A bunch of old true “rural funnies” rolled into my realm this week. These first stories come from ol’ Ree Call at Westphalia, Kan. He remembered a long-ago funny story from the youth of a long-deceased, but well remembered, 4-H Club leader.
When the guy in the story wuz a kid, he came into ownership of a slick little first car. He loved to drive it along the rural roads with his friends, but, alas, that required gas money, which none of the youngsters had.
So, the kid resorted to bamboozlery. Since the car owner was well known as a “good kid” by everyone in the community, the kid took advantage of his good name with a well-rehearsed scam.
While driving the country roads, even if his car had plenty of gas in the tank, the boy would kill the motor on his car and walk to a nearby farm home and claim to the farmer that he’d ran out of gas and would like to borrow a “gallon or two” to get everyone riding with him home safely. Of course, he politely guaranteed to repay the farmer for his “borrowed gas.”
Quite naturally, the farmer would oblige the kid with some gas, and, as a goodwill gesture, say there wuz no need to repay — just “watch the gas gauge.”
Well, this little “gas rustling” ruse worked for quite a while — until the neighbors started telling each other about the kid running out of gas so often. Finally, word got around the community, but the kid didn’t have a clue the neighbors were “on” to his gas guzzling scheme.
So, one night while cruising around with his buddies, the kid decided to pull his trick again. So, he killed the motor and walked to a nearby farm house and explained his “gas less” plight to the seemingly sympathetic farmer. However, when the kid offered to take only “a gallon or two,” the neighbor one-upped him. He offered a full five gallon can of gas and, on top of that, insisted that he’d take the kid and the gas to his car and put the gas in the tank so he could bring his gas can home.
There was nothing the kid could do except sound grateful and ride back to his car with the thoughtful neighbor and watch painfully as the neighbor tipped up the 5-gallon can of gas and the fuel tank immediately overflowed on to the gravel road,
The farmer feigned surprise, but then got serious with the kid and informed him that the whole community was aware of his gas-skimming prank. From that day forward, the kid paid for his own gas — and lived to become a valuable community member in his manhood.
Ree Call wuz on a roll and told me a second story. This about a hired man who came to Westphalia, Kan., from Westphalia, Mo., to work in the community. The Call family had an ill-tempered Hampshire ram that wuz bought at the Missouri State Fair ram sale to sire lambs in their flock of “hair” sheep. It wuzn’t until the ram matured that his ill-temper showed itself. In short the ram was dangerous and the family only kept him for one breeding season and sold him for “killer price” at a regional sheep auction in Yates Center because he wuz so mean.
But, back to the story. The hired man told a “mean ram” story from his boyhood in Missouri and how he and his brother handled the mean ram. First, his family fed the sheep flock supplemental grain by driving out into the pasture with a burlap bag feed sack hanging over the tailgate of the pickup. The ram learned if he reared back and butted the feed sack full of grain with all his might, the sack would burst and the grain spill all over the ground for him to eat.
The two brothers decided to teach the obnoxious ram a lesson. So, they filled a gunny sack with hay, but imbedded a 16-pound cast iron post maul in the hay. Out into the pasture they went with the gunny sack secured in place. Sure enuf, right on cue, the rambunctious ram lam-blasted the sack and the post maul with his head —and promptly collapsed on the ground.
The brothers were in the midst of a good laugh when they noticed that the high-priced ram wuz twitching on the ground — seemingly in his death throes. They looked closely and the ram wuzn’t breathing either.
That’s when they panicked. What conceivable fabricated story — a plain lie — could they tell their father about killing the valuable ram. While they were still concocting a story to tell, the ram finally gasped for air. Then, as the brothers watched in breathless anticipation, the ram took another breath … and another … and another.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity to the brothers, the ram staggered to his feet and headed unsteadily for the barn.
All’s well that end’s well. The ram lived, but never butted the feed sack again. And, the boys never had to tell their dad a lie about how the ram had died.
And, Ree Call had a third funny true short story. He said he once owned a feisty rat terrier dog that loved to chase after the John Deere H tractor. The tractor had a tricycle front end and Ree said he often couldn’t see the dog in front of the front tires.
Until the time finally came when the dog wuz yapping so closely to the front tires that a tire ran over its tail. Ree said he heard the yelp and watched helplessly as the dog went between the rear tires and also missed getting hit by any of the cultivator shovels. Ree said that incident cured the dog of chasing the tractor.
Words of wisdom for the week: “You can’t fix ‘stupid’ regardless of how much duct tape you use.” Have a good ‘un.