Syndicated column of Rural Humor
Thought And Laugh Enterprises (TALES)
All the hard work in our gardens is starting to pay off. In addition to radishes, lettuce, and broccoli, we’re now enjoying new creamed peas with new potatoes. Yum!
Not only that, ol’ Nevah picked our first ripe tomato of the season this morning and I know — after decades of uninterrupted years of gardening — it’s the first ripe tomato we’ve ever picked during June. We’ll let it ripen more for a day or two before we slice it and savor that much-anticipated new-tomato tangy first-bite.
Of course, as Mother Nature is prone to do, she offsets the good things with some bad. In this case, all the lush green growth, plus temperatures in the 90s and humidity about as high, has concocted the perfect environment for a good crop of pesky, itchy chiggers. Then throw in what looks to be a bumper crop of grasshoppers this year. There are so many hoppers this season that I’m not sure my chicken flock can gobble up enuf to protect my gardens. Oh, well, at the very least the hopper glut is already cutting down the feed bill for the flock.
Sometimes the things that adults teach innocent little children to do — for the adults’ enjoyment or amusement — are questionable. But they still can be funny and I have a perfect true story to prove the point.
My good ol’ buddy, Canby Handy, decided last week to get an old co-worker of his and attend a Kansas City Royals afternoon baseball game. After all, for the first time all season the Royals were on a winning streak.
After parking his car, Canby wuz walking towards the stadium when he spotted a young man and his son (probably three years old) walking ahead of him.
The youngster wuz sporting a cap and T-short emblazoned with the logo of Canby’s favorite college team — a wildcat.
Never one to miss a chance to strike up a conversation with strangers, Canby caught up with the youngster and complimented him on his cap and T-shirt.
The boy shyly acknowledged Canby’s compliment and then the dad piped up, “Yeah, he’s a big wildcat fan. Watch this.” Then the dad said to his son, “Show the man how a wildcat looks.” The youngster took his cue and made a snarly face, made his fingers into make-believe claws, and then emitted a loud “Gr-r-r-r-r!”
Canby told the kid he did a wonderful impersonation of a wildcat. And then the kid’s dad winked at Canby, leaned down to his son and said, “Show the man how a ________________ looks.” (You can insert any two college names and mascots you please when you retell this story.)
Anyway, again on cue, the cute kid sticks his finger up one nostril, pulls his finger out of his nose and nonchalantly looks for a booger.
Canby and the dad had a big laugh while the kid stood by and wondered what wuz so funny. Like I said, highly questionable exploitation of a child’s innocence, but still funny.
Now to another true story that’s not so funny. I recently looked at an internet website (openthebooks.com) that listed the top 100 salaries paid to Department of Veterans Affairs employees at the VA in Phoenix — and listed their names. The list came from public records.
Folks, the top 100 annual salaries ranged from $357,528 at the top to $217,404. The website went on to list all the employee salaries for the VA in Arizona. I didn’t bother to add all the VA salaries up, but it had to total in the tens of millions of dollars.
Reflecting on those salaries made me wonder — when in my lifetime did federal employment become an entitled means of becoming independently wealthy during a normal working career?
I once worked for the federal government myself and I had a mentor who impressed on me that anyone working on the taxpayers’ dime had a sacred duty to be diligent about what the taxpayers got for their investment.
Sadly, those days appear to be long gone.
A good friend from Washington state sent me a picture of a “redneck doorbell” that he suggested might work well on our home here at Damphewmore Acres.
The picture showed a large-jawed, spring-loaded steel animal trap attached to a front door. The trap is set and ready to snap shut upon the slightest touch of the bait-pan trigger.
The sign on the door read: “Redneck Doorbell. Push button. We’ll hear ya’.”
I might just get me one on those doorbells. I wish someone would invent a similar device to deter unsolicited phone callers.
Since I mentioned chiggers in this column and chiggers are insects, let me leave this column with a couple of quotes about bugs. Some guy named Tim Cahill said, “In my life outdoors, I’ve observed that animals of almost any variety will stand in a windy place rather than in a protected, windless area infested with biting insects. They would rather be annoyed by the wind than bitten.” And, humorist Bill Vaughan said, “We hope that, when insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on picnics.”
I doubt insects will be grateful. They’ll just be sorry a meal is gone.” Have a good ‘un.