"There's no fool like an old fool ... you can't
by Jacob M. Braude
Well sir, 'round these parts, most folks know there're
five seasons to the year: spring, summer, fall,
winter, an' the mud month. An' as you kin imagine,
nary a soul here's fond of the annual axleburyin' spell
(it's sorta to weather what kudzu is to crops). But there
ain't nobody hates it worse'n the ol'
store-loafin' galoots what constitute the Plumtree Crossin'
Gen'rally Inebriated Society. Jist grab yerself an earful
of the fellers' conversation on a recent March afternoon,
and you'll soon see what I mean.
"Purvis!" Ott Bartlett bellowed. "My gullet's as parched as
Satan's cornpatch. I lie in dire need of your
homemade tonic ' "
"Don't tell me about it!" Purvis Jacobs snapped
back. "Y know I ain't got any!"
"Well, you don't need to go remindin' me of thet
mizzerble fact, do you?" Ott retorted.
All in all, it were plain to see thet those two was feelin'
feistier'n cornered crawdads. An' all the rest of
the ol' boys was obvi ously jist as ill-tempered,
'cause they took ev'ry chance they could to toss a "you
tell 'im!" . . . a "durned right!" . . . or a downright
unrepeatable expletive into the discussion. As any
fool could perceive, the members of the Plumtree Crossin'
Truth and Veracity League was sorely missin' their social
lubricant, thet all-purpose peacemakin' potion ... corn
Fer security reasons, you see, Mister Jacob's likkermakin'
facility was tucked way back up in a holler thet takes
little short of a miracle to drive to in the best of
weather ... and it's flat impossible to reach durin' the
soggy month of March. As Purvis often put it, "When the
mud's here, the moonshine ain't."
"Gents," Doc Thromberg broke in, "seein's how there's a
sorrowful lack of the medicine I'd otherwise perscribe fer
the case of the surlies I herewith behold, I suggest an
alternative remedy. Let's all git out and do somethin'
"Yeah," Lafe Higgins agreed, "like bite the heads off'n
"Actually," Doc continued, "I had in mind a more
civic-minded activity ... like settin' up a booth at thet
big fund-raiser next week fer the Barren County Children's
"WHAT?" yapped the entire crew of laze-abouts in unison,
droppin' the pipes from their teeth, gulpin' the chaws in
their cheeks, fallin' over backwards in their chairs ... or
doin' all three at once't.
Well, I'll spare you the details of the ensuin'
debate. Somehow, though, those confed'rates in misery
did talk theirselves into particypatin' in the
project (which, I guess, goes to show the strange things
people will do when they're sober). So they signed
up with the Barren County Ladies Auxiliary and Highminded
Civic League-the group what was runnin' the
affair—an' agreed to be in charge of thet ol'
favorite, the young'uns' greased-pig chase.
An' since the partic'lar Saturday when this fund-raisin'
festival were held turned out to be one of those rare sunny
days thet March will tease you with once't in a while, jist
about all the youngsters in the entire
county—an' their parents—assembled in the town
square at Erosion junction fer the goin's on. Why, a TV
crew from the big city of Buzzard's Roost even come out to
take pictures of all the activities (an'
to interview Beatrice Snod; pebble—the head of the
women's league—who was beamin' prouder'n a pregnant
Finally, at around two o'clock in the afternoon, it come
time fer Plumtree's finest to stage the great greased-pig
chase. So whilst some of the old gents collected all the
tickets they'd sold and lined up the eager young
particypants, Doc Thromberg turned to Cleedy McCannon and
said, "I got the lard. Where's the pig.
"I dunno," said Cleedy. "Ain't Lafe s'posed to bring it?"
"Lafe ain't got no pigs!" answered Doc. " You was
s'posed to bring one!"
"Why, thet's right," said Cleedy. "I were, weren't I?"
"Listen here, Cleedy," Doc ordered, "we sold over 200
fiftycent tickets to this here thing, and I'll be cussed
from here to Sunday if we have to give the money back. So
we're goin' to have a greased-pig chase ... even
if those children are forced to pursue a two-legged
With thet, the fellers started crowdin' in around Cleedy.
