave a little jump and grinned at me, which is always unfortunate when Bo grins, because of that fight with Bud Seifert, and he told me he had it covered.  He whipped out a credit card and waved it through the air in little slicing motions like it was a pass to the All Star Game. 

“Here it is.  It come  in the mail yesterday.  Pop always makes Pauletta Dean toss them but I snapped this one up before he saw it.”  I didn’t have the heart..or the energy..to give Bo a lesson in credit cards so I kind of let that slide but I did mention that Joe might be ticked off when the bills started coming but Bo said “Not to worry.  He’ll really be fired up when the profit money starts comin’ in now won’t he?”  

We talked about how to pack the feet.  Because it’s December Bo wanted to wrap them up all Christmassy and call them “Holiday Hen Hoovess” .  “Now don’t that have a ring to it?” says Bo.  I nodded like I really thought it did and Bo promised to cut me in for a quarter of the profits for teaching him how to do the internet stuff and then he said, “Well, I gotta go. There’s a lot to runnin’ a business you know.”  And I said “Yes, there surely is.  See ya, Bo”  And he said, “See ya.” 

But then there was a thing that had to be done so I said to myself,  "Yancy, there's a question has to be asked and you just gotta ask it."   And so I says to Bo, "Bo, what do you figure folks are gonna be doing with those chicken feet?"  and he said   "You wouldn't believe all the different kinds of stuff they eat up in the city.  It;s just chock full of all sorts of ethical people now that eat stuff like squid legs and rattlesnake eggs and such as these chicken feet."  Well, it has never been my way to get mixed up in the mores and geography ideas of my neighbors but I told Bo, "Well, Bo I haven't ever heard of anyone eating that sort of stuff," but he just grinned and flicked a box elder bug off the arm of my jean jacket  and said, "Yance, that's part of your problem.  You need to get up and about a little more."  And he took off down the road.

And I went back in the house and sat in front of the furnace grate for an hour and a half before I warmed up. 

Like I say, Bo always gives me something else to think on.  And that’s worth a lot.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I Live in North Missouri and I Had Waffles For Breakfast

And you might ask, “That’s significant because???

Because just seventy-five years ago last week a housewife in Lewis County, Missouri flipped a switch in her kitchen and her life, and ours, was changed for ever. 

Lewis County was the first rural electric co-op to be completed in Missouri and that July day in 1937 was thereafter referred to as “The Day the Lights Came On.”  

I believe Mrs. Anderson, the wife of Judge B.L. Anderson, one of the rural cooperatives original incorporators and Chairman of the Board, understood how significant the changes coming with electric power would be.   She knew it would now be possible to prepare a meal in the heat of a Missouri summer without building up a fire in a cook stove.  Water for laundry would no longer need to be heated in large double boilers before emptying into the old wringer washer that had to be cranked by hand.  In just a few short years wet sheets freeze drying on the line on a January day would be a thing of the past. 

The size of a man’s milking herd would no longer be limited by the strength and/or youth of his hands and with the coming of refrigeration spoiled milk was for the most part a thing of the past. 

As for water, no more buckets hauled from the creek.  One of the first uses of electricity in rural areas was for pumping water and this was a tremendous help. 

Rural productivity soared and the nightmare of the drought and the ensuing depression began to fade.  Electricity was the single most important tool rural Missourians would possess to fight their way back to a reasonable prosperity. 

Some things are simply too valuable.. too important.. and of far too much significance to a community, county, state or country, to be left to the trickle down method of the for-profit-only thinkers.  Some things require a combined effort.  Some things need to be subsidized, as in the rural Electric Unification Act, to equalize the opportunity of the whole community. 

Just imagine if the electrification of Missouri had been left to the business community ..a 1920’s publication of the magazine Popular Mechanics,  in an article on electrification, would have been totally accurate when it claimed that  “Thousands of … rural homes will NEVER enjoy the blessings of electricity if they wait for the high lines to bring it because they are in areas so sparsely populated that power lines cannot be made to pay for themselves.” 

Only when the profit line was removed..(enter the REA-Rural Electrification Act..a government backed program that stood behind loans and provided support and administrative structure to communities seeking to electrify.. and Community Co-ops created by communities willing to commit themselves to the progress electricity would bring)  did the electrification of the whole state become possible. 

In 1935 less than ten percent of rural America had electric power.  By 1950 that percentage had risen to ninety percent. 

When I look at the powerful opposition that was recently waged against Universal (subsidized) Health Care I tend to think about American experiences like the REA. 

