Laugh Tracks in the Dust 6-21-10 |

Laugh Tracks in the Dust 6-21-10

Memorial Day is just a few weeks back and for most of us that day is a somber day of remembrance and honor for our family members and friends who have preceded us over the Great Divide.

However, for my farmer friend Willie from Mt. Vernon, Mo., Memorial Day presented an opportunity for the orneriest practical joke that I’ve ever heard of.

Willie and his long-suffering spouse Connie had a three-day gig in Parsons, Kan., to provide toy train rides and serve caramel popcorn to children attending the Memorial Day festivities.

So, on the day before they left, Willie decided to play a practical joke on his family members and friends. First, he loaded up a wheelbarrow load of dirt into his pickup, along with a sheet of plastic about 3-feet wide and 6-feet long.

Then he went to the cemetery where he and Connie already have their gravestones set in preparation for their eventual Long Journey. He spread the plastic sheet on top of his future grave, carefully covered it with the fresh dirt from his pickup, and topped off his “new grave” with a few wilted peonies from some growing in the cemetery. Then he looked with satisfaction at his handiwork and smilingly left to see what the consequences would be.

Now, I should mention that in Willie’s family there’s a long-standing tradition of “die today, bury tomorrow” with no embalming of the deceased. Everyone who knows the family knows about this “get it over quick” practice.

As Willie so artfully sez, “Why make everyone mope around, crying and grieving for three days when the results ain’t gonna change? Folks might as well get right along with their lives. There’s work and play to be done!”

So, after he and Connie arrive in Parsons and got set up for the festivities, Connie’s cell phone rings and a friend from back in Mt. Vernon says she’s so sorry about Willie dying. Connie – who wasn’t tipped off by her loving hubby – replies, “He ain’t dead. He’s standing right here beside me in Parsons, Kan.”

The friend replies, “But what about Willie’s fresh grave in the cemetery?”

Connie answers, “I don’t know nuthing about that, but I do know he ain’t dead.” Then as the probability of a practical joke in progress enters her mind, she adds, “But he might be before long.”

Meanwhile back home, Willie and Connie’s sons are baling hay and the baler’s broke down in the field and they’re fixing it. That’s when a neighbor stops by and mournfully acknowledges to the boys his sorrow at their dad’s unexpected, and recent, passing.

The boys insist that ol’ dad wuz just fine when he left with their mom for Parsons, Kan. Then, the neighbor explains that while he wuz decorating graves in the cemetery, he saw Willie’s fresh grave. The boys quickly put two and two together and figger their old dad has been up to his normal ornery self – only a little more so this time.

I know this story is true becuz Willie e-mailed me pictures of his fresh “grave” and headstone. He said upon returning home, he wuz pleased to receive a few sympathy cards in the mail, but “I’m a little disappointed that no one brought any good food over for the family to enjoy.”

Willie sez that he’s betting he’s one of the few people on the planet who is still alive after his “death and burial.”


That story reminds me to mention that a few months ago ol’ Nevah and I bit the bullet and we, too, bought and installed our headstones for the inevitable day we need them. I think you might enjoy the epitaph that I have engraved on mine. It reads: “I figgered it out. Livin’ causes dyin’.” And, that’s the truth if I ever said it.

I think my stone looks real nice with my name and the jumping bass and flying quail that I had engraved along with my epitaph.


One last subject that I want to cover before I close for this week is new gas cans. Have you bought a new gas can recently?

Well, I have and I can tell you that I got mad as heck when I did because the government – in all its infinite wisdom – has mandated that for safety’s sake, every gas can sold has to have a “safe” spout to pour the gasoline out of.

If there wuz ever a Mickey Mouse contraption built, it’s the government’s new safety spout. You need to be a mechanical engineer to figger out how to use the spring-loaded contraption. And, I guarantee that it’s much more dangerous and will cause more pain and injury than the old simple spout ever did. When did the government start thinking Americans ain’t got enuf sense to safely pour gas from a can? Just recently, I guess when some bureaucrat got a brain cramp!


Well, I won’t cramp your style any longer this week. I’ll close with these simple words of “wisdom” about energy from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: “I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels. Natural gas is cheap, abundant and clean compared to fossil fuels.”

Hum-m-m. I always thought natural gas wuz a fossil fuel. Guess I don’t think as clearly as Miss Nancy.

Have a good ‘un.