Laugh Tracks in the Dust 5-17-10
Thelma from LaGrange, Colo., finally got around to sending me an e-mail with a good story in it to share with my readers.
Thelma says my recent stories about farm-raised eggs reminded her of her childhood on the farm. She wrote:
Your egg stories reminded me of what my mother always did to check on the free range eggs we occasionally found in the wood pile, straw stack or whatever when I was growing up. If we ever brought in eggs from a nest outside of the chicken house, she would promptly put them in water. If they floated, they went out again to be pitched as far as our young arms could throw them into the pasture or where they would not contaminate the air in the house. Sometimes we even broke them in the outside toilet!
The only problem with this was that occasionally – if the egg contained a near-to-hatching chick or duckling – they did not float and the egg came with ‘meat included.’ I learned never to open such eggs without opening them into a saucer and eventually developed an ‘ear’ for the sound of the cracking, or just the feel of those eggs – usually very smooth from the constant turning of the setting hen or duck.
Thelma sez she likes to go to yard sales occasionally, but never really intend to buy much – just likes looking at other people’s junk!
That’s what I do, too, Thelma. Although a week or so ago, I did buy a nice metal fish stringer for a quarter at a garage sale.
Also, I might mention that during my callow youth, a neighbor lady named Thelma wuz almost like a “second Mom” to me!
And, from my sheep-shearing Iowegian friend, ol’ Nick deHyde, comes this story from his “Short Grass and Shallow Water” column of a month or so ago. Here’s Nick in his own words (and with his approval):
I’ve always appreciated the RFD mail system. Considering the daunting task of getting all that mail where it is intended to go, even with the recent increase of 2 cents, it seems that postage is a bargain. Folks, this week I learned the true cost of sending and receiving mail via RFD.
I’m going to tell you one story so I can tell you another story, so stay with me, it’ll be worth your time.
We’ve got a young family living down the road from us. Nice young folks, they’ve got four kids. We try to help them out when possible. We share our excess produce from the garden with them as well as a what knowledge we have about raising a family. They visit on a regular basis and I’m tickled when they do. The wife is a baker of good bread and whenever I push the snow out of their lane or share our garden bounty, she feels the need to reciprocate with a fresh loaf of bread, which I consume at a rate unapproved of by the nutritionist of our family.
The neighbor lady called recently to tell us that her family was going to Colorado on an early summer vacation and asked if I would feed the dog while they were gone. I readily agreed to do the chores while they were gone and that was that.
Here’s where the original story comes in, so shift gears and keep up.
I was down in the fields checking on the new beans the other afternoon when my cell phone rang. It was Kurt, our RFD mail man and long-time friend.
Kurt says, “Hey, I see yer missus was home today. Did she happen to bake bread this morning?’
I replied, “I don’t think so, I didn’t see any at dinner time.”
He says, “Uh oh, I was afraid of that.”
I was obviously at a disadvantage here and pressed Kurt for an explanation.
He says, “You know your Mom sometimes leaves me cookies or a piece of cake in her mail box.”
I affirmed that I knew this.
He further explained, “I got to your mail box this morning and there was a fresh, warm loaf of bread. I saw your wife’s car in the yard and figured she was home and was being domestic by baking bread and generously decided to share with me. It had been quite awhile since breakfast and that fresh bread sure tasted good, but then I got to thinking that maybe that bread wasn’t for me. This has been bothering me all day and I thought I’d better call and find out. I can sure bring back what’s left of that loaf of bread.”
Now, as you can tell, ol’ Kurt is a conscientious fellow. This situation is really bothering him. It only took a second to figure out the neighbors had left on vacation and on their way by had “prepaid” for the dog chores.
Kurt and I have been friends for along time and have partnered up on pulling more than one practical joke on friends and neighbors. Loyalty to a friendship is a great characteristic, but this was too good for me to pass up.
While unsuccessfully containing my laughter, I assured Kurt that the bread surely must have been for him, but for the next week he needed to stop and feed our young neighbor’s dog!
I could hear him turning red over the phone. After a good hard laugh, I convinced Kurt to keep the bread and enjoy it. He thought I was being generous, but I’ll trade a loaf of good bread for a good story any day of the week.
I need to send ol’ Nick a loaf of warm bread for virtually writing my column for me this week. But, I think I’ll make him come to Kansas to collect. So, until next week, remember these words of wisdom about bread from Gilbert K. Chesterton: “Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen, it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf.”
Have a good ‘un.