Like I said before, some things are simply too valuable.. too important.. and of far too much significance to a community, county, state or country, to be left to the trickle down method of the for-profit-only thinkers.

By the way.  My waffle was really good.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Friend, Bo Stopped by Today.

My friend, Bo stopped by today.

He had a couple of empty plastic milk jugs and was looking for free water. I asked him if their water had quit on them but he said, “Nope. Me and Windy are fixin’ to help out Lorellen over at her place.”

Lorellen was Bunny’s best friend I guess forever and even was in her wedding party. That is to say, she stood behind Windy in the event he tried to break and run but I guess he was tired of evadin’ and avoidin’ because the wedding went right through to the end.

What’s wrong with Lorellen’s water?” I asked Bo. But he didn’t want to talk about it much. It seems he had that one-eyed goat out to Lorellen’s place and tied it to the old pump handle on the well and while he was inside yacking it up with Lorellen and her husband the goat got to feistyin’ around and broke through the boards. When Bo went back out all he saw was a broke piece of twine that he had the goat tied with. Lorellen was madder than all get out when she found out a danged goat had got itself drowned in her well.

“Well, “says Bo, “She’s livin’ in her Grampa Tud Foster’s old place and he never would have it hooked up to the Federal supply like regular folks did” “Said it was a waste of good pipe and all, them having a good well.” And I said, “Well, I woulda thought Lorellen and her husband woulda had it hooked up.”

“Well, no,” says Bo, “Lorellen’s kind of eggcentric. You know how she is.”

“Well,” I say, “She is her Grampa’s kin and he was strange enough for two.” And wantin’ to change the subject I say, “Bo, how do you suppose Old Tud ever got such an odd name, anyway?” And Bo said, “Well I asked him that once that last year before he died when he was spending so much time settin’, just settin’, out on that old porch looking at stuff no one else could see I guess because he would sure strike up a good conversation all by himself and one day he was just a chit chattin’ to thin air and I stopped and chit chatted awhile with him and I asked him about if Tud was his real name and he said “No, it wasn’t.”

“The way Tud told it was that he was the tail end of six boys,” says Bo, “and his Ma, wantin’ a girl like most women do, took advantage of Old Pappy’s, that’s what Tud called him, Old Pappy, bein’ gone to the woods for three days with a couple a fellas he hung out with and she named the new arrival Maudie Charlene, sayin’ she would make him her girl. The Doc even had it done up on paper at the court house. Well, Old Pappy uz madder than all get out and said, “Anyone I hear callin’ that little turd Maudie Charlene or anything like is going to get throwed down and stomped on..so nobody ever did but the turd part stuck and they just called him Little Turd ‘til he went off to school and Mz. Floreen Justice, who was teaching back then, misunderstood Little Turd’s way of speakin’..their folks was from Tennessee..and wrote him down as “Tud” and that’s how he is called that to this day.”

“I thought on that for awhile then I said, "Well, it’s too bad about the water, anyway”.

We filled the jugs up at the spigot and Bo said, “See ya around,” and I said “See ya, Bo” and he started up his old truck and rattled off. I kept on doing what I was doing when he came which was not much of nothin’, and pretty soon I got tired of that and went in and went to bed.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bunny's Getting Married

My friend, Bo, stopped by last night. He just wanted to bum a can of Coke off me.

Also he was hiding out from his mom, Pauletta Dean Ray and Bunny, his sister because of the wedding coming up and all.

He said, “Yeah, Bunny is finally gonna tie the knot.”

That’s one way of looking at it. To my mind she just finally ran poor old Windy Wilson to ground. Windy’s name was really Clifford Winston Wilson but I never knew him to be called anything but Windy. Windy wasn’t much of a talker so you’ll just have to figure out for yourself how he came by his callin’ name.

Bunny had almost made it to be married twice before, both times to the slippery Windy. But like Bo said “Bunny ain’t nothin’ if she ain’t persistent.”

The first time she had a run-a-way gig all planned, with her and Windy lined up to catch the Greyhound at the convenience store. The bus was due to pull in at 7:12 a.m. but as luck would have it at about ten after seven Windy’s stomach took to gripin’ and he had to run for the restroom in the gas station and they missed the bus. There wasn’t much sense in Bunny going without him so she just kept setting on the bench there by the gas pumps until he came out.

Bo said she forgave him, (Bunny has a foregivin’ nature) thinkin’ that he had most likely been lookin' at the pictures on the mechanical dispensary on the bathroom wall. Everyone in town knows about the dispensary at the gas station because it’s a uni-sex bathroom (that means everyone goes in there..old ladies, little kids, truckdrivers..) and the only public one in town.

