Howdy, Friends. Forgive me for being so tardy in blogging. Life has kept me busier than a cow's tail in fly season these past months. But today while sweet talking my chickens, to get some egg laying happening, ya see, I remembered an incident worth sharing. And may the subject of this topic one day forgive me for sharing it with the general public. Ya see...
Once ‘pon a time, sitting quietly alone in my living room, probably reading and/or watching TV, the phone rang. My wife and daughter were out of town and although it wasn’t the agreed-upon time for them to call I assumed it was them checking in. Picking up the phone, saying ‘Howdy’, the next thing I heard was a very countrified highly-excited high-pitched voice saying...
“Mr. Griffin!? Mr. Griffin! This is Billy! Billy Hawthorn!”. (Pronounced “Beeelly” and “Hawthern”, or maybe it was “Haw thorn”).
“Yes? Speaking.” I replied, trying my best to remember who Billy was.
“You sold me some chickens last week! Said you was going out of the egg business! I’ve got trouble! I can’t get them chickens to lay eggs!”
Well, actually what he said was more like,
“YOU sold me some chickens last weeeek! Said you was goin’ outta the aigg bizness! I got trubble! I got trubble! I cain’t get them chickens to lay no aiggs!"
What he said was true. I'd recently decided to stop delivering eggs to the downtown folks and some of them I set up with their own mini-flock of hens so they could continue to have fresh eggs. After all those years of providing I couldn't just leave those folks stranded, eggless. I stood there hanging on to the phone handle, pushing it tighter to my ear and wrinkling up my forehead as if that would help me remember who Billy was. I was mentally going thru the list of folks I sold or gave chickens to. My mind was spinning like a Rolodex. He went on…
“You ‘member me, right! I live in the big white house up on Main Street! You sold me them chickens! I paid good money for ‘em, too! Cash money! You even picked ‘em out for me, said they was good’ns, too. They ain’t laying no aiggs! I bought them chickens fer the aiggs I’s hopin’ to git from ‘em!”
By then my eyes were nearly crossed cuz of that rolodex spinning around so much, trying to figger out who Billy was, and which chickens I sold him? Was he the one that just wanted the roosters? Or was he the one who wanted the older stewing hens?
While I was wondering a big part of my mind was wandering. My mind wandered down the sidewalks of Main Street, a block at a time, both sides of the street, trying to pick out the white house he lived in! Heck, from my recollection I never sold but to two people up on Main Street and they was both widder women! I wondered if he was a boyfriend of one of them.
I didn’t wanna create any silence on my end of the line for fear of appearing guilty so I asked “now, what was your last name again?”, then I looked around for the bar stool that usually sits by the kitchen counter. I have no idea why it wasn’t nearby. My weak knees and my thinkin’-too-hard brain could’ve used some support. Along with that my crinkled forehead was now hurting from my knitted eyebrows clear up to my hairline, which has become highly receded over the past years. That's a lot of forehead to hurt, Folks. Ouch.
“HAWTHORN! Beelly HAWTHORN! At the big white house on Main Street! You sold me them chickens, said they’d gimme aiggs! They ain’t! Wha’choo gonna do about it! Huh? Wha’choo gonna doo? I think you oughta do something! Where you live anyway?”
I looked across the room at the screen door, wishing it were latched. Unfortunately I have a telephone that is operated with a coil cord and it wouldn’t stretch that far. It was obvious I was going to have to rely on my wits, my memory, and whatever else I could muster up. Well folks, I admit, I didn’t know whether to lock the door or hang up. My mind was missin’ too many details. Then it dawned on me...maybe I was hearing the name all wrong.
I bent over to look at the phone cradle thingy, looked at the little screen thingy, checked caller ID and saw the name, “DAVE WHITINGER”!!!
All I could do was bust out laughing! I laughed so hard I cried! Eventually I told Dave who HE was and he started talking normal again! He was so proud of himself! He really pulled it off! And the laughter I heard at his end of the line was giving my laughter definite competition!
To this day, that has to be the most successful and best prank ever pulled on me! And to this day, I thoroughly enjoy it! It guarantees a smile every time I think of it!
