Laugh Tracks in the Dust 10-18-10
October 18, 2010
A Minnesota reader sent me this story that’s both sad, funny, and (I guess) a precautionary tale about rural romance in the modern age.
As he tells the story, a farm boy struck up a hot romance with a ritzy big city gal. Over time, the guy senses a cooling of their relationship and eventually he suspects that his girlfriend is two-timing him.
One evening the girlfriend won’t answer her cell phone when he tries to call her. The boyfriend remembers that his gal has a Buick car with the Onstar service. So, he calls Onstar and tells the operator, “I got a bit tipsy last night in the bar and I had a friend drive me home just to be on the safe side. But, now I can’t remember where I parked my car. Could you tell me where my car is at?”
Of course, the helpful operator tells him the exact address where “his” car is at that moment.
When the farm boy drives to that address, he discovers what he’d suspected. His soon-to-be-ex girlfriend wuz smooching it up with another guy at a high-class restaurant.
I guess this story illustrates that farm kids are more resourceful and gifted with common sense than they are usually given credit for by the more urbane folks amongst us.
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Last week, ol’ Nevah and I traveled down to Tulsa, Okla., to visit some friends, take some homemade grub to our granddaughter who attends college there, enjoy a concert by country music star Jamey Johnson, get a little Western heritage culture at the Gilcrease Museum in T-Town and at the Woolaroc Museum and Heritage Center west of Bartlesville.
I’ve got to mention a bit about the concert. Jamey Johnson is a redneck’s redneck with a lion’s mane of black hair and beard. And, the crowd could pretty much be defined as Okie rednecks – only clean cut. That’s why I fit in so well.
Johnson’s music lyrics are clever and fun to listen to – provided you wear two ear plugs as I did. Otherwise, be prepared to lose you hearing within the first half-hour.
I must add that his band members are perfect illustrations of what you wouldn’t want your kids or grandkids to become. His lead guitarist wuz a prime example of a chain-smoking soul traveling through life in the wrong lane. But, he entertained me by lighting up a cigarette about every five minutes, taking a drag and then wedging the rest of the still-smoking butt in his guitar strings. Picture him: Thin and wiry, long scraggly hair and mustache, long beard tied up in a pigtail, stocking cap (adorned with a 1960s peace emblem) pulled low down over his eyes, and a constant cigarette smoldering between his lips or on the head of his guitar. But, I will give the guy this: He plays a mean guitar.
On our way home from Tulsa, ol’ Nevah and I took the scenic route through the southern Flint Hills from Claremore, to Collinsville, to Skiatook, to Barnsdall, to Pawhuska, and through the Kansas towns of Chautauqua, Sedan, Moline, Howard, Severy, Climax, Hamilton, Madison and Olpe. It was a beautiful drive – particularly the drive from Skiatook to Barnsdall which went smack through thousands of well-manicured mature pecan trees. I don’t know if there will be a big crop of pecans this fall, but if there isn’t, it won’t be because there ain’t enuf trees.
One final funny from our brief travels. We ate lunch at Garrett’s Country Store and Grill at Barnsdall. The pleasant waitress took our order at the counter and when she brought our food and the ticket a bit later, I noticed she had written on the bottom: “Couple. Dark top. Overalls.”
Well, that pretty well described ol’ Nevah and me, but when I went to pay the tab, I told the waitress she should have been a diplomat. When she looked puzzled, I explained that she could have been more truthful in describing us as “Ugly, pot-bellied old codger in overalls, sitting with cute chick in dark top.”
The waitress got a good laugh out of that. One more thing, I noticed on the hand-written chalk menu that if you bring your church bulletin to Garrett’s next Sunday, you’ll get a free ice cream cone for dessert with your meal.
I love small-town America.
And, I suspect that you’d love for me to quit filling up my columns with my personal travelogues. So, I’ll quit for this week with a couple of wise quotes about small town. The first one is from an anonymous source who said: “The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don’t know what you’re doing, someone else does.” The other is from former CBS newsman Charles Kuralt who said: “To read the papers and to listen to the news … one would think the country is in terrible trouble. You do not get that impression when you travel the back roads and the small towns and find the folks there do care about their country and wish it well.”
Have a good ‘un.