"Now wait jist a minute," he cried ... but it were too
late. The entire assemblage jumped on the unfortunate
Mister McCannon, stripped off all his clothes except his
undershorts, and smeared white lard all over his body. Then
they stood him up and told the children to get ready.
..I ain't a-doing it!" Cleedy insisted. "I ain't
At thet point, though, the startin' gun went off, and 200
chasecrazed young'uns charged full steam-flailin' they arms
and howlin' worse'n hounds in heat-right toward the
"I'm a-doing it! I'm a-doing it!" Cleedy yelled, an'
skedaddled out around the town square a couple of times
with thet pack of greasedperson chasers nippin'. at his
heels. Then he ducked down a side street and into a nearby
building . . . what turned out to be the Golden Years Rest
Home! Well, darned if the sight of a lard-covered,
undershorted runaway didn't set those umptygenarians' blood
to boilin'. " After thet scoundrel!" hollered one
of 'em, an' the entire brigade of rest-home residents
started off in hot persuit.
Poor Cleedy! He raced out the side door and through a dog
kennel ... accident'ly knockin' open the back gate an'
puttin' them grease-hungry dogs on his trail! Then
he tore in the rear of a restaurant an' come out the front
... with the eatery's owner, chef, an' waitress hot on his
heels. Finally, he dashed back to the town square,
shinnied hisself right up to the top of the flagpole-I
wouldn'ta believed he coulda done it, covered in
lard as he were, if I hadn't seen it myself-and perched
there, pantin' for air.
Well, when Ol'' Man Bartlett an' the rest seen what were
goin' on, they figgered they'd best try fer an exit ... so
they backed a high-walled pickup next to the pole, loaded
Cleedy in, and sped away from the scene of the disaster as
fast as they could.
Two days later, when the whole kit and caboodle was
gathered in the Gen'ral Store agin, feelin' meaner an'
grouchier than ev'er, up rolled the county sheriff an' some
deputies in two patrol cars ... packed up all them ol' boys
... an' drove 'em right back to Erosion junction. Worse
yet, waitin' right in the town square were thet Buzzard's
Roost TV crew, Missus Snodpebble, the restaurant and kennel
owners, an'a couple of ladies from the nursin' home! Well,
movin' more than a mite reluctantly, the ol' reprohates got
outa the police vehicles ... and danged if Missus
Snodpebble didn't lead the entire delegation over, grab Doc
Thromberg's hand, and say, "Congratulations! You boys has
won the prize fer the best event at the fair!"
"What?!" Doc said ... an' his jaw dropped down to his
"Thet's right," replied Missus Snodpebble, pumpin' his hand
eagerly (but lookin' right into the TV camera all the
while). "Them television folks filmed the whole chase, an'
showed it on the Buzzard's Roost evenin' news ... an'
people have been callin' in donations fer our little
children's hospital ever since!"
"Yes, an' ev'rybody comes to my restaurant now to laugh
about the greased-person chase ... an' then stays to eat!"
said the cafe proprietor.
"Folks sure found out about my kennel in a hurry, too,"
added the dog boarder.
,"An' those children," chimed in the rest home ladies, "had
so much fun with our dear senior citizens thet they're
going to come visit ev'ry week!"
Well sir, by this point you coulda knocked Plumtree's
prizewinnemover with a single pinch of evaporated snake
spit. Somehow, though, Doc kept his feet under him long
enough to ask, "So what'll we git outa this?"
"You'll be pleased to larn thet the hospital construction
crew has offered the group what put on the best event the
services of a bulldozer fer one day," Missus Snodpebble
mouthed at the camera. "Now I'm sure you gen'lmen can find
a good use fer thet wonderful machine, cain't you.
Doc didn't have to think of a use ... it come to him by
instinct . "Them things can go up most any road,
no matter how muddy , cain't they?"
"I'm jist sartin they can," Missus Snodpebble assured him
"Well then, Miz Be'trice," Doc declared, as he reached out
t put his arm around his old, dear friend ...
Purvis Jacobs, "I b'lieve we can find some good way to use
thet thing. I do b'lieve we can."
"To read without reflecting is like eating without