Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 12-5-11 |

Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 12-5-11

Financial planning is essential if a farm or ranch estate is to be passed down to heirs without acrimony within the farmer’s family.

I heard of just such a circumstance that happened at the reading of the will of a deceased farmer.

The farmer had two sons. Each wondered if he would inherit the old man’s farm. On the day they were to find out how their father’s will read, they were sitting in the attorney’s waiting room when they began a heated session of bickering about which of them was their father’s favorite son. The ruckus was getting close to blows when they were invited by the attorney into his private office.

After a few preliminaries, the important bit came. Which son would inherit the farm – the eldest or the youngest?

The attorney cleared his throat, looked at the eldest brother and said, “Well, sir, the farm is yours. Your father’s will makes it clear.”

The eldest son immediately turned to his brother and exclaimed, “I was right. I told you all along that you were his favorite son.”


A portion of my column last week included a story sent to me about why California is in financial trouble and Texas isn’t. Well, that story prompted another reader to send a similar story about the cultural differences between California and states in the Mountain West, the High Plains and the Midwest.

You may have heard on the news that a southern California man was put under 72-hour psychiatric observation when it was found he owned 100 guns and allegedly had (by rough estimate) 1-million rounds of ammunition stored in his home. The house also featured a secret escape tunnel.

A television reporter commented about the man: “Wow! A million bullets.” The headline referred to it as a “massive weapons cache.”

By southern California standards someone even owning 100,000 rounds may be called “mentally unstable.” But, just imagine if he lived elsewhere:

In Arizona, he’d be called “an avid gun collector.”

In Arkansas and Missouri, he’d be called “a novice gun collector.”

In Utah, he’d be called “moderately well prepared,” but they’d probably reserve judgment until they made sure that he had a corresponding quantity of stored food.

In Montana, he’d be said to be “prepared for the inevitable.”

In Idaho, he’d be “a likely gubernatorial candidate.”

In Wyoming and Colorado, his moniker would be “an eligible bachelor.”

In the Dakotas and Iowa, he’d be called a guy who’d “rather be safe than sorry.”

In Texas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, he’d be a deer hunting buddy.

And, in Kansas he’d be known as “a true sportsman.”


And, from a benevolent friend in the Missouri Ozarks, comes this story.

The bartender at a backwoods tavern, sees a farmer in overalls enter his establishment and sit down at the bar. “What’ll you have?” he asks.

The farmer answers, “Why, thanks for asking. Think I’ll have a straight shot of your best bourbon, please.”

The bartender hands the farmer the full shot-glass, and says, “That’ll be $4.50.”

The farmer chokes, almost spits out the drink, and sputters, “What are you talking about? I don’t owe you anything for this. You just gave it to me.”

The local attorney, sodden with drink, is sitting nearby at the bar and overhears the conversation. He slurs at the bartender, “This feller has good legal grounds. In the original offer, which constitutes a binding contract upon acceptance, there was no stipulation of remuneration.”

The bartender was singularly unimpressed, so he says angrily to the farmer, “OK, hillbilly, you beat me out of a drink. But don’t ever let me ever catch you in here again.”

The very next day, the farmer walks into the bar again. The bartender glowers at him and yells, “What the heck are you doing back in here? I can’t believe you’ve got the audacity to come back!”

The farmer smiles pleasantly and says, “What are you talking about? I’ve never been in this place in my life!”

The bartender looks at the farmer closely and mutters, “I’m sorry, but this is uncanny. You must have a double.”  

The farmer, without missing a beat says, “Why, thank you, bartender. Make it your finest bourbon.”


I’ll quit now while your head is spinning from that story. For my closer this week, listen to the words of song writer Jerry Vale about whiskey: “Whiskey is by far the most popular of all remedies that won’t cure a cold.”

Have a good ‘un.

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