Laugh Tracks in the Dust 8-10-09 |

Laugh Tracks in the Dust 8-10-09

I got a long letter from the owner of Snakey Acres in Sparta, Mo. After reading the story, I understand why the farm earned its name. Here’s the story:

Milo, I have another true snake story for you to pass along to your readers. I have a large 2-foot by 2.5-foot picture of a wild turkey painted by a friend’s son. I keep it on the fireplace mantle.

I was sitting in my rocking chair in front of the fireplace when the turkey picture fell across my lap. The frame broke apart and the glass broke. I slowly raised the picture up, glanced up to where the picture had fallen from, and there on the hearth lay a black snake. It’s scales were standing up, it’s head looked puffed up, and its eyes were big – like it was mad.

I eased out of my rocking chair and headed for the door to get my tree pruners. I use that tool as a snake killer. I thought the pruners were outside the door. Not so! So, I headed for the pickup to get them.

When I got back in the house, no snake could I find. And, I haven’t seen it since. But, I’ve slept in the house with a flashlight close by ever since.

Once I was told peacocks keep snakes away. But, I have peacocks, so I guess that story’s not true. I also once heard that snakes can flatten out and go under a house door. That one may be true and how my black snake entered and exited my home.


Summer is the time for canning and freezing garden produce. It’s also the time to use homegrown veggies for dishes at community events. Sometimes what happens is both funny, and unfortunate. This is a true story that proves the point.

A big community event called for someone to make a lot of coleslaw for the crowd to eat. A public-minded female citizen volunteered for the job.

So, she collected heads and heads of fresh cabbage, sliced them, seasoned them, and turned them into a huge mound of coleslaw.

That’s about when a huge thunderstorm conspired to drench the area of the big event and hit it with a deluge. Consequently, the event wuz canceled.

Now the coleslaw maker had a dilemma. What to do with the huge container of coleslaw? She knew her husband and her wouldn’t make a dent in the volume.

So, she did the logical thing. At least it seemed logical at the time. She put nearly the entire amount of slaw through the garbage disposal – thinking it would flush down into the septic tank.

Wrong! The coleslaw lodged somewhere in the drain pipe running beneath the family’s basement cement floor. Then overnight, the cabbage swelled up and plugged the drain tight. Real tight! You might say, the pipe suffered from about the worst kind of drain constipation.

Come morning and nothing would go down the drain and the line backed up clear to the kitchen sink. That’s when an emergency call went out to the local plumber.

He sized up the situation, unsuccessfully ran a Roto Rooter into the drain, and then gave the family two options: One, be patient and treat the drain with a chemical drain unclogger and hope it would eventually open up the drain, or, second, get a jackhammer and tear up the basement floor so he could find the plug.

They opted for the first option. They faithfully poured the drain cleaner into the line every few hours and waited for results. They didn’t happen the first day, but on the second day some of the backed-up water disappeared down the drain.

Slowly, but surely, the drain cleaner softened up and disintegrated the cabbage until finally the plumber’s Roto Rooter pushed through and opened up the clogged line completely.

The lesson learned from the story reminded me of a similar incident that happened long ago in my marriage to Nevah. She plugged our drain trap with carrot peelings when she wuz canning carrots. I wuz able to unclog our drain by removing the trap and cleaning it out.

So, my advice is to feed all veggie leftovers to a flock of chickens. They don’t get plugged up very often – and if they do, you still don’t have to pay a plumber.


We’ve been enjoying an incredible stretch of cool summer weather. During our Chase County Fair, the temps seldom got into the 80s and mostly in the 70s. Plus, we got a nice shower to boot.

I know – the corn, soybeans, and sorghum need more heat units than they’ve been getting. That said, I’ve still appreciated the absence of heat units in July. We’ll probably make up for all that lost heat in August.


If I don’t quit now, you might get hot under the collar for my intrusion into your evening nap time. So, I’ll close with these patriotic words from former President and Founding Father John Adams: “Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society … As much as I converse with sages and heroes, they have very little of my love and admiration. I long for rural and domestic scene, for the warbling of birds and the prattling of my children.”

Have a good ‘un.

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