I should have figgered as much. Just let ol’ Nevah and me leave Damphewmore Acres for a nine-day vacation to Tennessee for our grandson Chance’s high school graduation and, when we return, the entire place — heck, the entire Flint Hills — has done a one hundred-eighty degree turn.
When we left, we had adequate surface moisture, still needed runoff, the gardens were virtually weed-free, the grass wuz manicured, and the poultry flock numbered 70 roosters, pullets and hens.
Now fast forward nine days when we returned: The entire Flint Hills are saturated and flooding. Damphewmore Acres is a quagmire. The pond has gone around the spillway 2-3 feet deep. The gardens are a weedy, mucky mess. The lawn is tall enuf to bale. And, worst of all, the chicken flock now numbers 24.
Yep, we experienced a poultry plunder, a feathered massacre, a clucker carnage, an “eggtermination,” if you will. Thanks to the unfortunate circumstance of two canine escapees from their kennels, our poultry flock was decimated.
It wuzn’t anybody’s fault. It wuz a bad accidental situation all around. The worst part was my good neighbor Harley Ryder had to clear the bloody, feathered battleground, tend to the wounded and the traumatized.
But, it’s just one of those things that happen when you raise free-range poultry in the country and I’ve been lucky for 10 years.
If we get lucky again, we’ll rebuilt the flock and by winter be back in the egg-selling bizness. That’s the good thing about chickens. They’re not as expensive to replace as cows, sheep, goats and horses.
Now, if it will only stop raining and dry up for a few days, we’ll finish the grass mowing, get the gardens hoed and the tomatoes caged.
Thankfully, it wuzn’t all dismal news when we returned home because the broccoli produced a great first crop, we dug our first new potatoes, and the second planting of radishes and lettuce are producing heavily.
Now for a little recount of our trip. We headed towards Tennessee via the southern Missouri route. It wuz pretty uneventful until we reached the Poplar Bluff/Sikeston region. Then it started raining and drenched us all the way to Paducah, Ky.
We overnighted there and headed east toward Bowling Green early the next morning, but had scarcely got started before it started raining again and I never turned off the windshield wipers until we crossed Kentucky, dropped south and got to within 25 miles of Knoxville, Tenn.
Much of the day’s travel wuz in a downpour, but when we reached our kinfolk in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., it wuz 80 degrees, sunny and muggy. It wuz great to see our daughter Tiny, her hubby Sparse, and the grandkids — Chance, Paltry, Scanty, and May Bea. We arrived in plenty of time for Chance’s private graduation party.
During our 5-day stay in Pigeon Forge, we enjoyed going to Dollywood, taking in our granddaughter’s track field day, and really got a kick out of a visit from long-time friends, Bolden and Fancie Kitchens, who drove down from Banner Elk, N. C., at the the top of the Smoky Mountains. We’ve been friends for 50 years and always pick up our friendship just like it wuz yesterday. I admit, we ate and imbibed more than any dietitian would recommend.
Speaking of eating, Nevah and I said we’d gift grandson Chance with a graduation meal of his choice with the price of the meal not a consideration. He wuz a bit taken aback by the offer, but finally decided on a nice wood grill restaurant.
We chuckled when he ordered two filet mignons with all the trimmings and wolfed them down in record time. Did I mention he’s got an 18-year-old’s appetite?
Every time I’m in Pigeon Forge, I buy some new music CDs at a music discount store. I wuz in luck this trip as the store had moved to a new location and, for its new grand opening, it had a 25% discount on all music and merchandise. Folks, I got 12 new CDs for less than $35. Now that’s a bargain!
At Chance’s graduation, we joined hundreds of other proud parents, grandparents, siblings and friends at the Gatlinburg Civic Center for the mortar board tossing celebration. I’ll mention that the 140 graduates garnered more than $5.2 million in advanced education aids, scholarships and grants. Happily, Chance got his fair share to use attending Belmont University in Nashville for his undergraduate studies.
We made a three-day trip out of our return to the Flint Hills. First day we stopped to tour Belmont University, then made our way to Memphis and shopped and gawked at the huge Mud Island Pyramid — which is now a newly-opened Bass Pro Shops and a Ducks Unlimited Waterfowl Heritage Center. It’s worth the stop.
We overnighted at Jonesboro, Ark., and took a crooked northern Arkansas route through Mountain Home. I’ll talk about that stop next week. From there we went to congested Eureka Springs, so we drove on to Carthage, MO, for the night. The next day wuz an easy drive home, with a stop in Yates Center to visit with brother-in-law Charl Lay about his recent medical adventures.
I’ll close with these anonymous words of wisdom: “If today is the worst day of your life, then there’s about 100 percent chance tomorrow will be better.” Have a good ‘un.