Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 8-1-11
It’s hot! Sizzling, searing, scorching, scalding hot! The temperature has been above 100 degrees and up to 108 for nearly two weeks – and there’s no relief in sight. The crops have tanked in the last few days and the grass in my yard is crunchy.
Ol’ Nevah and I had to replace our old 20-year-old-plus deep freezer. The old one stressed out trying to keep up with the heat. My little chicken flock is dropping by about a hen every other day from heat stroke. I’m watering our garden, but I fear it’s a losing proposition.
We may be headed for the mid-1950s again, and, if so, the end result won’t be pretty. The year 1955 was the year of my youth when the Yields and all their neighbors who lived near the Osage River in southeast Kansas got together and seined the river, which wuz drying up. We captured a couple of barrels of fish and my mother and all the others ladies canned the fish. That canned fish was a major part of our winter rations that year.
The ponds and the Cottonwood River in our neighborhood are far from dry at present, but that could change in just a few more months like this one.
The hot weather prompted a good friend to e-mail me some “it’s so hot that” stories. Some of them are old, some new, and some recycled.
My friend said he was visiting online with a buddy out at Elk City, Okla., and his buddy swore he’d killed a mosquito that was carrying a canteen.
He said in southwestern Oklahoma, the chicken farmers were giving their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs.
And, he claimed that last week in Oklahoma City a man saw a fire hydrant bribing a dog.
And, in Hefner Lake, also near Oklahoma City, a feller caught a 20-pound catfish that had ticks on it!
I can believe all those stories because here at Damphewmore Acres the barn swallows left becuz they couldn’t find any mud for their nests. Same story for the mud-dauber wasps.
And, a neighbor sat down on his plastic seat covers and got second-degree burns on his butt.
Another old boy put a bunch of quail eggs in his incubator and had to install air conditioner in the incubator so the eggs would keep cool enuf to hatch.
But the worst story I heard wuz about the old boy who put up 100 plastic-twine-wrapped big round bales of prairie hay and the twine melted on the bales right in the field before he could haul them to storage.
And, just think, it’s still July and we have August and September to endure.
But, enuf about whining and complaining about the weather. Let’s switch to another topic that can get just about as hot. I’m talking about marriage.
A farmer and his wife had been married for 30 years. That evening, after all the chores were done, they were preparing to go to town for an anniversary meal. As they were getting dressed to go out, the wife looked lovingly at her husband and said, “When we were on our honeymoon, I remember you calling me the most beautiful woman in the world. Now that we’ve been married for 30 years, how would you describe me now?”
Her husband looked her slowly up and down and then said, “You’re A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K.”
She responded, “What does that mean?”
He replied, “Adorable, Beautiful, Cute, Delightful, Elegant, Foxy, Gorgeous and Hot.”
She smiled happily and said, “Oh, that’s so lovely … what about I, J, K?”
He replied, “I’m Just Kidding!”
He had just a little red welt under his eye at their anniversary meal in town.
On the same marriage subject, a rancher is sitting at home alone when he hears a knock on the front door.
When he opens the door, he encounters two sheriff’s deputies, one of whom asks if he is married and, if so, whether the deputy can see a picture of the wife.
The rancher says “sure” and shows the deputy a picture of his wife.
The deputy looks carefully at the picture and then gravely says, “I’m sorry sir, but it looks like your wife’s been hit by a truck.”
The rancher says, “I know, but she has a great personality, is an excellent cook, and lets me go team roping whenever I want!”
It’s too hot to go on any longer with this column. I need to get closer to the air conditioner. So, I’ll close with a few words from actor/cowboy Wilfred Brimley about how badly ranchers want and enjoy seclusion for their homes. He said, “I live on a ranch in Utah for now, but I’m gonna move. I’ve got another ranch to move to, but its location is a secret. When I get there, I’m gonna plow the road in behind me.”
Ol’ Wilfred wouldn’t be able to get a plow in the ground around here, but I still appreciate his words. No traffic seclusion is a fine alternate to traffic congestion.
Stay cool and have a good ‘un – perhaps a cold beer.
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This the first in a six-part series of articles covering basic water law in the United States, predominately in the western part of the country, and how it affects this finite resource.