Mabel Baxter who runs the store says that, other than its most obvious and most practical intent, the dispensary is a “monument of education to the young and an encouragement to the more mature.”

“Besides,” says Mabel, “It goes to show there is more to life than waitin’ on the Greyhound and fillin’ the ice machine every morning.”

The second time Bunny almost got married she had a big do planned at the Elk’s Lodge. Jimmy and Odetta Barnett was gonna play their guitar and base fiddle and Pete Gifford was practicin’ his mime act. Beulah Marshall was going to be there twistin’ balloons into freaky lookin’ animals for little kids while her daughter, Jeanine plastered washable tattoos all over their poor little hands and faces.

Everyone was lookin’ forward to it but then word went around town that the intended groom had got a letter from the state requirin’ him to make an appearance at the unemployment office that very day so they could evaluate him to see what kind of work might suit him. He had to go as he had missed two appointments and they were threatening to cut off his unemployment.

He did have good reasons for the missed appointments.

The first time his hound was in a bad way. He had to take it to the vet and come to find out it had a pop tab stuck in its windpipe. That hound chewed on the weirdest stuff. The second time he just forgot. It was the first of a whole string of the prettiest days you would ever want to see in this part of the country and he had forgot about the unemployment thing and gone off to the river with Bo to do some noodling.

Anyway, Bo said he didn’t think the state wanted to hear a third excuse and he thought Windy, havin’ a choice between getting’ married and lookin’ at possible job opportunities, most likely felt the time spent lookin’ for job opportunities was less stressful. Windy never holds up good under stress.

Bo left about nine. I hope he remembers to bring back the pop can.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bug On the Lam

I specifically remember the lady at the Animal Rescue place CLEARLY stating that Bug had been raised with goats and poultry and other livestock and that she KNEW boundaries. I wish I had asked her if Bug's boundary knowledge was acquired from a Missouri road map?

Bug’s first evening unchained did not go too well. She immediately dismissed as inadequate this mere 36 acre lot, heard the call of far places and departed as swiftly as four long white legs can carry one dog, becoming little more than a pale blur against the blacktop and heading due north. My hopes of the great fox eliminator and protector of all things feathered crumbled to dust at my feet. Well, they would have been dust if the grass hadn’t still been wet.

Never having a really strong grasp on my temper at the best of times, my initial reaction of disappointment was immediately replaced with a sincere hope that a big truck (it would have to be a big one) would wipe her out and nobody would ever know who she belonged to, her being new to the neighborhood.

Fortunately for Bug AND me, my neighbors always seem to be a little confused about the exact date of the Fourth of July and want to do fireworks for as long as possible and Bug was just barely out of sight when their celebratory barrage against anyone daring to doubt their patriotism commenced. I never saw a dog backtrack so fast. She was fireballing back down the blacktop so fast she almost missed the place completely and if I hadn’t hollered at her she would probably have wound up in Cameron. Well, I chained her again.

This morning turned cool and lovely with a nice, grumbly little thunder shower working its way across DeKalb County and I unchained her hoping to coax her into following me through chores. Remember the orientation thing all week long? With me bottle feeding bucket calves, baby goat, watering doelings, chicks, hens etc with a 75 pound dog attached at the wrist? Well evidently Bug didn’t. This time she lit out down the gravel to the east, loping low and fast and within seconds nothing was visible but the sway of a white tail plume and then that was gone.

“Damn”..this time, before I could exercise any reasonable restraint, my temper was totally gone and in my degeneracy, I envisioned a bear chewing her up and spitting her out! I had just read that they are CONSCIENTIOUSLY propagating the Black Bear down in South Missouri. I relished the thought! Nothing to be left but a pink collar with a few white hairs clinging to it and the tiny tag saying she was most likely not rabid tinkling against the leash loop!

Before any doubts had time to rise regarding the existence of a bear on demand on my part a low rumbling, followed by a louder crash of thunder, was THEN followed by a fast traveling streak of white heading back in my direction. Bug outdid herself this time. Barely sparing a glance for me, the crazy lady standing in the rain fantasizing about Bear-On-Dog scenarios, she raced for the barn, wheeling at the last second and backing in so nothing could be seen in the dimness of the barn door except a white muzzle and two black ears.

As I debated whether to chain her again, patting my self on the back for the fact that she DID know where home was,..(remember the orientation thing?) the rain shifted to a light drizzle and the grumbly thunder seemed to have crossed over into Daviess County. More power to ‘em.

