Laugh tracks in the dust

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With Christmas happily in my rear-view mirror, New Year’s Eve is in my

headlights and the New Year 2015 is stretching out to the horizon. Ain’t none of us

got a guarantee about the new year, but here’s hopin’ that we all make it through in

health, happiness, peace and prosperity.

My neighbor, ol’ Harley Ryder, ended the year with a bit of self-made, but

inadvertent, excitement.

Several years ago Harley bought a piece of land that needed some

maintenance. So, he’s cleaned out the unwanted trees and brush, built some new

fence, and finally, he got down to disposing of a dilapidated old shed on the

property. The shed was good sized and it had a corrugated metal roof. Harley

decided burning the shed and hauling off the remnants was the easiest solution. So

he set the shed on fire and kept a close watch as it slowly burned to the ground.

As the ashes smoldered and cooled, Harley made an interesting discovery —

the roof on the shed was actually comprised of three layers. The original metal roof

was comprised entirely of metal advertising signs — for Quaker State Oil, Texaco,

animal feeds, farm equipment, etc. He probably destroyed a small fortune in

antique signs that the American Pickers folks would have loved to buy.

And, over the metal signs, the second roof layer was composition shingles,

over which someone had eventually installed the corrugated metal. However, by the

time the discovery wuz made, Harley’s shed wuz nuthin’ but a pile of ashes, coals,

nails, and rusty, scorched metal.

Now, Harley has a ditch on his main farm, which is about 10 miles from his

new property. He decided to haul the shed debris on his flatbed pickup and bury the

stuff in the ditch as a land reclamation project. The truck has a metal bed, but the

sideboards are made of wooden 2 x 10s.

So, he used his front-end loader to scoop up a load of shed debris to haul

home. However, about a mile down the road, the pile of debris began to smoke and

then he saw flames nipping at the wooden sideboards on his truck bed.

Now he had a dilemma on his hands. With no water to douse the flames and

still miles away from his unloading site, Harley had to decide whether to drive

slowly to keep from fanning the fire, or drive fast to get to the dump site faster. He

finally decided to just drive the speed limit.

***

Happily, Harley made the trip to the ditch successfully, but he did scorch his

wooden sideboards from stem to stern and in one place they burned through. He

noted that his trip did draw the attention of a lot of drivers he met on the road who

went through a lot of hand gyrations to draw his attention to his mobile “fire” truck.

Okay, I’ve got a two rather embarrassing, personal stories that I’d be remiss

if I didn’t share with my readers, since I seldom miss an opportunity to tell such

stories on others.

First, (and, I might add, this seems to happen at least once a winter as I

perceptibly age) I bought some new long johns and the first morning I wore them I

discovered to my dismay that I’d put them on backwards. Now that became more

than a little inconvenient when my morning coffee made its presence felt.

The second funny story I’m finding difficult to describe in a delicate way.

Let’s start by explaining that the “situation” wuz caused by faulty manufacturer’s

design on a new pair of brown overalls I bought for $35 a few months ago. The first

time I wore them, I discovered that the zipper fly wuz sewn into the overalls much

too high to allow for comfortable normal bodily function.

Well, I thought I could live with the situation, but that proved not to be the

case. Finally, I told ol’ Nevah that unless she could use her considerable skills as a

seamstress to lower the fly location on those new overalls, I wuz going to either

make new rags to use in the shop or give the duds to Goodwill.

Voila! Nevah to the rescue. She ripped out the ill-conceived fly and lowered it

to the location it should have been in the first place. Now I can wear and “use” my

new overalls in comfort. I laughed and told her that she that she ought to start

making a new line of men’s overalls and call them “EZP Overalls.”

Members of a 4-H Club were out collecting bottles for a fund raising charity

activity. One ambitious young man knocked on a door and a sour-faced, wizened

lady came to the door and barked out, “What do you want, Sonny?”

“D-d-do you have any beer bottles for our 4-H Club fund raiser, ma’am?” the

lad stammered.

“Look here, young man, do I look like the kind of lady who would drink beer?”

replied the lady.

“S-s-sorry, Ma’am,” was his reply. “W-w-what about vinegar bottles?”

My words of wisdom this week are about charity. The first come from the late

Bob Hope. He said, “If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you’ve got the

worst kind of heart trouble.” And novelist Jack London said, “A bone to the dog is

not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as

the dog.”

I’m not sure that my charity meets Mr. London’s high standard. However, I

can wish everyone a Happy New Year without reservation. Hope your New Year’s

Eve is/wuz a good ‘un.

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