Folks, ya see what we have to work with, eh?
Ain’t it a treasure, this life we live?
Happy Day to All!
Here I sit, eating my Thanksgiving meal two days after Thanksgiving Day. Nope, not leftovers like so many of ya’ll are eathing. Maybe my meal is considered firstovers, or firstevers? Of course now that I think about it, having this food on my plate is not a first ever event for me, but it sure is for the huge Thanksgiving catfish…
Sorry to have been so tardy in my blog postings, Folks. Life, life’s schedules and what we perceive as life’s schedules, combined with a final willingness on my part to just slow down and rest and do very little in the evenings have certainly occupied my time lately. All in all I’m thankful for the aforementioned. Yep, I’m still alive and kickin’! Although I don’t kick so high anymore I still have enough spunk to get by with.
(“Spunk". Ain’t that a special word? I remember 35 years ago an elderly woman once told me, hands on her hips, “If’n ya ain’t got no spunk in yerself then no one else will”, then she *gently winked, nodded her head in a knowing way, spit some snuff juice onto the sidewalk and went back to tending her flower bed. She reminds me now of a **tiger lily.)
Ya see, on Thanksgiving Days past my family used to go visit “the other side” each year, my inlaws. This left me to fend for myself for entertainment and celebration but I learned to be happy with that. I’d enjoy smoking a Boston butt on the grill, mopping it every 30 minutes over the next five hours with liquid seasoning and eventually turning it into Carolina pulled pork BBQ. And since it was too much for me to eat I’d pack it all up and drive the containers around to friends, surprising them. Some years I’d smoke a turkey breast and some turkey legs on my smoker grill, cooking them to perfection. Boy-howdy, that's the true definition of "YUM!" and "Yummy!!" Even the wildlife at MoonDance Farm would peek out of the woods to see what smelled so good! Well, except the local turkeys for some reason.
This year my daughter was invited to her boyfriend’s house for some good eats. And boy-howdy did they have a spread, or so I heard! She contributed, too, taking cheesecake cupcakes with a chocolate mousse topping, or “bottoming” depending on which one you grabbed. They were yummy by the way! :>) My wife doesn’t eat turkey or any other meat, normally preferring raw foods so that meant one thing, no cooking this year! I went fishin’! Yep, first daylong fishing trip in years!
Ya see, if I ever want a day off from work I have to leave the premises. Working on a farm, even one as small as MoonDance, you find yourself easily working seven days a week. This being the case, some year’s back, after nearly a hiatus of 20 years from it, I took up fishing again, mainly in an effort to get myself outta here. Although I seldom go regularly I guess that is what makes the times I do go special. It was after one o’clock before I left the farm but before two o’clock I was sitting on rock jetties at Fall’s Lake staring into the water; two fishing poles stared in the same direction, one baited with a worm and working the topwater, the other baited with a piece of chicken liver on the lake bottom. I sighed an audible exhale with a musical note hum which seemed to blend in with the warm breeze, seemed to harmonize with the honk of a pelican-like bird that flew two feet over the water also looking for fish. I’d hoped its honking wasn’t complaining about the poor fishing that day, there was no doubt it had been fishing longer than I.
Thirty minutes passed before I caught a small catfish. I took it off the hook, spoke to it in a kindly tone of voice, asked it to come see me again sometime when it had grown up and then turned it loose. Apparently it went home and told its family what a nice guy I was because it wasn’t 10 minutes later my pole doubled over. The Grand-Daddy of Catfish had my number and was calling me on the line! It was a whale. During my excitement I was thinking of large fish, crocodiles, the Loch Ness monster, how deep the lake is in case I get pulled in, how old my fishing line was and will it break at the last minute. Reeling the line, balancing on wiggly rocks I worked my way down to the waters edge hoping to bring this treasure to the landside of the lake. Wow! I couldn’t believe my eyes.
As you can see, I brought the fish home. It would barely fit in a five-gallon bucket. From the bank of the lake I texted my daughter about it, then wondered who else in my phone book I could tell. Vic and Hank’s number popped up; after all, they invited me to their house for Thanksgiving and I couldn’t make it so at least I could share mine!