Bug also noticed the altered circumstances and stalked out of the barn like she personally had driven the thunder away. Meeting no audible threat she lunged into gear and was off down the gravel again in a nano-second only to be met by a repeat of the rumble and thunder, followed by an even faster retreat to the barn.

I figured this was enough dog training for one day and, not having enough faith in either my neighbors’ patriotism or the Good Lord’s willingness to intercede in my dog’s training by stepping in with loud noises as needed, I lunged for the chain and Bug at the same time..no small task.. and by some miracle had them connected once again. I’ll try again tonight.

P.S. I haven't seen a fox since Bug and her big mouth and mobile nature arrived.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Big Bug


'Entre the new farm employee!

Designated Fox Destroyer..Skunk Chaser..'coon Fighter and Monitor of All Points of Defense.

Her name is Bug. Originally June Bug, according to the Rescue Haven..but I was never fond of the name June so she is just "Bug". Bug is somewhat euphonic with Benny (The Terrible Terrier) and also I think I can remember it.

She had two orientation sessions this a.m. following the drill through chicken chores, calf bottles and goat feeding with a little boundry work thrown in. She is learning to "Sit down" and not kill us inadvertantly by jumping on us (she probably weighs 75 pounds) and walking on a leash without dragging me all over. She was chained at each chore point so I have both hands free for the job and she was pretty good about the whole process and not malignantly interested in poultry or very small goats.

Her first interview with Benny last night did not go well but better luck this morning. Benny's circle of admirers seems to be a limited one. Sarah says he 's down to one. I guess that one is me. I really like the little dude.

I want all to understand that I do not like dogs generally and have known many that I thought should never have made the cut that propelled them into my world. But some are really remarkable people who just happen to be dressed in fur with sappy tongues that hang out on hot days. I hope Big Bug is one of those.

For the time being she looks good lying under the pear tree and if I was a fox I would not want to rile her!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just For Fun Friends

Any Comparison of today's BLOG to Any Real Person or Event is Accidental and Very Unlikely.

My friend, Bo stopped by last night. He was short on money and had a baby goat with one eye and the carbureter off an old Pontiac he was trying to find buyers for. I didn’t need a one-eyed goat and had my fill of old Pontiacs a long time ago so we just sat and drank Coke and talked about hard times and what we would do when they got better.

Bo’s family is in “straits” right now as his Mom, Pauletta Dean Ray, was laid off at the truck stop on account of the business had fallen off so. His dad, Joe is still working at the feed store but they cut his hours. I guess even livestock is on short feed these days.

According to Bo his dad, Joe, is getting mighty testy being the only one in the family working anymore.

“He is almost succotic sometimes,” says Bo. “He even took the cover off of Pauletta Dean Ray’s favorite Roy Orbison record, (it was a collector’s item), and drew a skull right on the top of Roy’s guitar with a Magic Marker.” Bo said Pauletta Dean Ray was fit to be tied.

Bo said he figured she would get back at him though because she is a “Passionate Aggressive” personality. (Bo had to take some behavior modification classes after the lawnmower-on-fire-in-the-bedroom thing last winter. He said they talked on and on about succotics and hostile and passionate aggressors and such. He learned a lot.)

I asked Bo how his sister, Bunny, was getting along. We were in the same class in school and I always kind of liked her. He said her psoriasis was better and she always wore her hair long now so a person hardly wouldn’t ever notice her bad ear. I was glad to hear it.

That ear thing was a real worry there for awhile. Bunny wasn’t satisfied with just getting something pierced. Oh, no. Not Bunny. When we were all still in school Bunny took a notion to have one of those disk things in the bottom part of her ear. She wasn’t sure how to do it and couldn’t afford a gold disk so she cut circles out of a plastic milk jug and worried with it and kept making the hole bigger until finally even Pauletta Dean Ray, never known to be a smothery mother type, noticed that her ear was all red and swolled up and poked the plastic milk jug plug right out and screamed at Bunny and Joe even hollered at Bunny and so that was the end of it except for the weird looking ear lobe.

Well it got on pretty late and finally Bo asked me if I would help him start his pick-up and I said “Sure, Bo” and we pushed it out onto the blacktop and he jumped in and I ran along behind pushing as well I could until he yanked it in gear and I almost went smashing into where the tail gate would be on most peoples’ trucks..and it started right up and off he went.

I forgot to tell Bo to be sure and bring the pop can back because pop cans are 45cents a pound right now but heck.. I’ll catch him next time. He generally just tosses his cans behind the seat anyway and it’s not like he’s going right home and clean out that truck!