In a Sow’s Ear
“Country folk are different,” Letty intoned solemnly. “Leonard and I almost got arrested by a Big City law officer just because we’re country folk.”
“Really,” I said, “for what? Were you under the influence?”
“Heavens no, but maybe it would have helped. We drove to Des Moines where our daughter and son-in-law lives.”
“That sounds innocent enough,” I said.
“You’d think so,” said Letty, “but the farther east we went, the more people stared.”
“Stared? At what?”
“Us. We were driving a pickup. We were an oddity.”
“Oh, come on,” I said, “not that unusual, surely.”
“Well,” said Letty, “it might have been because we had a stockrack on the back.”
“Still,” I sympathized, “that shouldn’t have been so out of the ordinary.”
“Maybe it was Penelope that caused the staring,” said Letty thoughtfully.
“Our milk goat. See, my daughter, Gladys’, youngest is allergic to cow’s milk, so Len and I decided to give Penelope to her. Gladys and Bruce live in the suburbs, but they have a nice big back yard with a shed. Big enough for a goat; and Gladys has known how to milk a cow or a goat since she was a tot herself. Of course, Bruce is a city man. The only livestock he’s familiar with are gerbils and goldfish. But he agreed to have Penelope, so that’s why Len and I were nearly arrested.”
“You’ve got me confused,” I said. “Explain!”
Letty sighed. “We had pulled in at a rest stop when a patrol car cruised by. The patrolman did a U turn and drove in next to us. He saw the .30-.30 in the gun rack in the window. We told him it’s where everybody parks a rifle in a truck. Besides, it wasn’t loaded. Then, Rover came dashing up.”
“Sure, Rover. Our Border Collie. He was with us. Couldn’t leave him home alone. Besides, the grandkids wanted to see him. He rode in the back with Penelope. They get along unless Penelope tries to eat his dogfood. When the patrolman started talking to us, Rover was off doing his business in the rest-stop grass.”
“So, didn’t the patrolman like dogs?” I asked.
“I don’t know, but Rover didn’t care for the patrolman. He tried to herd him away from the pickup ” nipped the man’s heels. I hollered at Rover to load up, Lenny opened the tailgate and Rover jumped in.”
“So then what,” I said, choking with laughter.
“Oh, the patrolman let us go on our way, but not before he took our names and addresses, our daughter and husband’s names and how long did we plan to stay in Des Moines. I think he radioed the authorities there. Probably thought we were terrorists or something.”
“Yeah, right,” I said, “you’re a threat to Homeland Security, for sure. So, did you get the goat delivered?”
“We did,” said Letty smiling. “Penelope is now a happy suburbanite.” Letty’s smile dimmed. “But I don’t think our son-in-law, Bruce, is too thrilled. He’d just acquired a new automobile ” bright red, I might add. He made the mistake of parking it in the back yard. Later, he discovered Penelope walking around on the roof of the car, her sharp hooves making little pockmarks. She’d eaten the decorative stripe off the door, too.
“As Lenny and I and Rover left, our daughter was trying to console her husband. He was leaning on his shiny red car, crying. “Like I said, country folk are different.”
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