Before the day was over I caught quite a few more fish from that spot, then moved to another part of the lake where there is always plenty of firewood. Before sundown I had a fire on the bank, two poles propped up in forked branches, fully baited, and enjoyed watching the sunset. Although I caught six or eight more fish I threw most of them back and came home with the monster and five other keepers. The monster turned out being 2 feet long and weighing five and a quarter pounds. What a nice Thanksgiving Day. I have no doubt the Pilgrims and the Native Americans of long ago would’ve enjoyed it, too.
Tonight I ate some of that monster gift/fish, thankful. There’s plenty left. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have a fried catfish sandwich! What a treat!
I hope ya’ll had a great Thanksgiving Day, too!
Best to you and yours!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
*“Gently winked”? Well, those are a special kind, Folks. It’s not a wink that is meant to be secretive so no one but you sees it. And it’s not at the other end of the spectrum, one that is out there with a hard emphasis like our modern day ‘wink-wink-nudge-nudge’. Nope, a gentle wink is more akin to a silent hug, a slow hug that is done with your eyelid and your sincerity, a passing along of part of your self to another and that’s that. 'Nuff said. I reckon it's also called "sharing".
**Tiger Lily. Some years back I was discussing the description of the flower of a Tiger Lily. The best I could do to describe it was...
..."how I love the way those petals fly back like that. Reminds me of a wonderfully pert, determined, and confident person, with hands on hips declaring who they are and what they believe in and are willing to stand up for! An amazingly wonderful piece of subtle power".
Every Tiger Lily I've ever met, human or flower, has my utmost respect. Shoe.
I hear Dave, Trish, and a few other Texans got a sprinkling of rain today and/or yesterday. Finally! After months of drought, months of wondering, months of staring up into the skies both near and far they get to witness a pay-off!. Congrats on any little sprinkle you've received; I wish for you to get more.
Now lookee here, lemme tell ya something. Lemme tell ya something important. Mainly because I've been there, done that, solved it! (Or so we think...) *grin
Your needence of rain reminds me of something that happened yrs ago, right here on MoonDance Farm in the great state of North Carolina. Ya see..
When I first bought this land it was all woods and nothing else. Although my land is only ten acres I’m surrounded by several hundred acres that belong to others. My land and the surrounding lands at that time were mostly woods, pasture, creeks and very few houses. At that time I was like Dan’l Boone in what was then “seclusion”. I cleared the land by hand for two years and as a way to relax I played music to my goats and chickens, usually when my workday was coming to a close. The thing is, having no electricity the music was me beating on two 55-gallon drums with two dogwood sticks. As an ex-percussionist I could really create some great sounds hitting top, sides, and ‘hot spots’ on those barrels. The chickens learned the “Poultry Boogie”, the Nubian goats learned to shake their low-slung ears back and forth to the beat as if those ears were long hairbraids and me, well, I learned that I enjoyed being the band, the conductor, and the song writer all combined.
All the while this phase of entertainment went on I thought no one for miles around could possibly hear. Yep, the chickens, the goats and I were having our own personal party. I found out weeks later I was mistaken.
The Datsun pick-em-up truck I drove at the time, a precurser to what is now called a Nissan, had no back window, no heater, and the engine was only about the size of a Singer sewing machine, a real putt-putt vehicle. I couldn’t do much about the size of the engine and had no money for a rear window but I knew I had to come up with some heat in some form or fashion. Driving at top speed, 45 miles an hour, 6 days a week to my city job 22 miles away while freezing wasn’t the most pleasant way to spend an hour a day. What’s this have to do with beating on home-made drums just to entertain myself, my chickens and goats, and getting caught at it? Hang on, it gets better.
Being new to the neighborhood took quite a while to be accepted by the locals. I was the proverbial “stranger in a strange land” even though I felt right at home. No doubt I looked strange to the locals. Ya see, my hair was a bit longer than most of ‘em wore theirs, my beard was trimmed, unlike others who had beards, and my mustache was kept above my upper lip never interfering with food intake nor hanging on to “souvenirs of the food world”, if ya know what I mean.
