American Humor: The Early Days of the Telephone

The last laugh column shares MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader submitted regional American humor with other MOTHER readers. In this issue the Plumtree Crossing boys' Uncle Frank shares a yarn about telephones.


| January/February 1987



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In the early days of the telephone, Uncle Frank got one of the first batch of telephones installed in Iron Duff: But when they put it in, he was on an eight-party line.


ILLUSTRATIONS: PETER KUPER

Last Laugh shares MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader submitted American humor with other readers. 

American Humor: The Early Days of the Telephone

Well sir, the fit first stop the Plumtree Crossing boys made on their train trip (started last issue) was at a little of town called Jonesborough, Tessessee—an' they arrived just in time for the 14th annual National Storytelling Festival. there they heard this memorable tale told by one of the best yarn spinners of them all: the Reverend Donald Davis.

In the early days of the telephone, Uncle Frank got one of the first batch of telephones installed in Iron Duff: But when they put it in, he was on an eight-party line. Now, that wouldn't have been much trouble for him, except two of the other people were Lucy and Leena Leatherwood.

Lucy and Leena were what you might call natural born old maids. As soon as Uncle Frank would get up in the morning and pick up the telephone, they'd already be on there talking. yap yap yap yap yap yap yap. Every time of the day he picked it up they'd be there talking: yap yap yap—daylight to dark. He said they must be starving to death, they can't stop to eat.

Well now, not that anybody would actually pick up the phone when somebody else was talking and actually listen deliberately, but sometimes you pick up the phone and somebody', talking you might just linger for a moment to try to get an idea about maybe how long they might be on there.

Uncle prank picked up the phone one day and the first thing he heard was, "Them vitymine pills, them vitymine pills made me sick as a dog. I went to see Dr. Lancaster 'cause I's swimmy-headed and I got in there and Dr Lancaster and Miss Winny Kirkpatrick said there wasn't anything wrong with me—I wouldn't have gone up there if there wasn't something wrong with me and they got through and they gave me these vitymine pills and they made me as sick as a dog— I started out for home and I stopped out at Charlie's Drive-In and I got me three big hot dogs all the way with onions and everything on 'em and I got me two big of orders of french fries and I got me a big of Coca-Cola and that's what I took them vitymine pills with and them vitymine pills made me sick and as soon as we hit the first curve of the road below Junaluska, I started throwing up and I throwed up on every curve of the road all the way home I lost my good hot dogs them vitymine pills made me sick and—"Klunk! Uncle Frank had heard enough. That was going to go on all day.





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