The Last Laugh: The First Motorcycle and No News

Our correspondent graciously allows two visiting storytellers to have the last laugh.

| September/October 1981

  • the last laugh - green and yellow
    Sometimes all you need to get the last laugh are a motorcycle, a mountain, a shotgun, and a dead dog.

  • the last laugh - green and yellow

"A good storyteller is a person who has a good memory and hopes other people haven't."Irvin S. Cobb  

Well sir (and ma'am), it seems only fittin' to me thet, seein' as how we got some vision' storytellers gracin' the pages of MOTHER EARTH NEWS this time (you might wants take a gander at "You, Too, Can Learn the Art of Storytelling"), I oughta set back a spell an' let our guests have the last laugh ...with a pair of funny-bone-ticklin' tales thet jist plain beg to be related out loud.

The First Motorcycle in Black Mountain

The followin' story, from David Holt's tale-tellin' repytoire, is called "The First Motorcycle in Black Mountain" (what were copyrighted in 1981 by David Holt and Grove Norwood). Ol' David says it's a good example of creatin' a full-blown yarn from a single humorous anecdote. (Mr. Holt recites the tale hisself on his storytellin' record, The Hairyman and Other Wild Tales.   

Now after the war, most folks in Black Mountain, North Carolina had heard of motorcycles, but they'd never seen one. So when old Leroy Teats arrived home from the Navy with his brand-new, blue and chrome Hart-ly Davison motorcycle, folks come a-rennin' out of their homes and out of their stores to see what was making all that racket.

Why, it was a sight to behold. Had a headlight big as a dinner plate and a seat wide as a buckboard's, and—in the very back—it had a big old ruby-studded mud flap. It had a windshield that came almost as high as his head, and some folks said that thing was even air-conditioned. They could tell Leroy was happy and Leroy was proud; all they had to do was count the bugs on his teeth.

Wasn't long though, before some of those mountain boys came up and started teasin' and tauntin' him.


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