Unfortunately my strangeness usually caused quietness each time I walked into Butch’s Quick Stop for a soda and some Nabs, or to pay for some gas. Ya see, Butch’s was where all the local big boys hung out, sharing their lives for a few minutes, having a chaw, doin’ some friendly back slappin’. Each time I walked in it seemed social activity came to a halt and all eyes were upon me. After a couple of times it didn’t matter to me, I’m pretty good understanding human, inhuman, and unhuman nature. Whatever happened was okay with me and I always smiled, spoke howdy, got my goods or paid for gas, usually making a jovial comment and then went on my merry way.
Months into the drought - remember, this writing started out about a drought - the weather started getting colder at night. Brrr… and heck, it was bad enough I was living in a trailer with no water, no electricity, and minimal heat. What compounded the situation was my Datsun had none of those either.
One day I pulled into Butch’s and got my couple-of-days-worth of gas, a cuppa coffee and with some change bought some 5¢ fireballs, cinnamon-flavored candy, a.k.a. jawbreakers. And these were the bigguns, too, nearly the size of a golf ball! I spent a whole quarter on ‘em, walking out with a shirt pocketful. Once in my truck I put one in my cheek and headed to town. As I drove on and as the fireball kicked in I noticed I was getting pretty warm. My neck veins started popping out, my nose started running, my eyes were watering, my forehead was sweating! All this going on in 38º weather. Heck, it might’ve possibly been colder than that due to the wind chill within the truck. No back window, remember? Boy-howdy, I just invented my heater system!
As the days wore on I sometimes drove into town with two fireballs in my mouth, one in each cheek. Those were the coldest of times; those were the best of times. Yep, I was “chipmonkin” my way down the highway, both cheeks poofed out like a rich squirrel with a load of acorns, often to the shock or bemusement of folks lookin’ at me from outside my Datsun.
Now, about that drought curation I keep trying to tell ya’ll about…
Ya see, one day in particular, after banging away on those drums and enjoying the chickens dancing and the goats singing along, I decided that before dark time fully kicked in I might go buy some blue soda, a special favorite of mine at the time. I headed up to Butch’s. It was cold but only cold enough to requre one fireball in one cheek. When I walked in to Butch’s some of the local gang were there, each looking at me as I walked in, but no one got quiet. They kept on talking, several of them nodding their heads at me in an accepting way, and everyone was relaxed. It was then that I realized I looked like some of them. The way I figger it, that fireball in my cheek made them feel comfortable, made them feel like I belonged, made them think that I, too, had some chawing tobacco in my mouth just like they did. I didn’t have the heart to tell them it was only candy. I grinned and laughed right along with them, even allowed a little spittle to dribble down my lip, even answered a few questions they asked and as I heard myself answer it came out garbled, due to the large 5¢ fireball in my cheek. Apparently they understood each garble I uttered and patted me on the back, guffawing and making me feel right at home. I felt so accepted!
During the little bit of time I was there is when I heard conversation about how the folks over at the Rockin’ B, my neighbors, had been saying I was the cause of their garden getting washed out. Ya see, we’d finally had rain for the past week or so, the drought ended at last. And why was I to blame?
It turns out they’d been hearing all the rhythmic beating from my barrel drums from across the way, through the woods, over their pastures and to their eardrums! (From one drum to another, eh?) Apparently they discovered my drumming was a rain dance, a ritual. Yep, they’d heard the beats and witnessed the repercussions and the benefits, up to a point. When I heard they were perturbed about getting too much rain I quit beating those drums that day. I’m the neighborly sort, ya know. I keep thinking about rain dancing, beating on 55-gallon barrel drums. Use caution, etc. Be neighborly. I hung up my drums, for a while anyway....
"For a while". I tried 'for a while' but, but...
