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Fun Fourth of July

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

Well, I survived the Fourth of July with all my fingers, toes and eyes intact, so I guess I can put it in the book as a safe holiday. I also can count the nation’s birthday celebration as a fun one, too.

That’s becuz all our little extended family, with the exception of the Tennessee and Colorado members, traveled to Damphewmore Acres for three days of fun, games and celebrations. It wuz the first time ever that ol’ Nevah and I have had both of our great-grandkids and their parents and grandparents together at the same time. They also brought along their five pet dogs to join the festivities.

It wuz the first time that our great-granddaughter (13 months) and our great-grandson (3 months) had seen each other. They wore matching T-shirts that read “Cousin Squad.” It took a little while for them to warm up to each other’s company, but not too long.

Our great-granddaughter is walking everywhere and pretty much wears a perpetual smile every step of the way. She loves books, empty cardboard boxes, and banging pots and pans together to make a satisfying noise. She’s also always ready for a “lick-kiss” from any of the family canine members.

We six adults mostly were entertained by the “young ‘uns” and entertained ourselves by playing card games. We three guys put two trotlines in our pond and harvested a nice bunch of catfish and crappies. In addition, we froze homemade ice cream, picked green beans, dug new potatoes, shot off fireworks and rode four-wheelers. My son-in-law helped with some repairs and help sharpen lawn mower blades.

All in all, it wuz a great family get-together. But after everyone went home, we felt like we were in a quiet vacuum. But, the vacuum wuz filled for a couple of hours when my Missouri high school classmate, ol’ Canby Handy, stopped by on his way home from a two-day western-Kansas trip — self-described as an “escape the COVID in Kansas City journey to keep my sanity.”

I know how he felt. During the three-days our family wuz here, I purposely didn’t watch the disgusting national news. When I tuned in to the news again, I found out I didn’t miss much.

•••

Another of the old-time country-western music greats, Charlie Daniels, succumbed at the age of 81 from a stroke, not CV. Charlie Daniels was a favorite of mine because of his music, his patriotism and his unwavering support for everyone who wears a uniform. Rest in Peace, Charlie Daniels. There’ll be no Devil to challenge you to a fiddle duel in the Great Beyond.

•••

I’ve got a chicken story to tell this week. Three weeks ago I had three hens — all hatched from the same brood two years ago — who went broody on the same day. That’s highly unusual. But, I decided to try an experiment by building three small pens in my brooder house and putting down all three hens on their brood eggs on the same evening. I suspicioned at the time that’s I’d have a bit of a mess when all the chicks hatched at the same time because hens with new chicks are highly territorial and aggressive to intruders.

My suspicion was correct. One hen hatched nine chicks from 10 eggs. Another hatched eight chicks from nine eggs. The third hatched all eight eggs. So I ended up with 24 new chicks from three broods. One old hen quickly became the boss hen by flogging her two “sisters.” The next hen down the pecking order quickly lorded herself over the hen on the bottom rung of the chicken social order.

For some unexplained reason, the boss hen decided she didn’t like two chicks in another brood that were a different color. So, at her first opportunity she turned those poor chicks into the first casualties. To give them all some “social distancing” room, I opened the brooder house door the second day and gave the hens free reign in the great outdoors.

So far, so good. Today is the third day since the chicks hatched and no other casualties. But, I know they will eventually happen. I’ll be lucky if 15 of the chicks make it to maturity. Everything that eats loves chicken.

•••

I forgot to mention that I had a visit two weeks ago from a member of the unofficial “Milo Yield Fan Club.” Ol’ Jay Bierman from Rochester, Minn., looked me up on his way to Phoenix, Ariz., to help move his daughter. Unfortunately, Jay stopped on a day I wuz busy fishing, so we didn’t get to visit. If he ever stops here again, perhaps we can share a cold beverage that shares his last name.

•••

Some crazy things happen during this national CV pandemic. A neighbor, ol’ Xavier “X” Ray deBaggs, had to fly recently to a family funeral in a distant town. When “X” wuz at the airport, he wuz checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, “Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?”

To which Ray replied, “If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?”

With a happy, all-knowing smile, the airport employee nodded and replied, “That’s why we ask, sir.”

•••

Here are the words of wisdom for the week: “Some things are just better left unsaid — and I usually realize it right after I say them.” I gets me into trouble usually.

Have a good ‘un. ❖


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