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Dealing with loss

Milo Yield
Laugh Tracks in the Dust, Damphewmore Acres, Kan.

In the last week or so, I had to part company with two long-time friends. Happily, neither parting wuz sad. However, one was a bit painful. And the other wuz just a pain in the butt.

Confused? Well, let me explain. The first old friend I parted with wuz an inseparable part of my life ever since I wuz a little kid — more than 70 years ago. It wuz an upper-jaw molar tooth that my dentist, ol’ Doc Polk N. Prodd, couldn’t save and had to yank. It wuz a bit painful, but everything came out fine and I’m well on my way to figgering out how to eat without it. However, I have to admit, losing that toothy friend did leave a noticeable vacant place in my life.

The second old friend I parted ways with wuz Dish-Net TV. I’d been faithful friends and customers of Dish-Net for about as long as the company has been in bizness. But, for some unfathomable reason Dish could not, or would not, come to contract terms to televise the Kansas City Royals baseball team — for the second year in a row. Plus, the costs kept going up and the service kept going down. So, we switched to Dish’s main competitor — DirecTV. It carries the Royals and is cheaper, too, with more channels. That’s what happens to companies who forget the most important bizness fundamental — customer satisfaction comes first.



***

Finally got my big brush pile burned before the April 1 deadline. In Chase County you cannot get permission to burn a brush pile in April. If not burned in March, you have to wait until grass green-up after May 1.



I also planted my first spuds and onions in my raised beds. Also got my purple martin bird houses placed and am just waiting for their arrival.

Everyone seems to think spring has sprung for good. But, I keep telling them “not yet. My fruit trees have yet to bloom and they always get frozen out.”

***

This is a supposedly true rural story from decades ago when community corn shelling events about this time of the year were still common. The teller tells me it’s not exactly a tall tale, but nearly as good as one. Here’s his first person story:

“It was on a cold, windy Saturday in March. I drove to my neighbor Homer’s place to do shop work on some steam engine parts. When I arrived, I found that the neighbors had called and Homer was all loaded up to go corn shelling with his ‘custom rig.”

“You had to see that old Ottawa sheller to appreciate it. It was mounted on the back of a pre-war International truck. No doors — the seat gone on the driver’s side (except for springs covered with old gunny sacks) — plastic bottles of coolant — tools — oil — rags — and grease guns completed the cab furnishings.

“Scoop shovels and rakes were tucked here and there on the sheller body. I got volunteered to be a ‘scooper’ for the day’s work.

“Now, Homer was a big man, always full of advice and deathly afraid of snakes — any snake, big or small, long or short.

“The shelling went fine through the morning and we ate a first class home cooked noon meal. About 3 p.m., one of the guys moving some boards near the crib (to give kids and dogs better access to a diminishing rat population) found a big, cold bullsnake coiled-up under the pile.

“With everyone except Homer ‘in-the-know,’ the still-stiff snake was carefully placed under the first layer of gunny sacks that made up the driver’s seat of the sheller. When the work was done and goodbyes said, Homer swung into the cab and started rattle-trapping slowly down the long lane.

“And we all waited, and waited. Then it happened. Just before the sheller reached the mailbox, some of the heat from Homer’s posterior must have reached and awoken the snake. The old International contraption jerked to a halt. Homer shelled out of the cab like a large Swedish cannonball, and ran to the back of the rig swearing loud enough to turn the air blue and grabbing for a corn rake.

“By the time Homer got done flailing that snake (and had cooled off temperamentally enough for us to approach), the sheller’s seat springs were strewn all over the lane and ditch. Nothing was left on the driver’s side of the cab.

“I don’t think the snake made it either.”

***

That story qualifies for one of my A-1 Mental Home Videos. So does this one from the early days of TV:

The wife of middle-aged farmer often went to sleep in the evening in front of the TV. One evening about 10 o’clock when she wuz snoozing away, her thoughtful hubby turned out the living room lights, turned the TV to a channel that had nuthin’ but a buzz and a snowy screen pattern on it, then re-set the prominent living room clock to say 5:45 a.m.

Finished with the prep, hubby then gently nudged and awakened his dear wifey. “Time to get up,” he whispered in her ear.

His wife just couldn’t believe that it wuz morning already. She didn’t feel at all rested. But, like a grumbling trooper, she trooped out to the kitchen to make morning coffee. Only then did she notice the kitchen clock read 10 p.m.

Hubby couldn’t keep from laughing at his prank. His dear wife? Not so much.

***

Wise words for the week: It’s gonna be a bad day when your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles. Have a good ‘un.


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