American Humor: The Story of the Missing Picnic Bottle Opener

The last laugh column shares MOTHER EARTH NEWS Plumtree boys and reader submitted regional American humor with other MOTHER readers. This issue the Plumbtree boys hear a story about a missing picnic bottle opener.


| July/August 1982



Last laugh missing picnic bottle opener

"Now I know all you fellers kin keep a secret, so I'm fixin' to tell you somethin'. This here ain't my bottle opener. . . it belongs to Cleedy McCannon."


ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

"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?' "
Jim Comstock
 

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 wide-brimmed hats an' their backs melted agin' their chairs.

A few days back, though, 01' Newt Blanchard did manage to start up his lungs long enough to tell Billy Parsons—see in' 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 own 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.

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

Relieved thet he wouldn't have to make another round trip, Billy collapsed on the settin' bench. Newt pried open his soda (which he allowed were so warm already thet he practically had to blow on it afore he could drink it), took a deep swig, an' said, "Now I know all you fellers kin keep a secret, so I'm fixin' to tell you somethin'. This here ain't my bottle opener . . . it belongs to Cleedy McCannon." It were a good five minutes later when one of the boys (Skeeter Ridges, I b'lieve) stretched open his yapper long enough to comment. "So what?" he asked.

An' Newt (after a consider'ble pause hisself) replied, "You mean you ain't heered tell of the McCannons' outing and th' missing picnic bottle opener?"





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