...Three years later, during another very hard drought, I think it was in ’89 or 90, I came home from my city job, turned into my driveway and lo and behold! I came face to face with two 55-gallon drums! To this day I have no idea if someone just deposited his or her junk on my secluded road or if someone was hinting to me to get busy banging. Once again we needed rain so over the next couple of weeks I beat those barrels till they had more dents in them than Jimma Carter has peanuts. Couple of weeks later we had rain!
Now, I ain’t insinuating anything but, but…hmmmm….
Note: This writing offered to all, especially Dave, Trish, and the Texans in drought times. Oh yeh, and to Billy Hawthorn, someone I will no doubt tell you about one day who certainly deserves mentioning!
Ya’ll ever have something special? Doesn’t have to be monetarily valuable. Doesn’t have to be an heirloom or family hand-me-down. Heck, it really doesn’t have to be anything more than a favorite keychain or a crayon drawing or a, or a…well, a cup!
Hey! Speaking of cups, meet my special one…
In the year 2007, the last time I went camping, or rather “vacationing”, I met up with friends at a designated rendevous site and we camped for a few days. After spending several wonderful days together we all parted ways, they to their homes, me to parts unknown. I noticed I was off on a journy accompanied only by my camping gear and the words and thoughts within myselfs. (There's that description again, "myselfs"!) Amongst them all was a cup. And what an adventure this cup had, more so than most cups anyway. Ya see…
This nomadic cup ended up camping on a lake in Tennessee, awakening entirely too early in the morning to a multitude of ducks waddling through the campsite, secreting "compost material" as they waddled. On a more pleasant note, while in Kentucky it also viewed the "biggest waterfall south of the Niagra" complete with a rainbow included.
It has camped on the banks of a river in Arkansas, oohing and awwing at trout jumping so high it appeared they were looking for a frying pan to jump into, and has witnessed a full moon in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina!
While we journeyed it rode between the two front seats of a ’95 Plymouth Voyager, with the back seats taken out for extra room if needed, of course. If this cup had ears and/or hair the rolled-down windows would’ve offered them the wind, either contributing to ear-sounds or tangling fibers as we cruised every back road that seemed to lead to nowhere or every where, depending on our perspective that day.
This cup has endured 11 days of hearing me sing and hum ♫ On The Road Again…♫♫ ♫ (Poor thing...!)
It’s heard me laugh entirely too loud at myself, heard me sneeze, heard me mutter and ask myself questions with no answers. It’s watched me play air-guitar to certain songs on the radio, while driving I might add. It’s watched me take “wrong” turns, watched me smile in a big time grin when I’ve found the perfect place to camp, and has watched me wipe away tear-duct droppings from my cheeks when I got a little too emotional.
It has traveled from historic Hillsborough, NC to historic Hannibal, Missouri where I visited Mark Twain, Tom, Huck, and Becky Thatcher; it even waited patiently in my van while I cruised on a riverboat up the Mississippi River!
Yep, Folks, at any given time this cup has embraced liquids ranging from real spring water to real coffee and “unreal” coffee, a.k.a., decaf. On several nights it held wine, Barefoot Merlot of course, and several vodka tonics!
It held my hand daily as well as held those liquids, all without a spill. (Well, except maybe for that vodka tonic night.)
This cup is no longer just a whippersnapper amongst its homebound brethren in the kitchen cupboard...
This cup has now joined the ranks of the seasoned generation, educated by the sights, the sounds, the miles and the smiles...
This cup, like us, may have some mileage on it but rest assured that it, like us, can handle many more miles to come!
I hereby dub thee…
“Living the Good Life".
Feel free to join in, Folks. It's great fun to toast the seemingly insignificant items and happenings in your life!
*Thanks to ATP'er Vic, her hubby Hank, and our friend Peggy/Mystic for the beginning of a wonderful trip and vacation that year. Has it really been four years, Vic?? Crossing my fingers for another adventure one day soon!
Sorry for not posting recently, I've been busier than a cow's tail in fly season with other life's events.
However, I couldn't resist sharing this video. It's a nice pick-me-up and just leaves me in awe at the "natural nature" around us. No wonder we silly humans can all learn lessons from Ma Nature.
Enjoy. Turn up your volume. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK9Xj7eY0UU
Hugs all around!