American Humor: A Hot Summer Picnic Tale

The last laugh column shares MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader submitted regional American humor. Jim Comstock shares a hot summer picnic tale involving Ott Bartlett and the Plumtree boys.

| July/August 1982

  • Last Laugh logo
    As you might imagine, then, most of the residents of Plumtree Crossin' has been movin' slower'n Congress in this weather.

  • Last Laugh logo

Last Laugh shares MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader submitted American humor with other readers. Jim Comstock tells the story of a hot summer picnic tale involving Ott Bartlett and the Plumtree boys. 

American Humor: A Hot Summer Picnic Tale

"There's a woman on Hinkle Mountain who has strange feelings on two subjects. First, she says there's nothing wrong with ending a sentence with a preposition, and second, she says talking about bad weather makes it come. The other day she remarked, `Oh, let's be cheerful. Why bring weather that one would rather stay in out of up for?'" 

Well sir, even Ott Bartlett (who's been around so long thet iffen he don't remember somethin', it ain't nev'r happened) has already broke down an' admitted thet this here's the hottest summer in the entire history of Barren County. An' whilst the stories goin' around—concernin' corn poppin' on the stalk an' hens layin' cooked eggs . . . city folks runnin' their drinkin' water through electric heaters to cool it off an' country people pullin' theirs already boilin' outa their wells . . . an' even goosedrownin' thundershowers not coolin' things off 'cause all them raindrops was evaporatin' afore they hit the ground—cain't quite be taken as gospel, they's a speck er more of truth in 'em!

As you might imagine, then, most of the residents of Plumtree Crossin' has been movin' slower'n Congress in this weather (iffen they move at all). An' naturally enough, about the least active folks in the entire community is thet cluster of porch-perched cronies known as the Truth an' Veracity League. Them pillars of imperturbability is spendin' pretty much all their time with their heads hid under widebrimmed hats an' their backs melted agin' their chairs.

A few days back, though, of Newt Blanchard did manage to start up his lungs long enough to tell Billy Parsons—seein' as Billy's the youngest member of the group—to walk inside the store an' fetch his elder a nice cool Nehi orange. Well, Billy reluctantly peeled hisself off'n his roost an' kinda oozed inta the store. A good ten minutes later, the youngster'd made it back out an' was fixin' to hand the bottle to Newt when he noticed he'd plumb fergot to open it.

"Nevi mind," said Newt, reachin' inta his pocket. "I got an open'r."

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