Town council milked for entire worth

By Eugene Tiddly, Paper Writ

The latest big news to take a bite out of city hall has everyone’s stomachs a’churnin’. And that ain’t no yolk.

It began when long-time revered and admired Creek citizen and town council member Lester Dodum perished from his wife’s cookin’, or as good ol’ Lester would say his wife’s burnin’, and begat ever last ounce of his belongin’s to his prized Guernsey Gertrude. As Lester’s been a member of the town council for over 40 years, he also proudly beqeathed his spot on the board to his half-ton heifer.  

In the beginnin’, everthang was goin’ well. Gertrude showed up to all the meetin’s, even givin’ up valuable time in the pasture and in the dairy to come out and hep in the decision-making process of this town. She good-naturedly supplied all the eats and drinks, pints of milk, slices of cheese, gallons of ice cream and all was well. But pretty soon, as all new council members tend to do, bovine, human or otherwise, she tried to shove around a little bit of her weight. Trouble is, she carries a might bit more weight than the average council member.

She come in to one meetin’ one fateful night with a long list clenched in one hoof and a look of pure determynation in her eye. She mooed out her business and the more she demanded, the wider folks’ eyes got.

For the privilege of the Gazette, her list has been provided for all to read. And remember, the public hearin’s set for next month on these items:

1. There shall be no more grillin’ out hamburgers of any sort as a fund raising event, includin’ the fire station’s annual bbq, as it’s no less than an abomynashun to me and my kind. All places of eatin’ that serve beef shall be closed down by the board of health.

2. The town’s water line will no longer run water, but will be tapped with milk as it’s the nectar of the gods.

3. Town meetin’s will be moved to the Co-op where fresh hay and decent bathroom and sleeping quarters are never far away.

4. The town’s song will be changed from “Bell Bottom, My Beatiful Bell Bottom” to “Hey Diddle Diddle.”

5. At least fer our neck of the woods, the food guide pyramid shall be shimmied up to have milk and dairy at the base and beef and all other meat that don’t matter so much placed at the very top.

 

6. Every good citizen will learn to chew his or her own cud. Um, crud? Um, s.p.?

People has already been speculatin’ how to git old Gertrude out of office, but hate to do any harm to Lester’s memory. However, as far as research can tell, commitin’ first degree cowslaughter carries no sort of jail sentence, but whets many folks appetites. 

Until then, Gertrude’s stuck in office, our little town’s been put on the map for something else and all our folks will be continuin’ to put up with meetin’s that last until the cow comes home.

On a more serious note: A guest column

Hi again, everyone.  Scout here.  First of all, thanks to Editor Hogenswallow for allowing me to interrupt the news of Bell Bottom Creek to do a little explaining as to why I pretty much dropped off the map.  Let me try to start where I left off when I ended Scout About.

As you know, I had a full plate of monstrosities and wasn’t dealing well with any of them. In the middle of the deaths and neverending suffocation from growing pains, I lost all motivation to write and just up and quit my blog. Just like that.

But now, I have to tell you about something that happened recently and though I took it the hardest of any of the bad news I’d experienced this year, it ultimately motivated me to start blogging again.

It all started with a few notes and ended with a complete song. Or, at least, I have to make myself believe that it will.

                                                                                                        ***

I never really wanted to take lessons from her. Never had the desire to start back with piano. So, when it was time to go over to her house, I ran away and climbed a tree. I thought I’d learned all I’d ever need. As luck would have it, I got tired and came down.

Mrs. P wasn’t the most traditional of piano teachers. Her stubby fingers looked better suited for the constant baking she did rather than the running over of the ivories, but she had been making magic on the keyboard for years. I came to her small house on Etheridge Street expecting a review of  the usual chords and measures and left with the knowledge that I’d gained a grandmother.

Mrs. P didn’t only teach piano. I found that out from the very first lesson. She had been successful in the business for over 40 years because she taught life and she taught it to people from all over our area. A visit to her house brought the unique mixture of Clair de Lune, homemade coconut pie, pictures of her children and grandchildren and conversations on topics ranging from church to the best place in the area to eat catfish.

The piano served as the centerpiece and learning the notes served as the driving force behind each and every Tuesday afternoon and the person I’d once dreaded meeting became the person who made my week. We began venturing out her home and on two occasions she invited me to be her “daughter” at her church’s mother/daughter banquet. I beamed at the thought that out of dozens of “pupils” (her word for “students”) I’d been picked to be her “daughter.” 

Then she moved away. She moved to Lexington to be with one of her daughters and then later moved to Cordova. Initially, I never forgot her birthday and made sure I sent regular letters. Always always at the tip of my tongue hung the phrase, “I need to go see her.” And then I missed a couple of birthdays and as I knew she was approaching 90, my phrase changed to, “I need to go see her before she dies.”

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A couple of Saturdays ago, I attended the funeral of Mrs. P.  The service was long and full of wonderful piano music and was attended by many friends and family members. Mrs. P’s nephew got up to read a “work by a former student” and the work turned out to be something I’d written for Mrs. P 13 years ago.

Walking back down the street after the funeral, I was inconsolable.

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Over the past few days since the funeral I’ve been reliving these overwhelming feelings of depression that come over me every time I go over those words, “I need to go see her before she dies.” I feel as though the funeral served as closure for so many people. The usual, “Oh, she’s in a better place.” But that’s not been so for me. I’ve felt nothing but regret, guilt and sadness that I didn’t act quickly enough. As I told my boyfriend, I feel like a part of me is dead. That simple yet powerful inspiration that was my guiding force for the better part of my growing years.  The hearkening back to happier days. So many thoughts, terrible thoughts, have been running through my head lately. Unspeakable thoughts.

How will I ever get over this? I have no idea. But, my dear friend  is right and I’ve been thinking about her advice a lot lately. Never ever pass up the opportunity to go see someone and tell them you love them. Please do it before it’s too late.

And Mrs. Pritchett wouldn’t want me to stop blogging. She wouldn’t want me to stop practicing. For writing. For piano. For life.

From the desk of S. Hogenswallow: An editorial about somethin’ and nothin’

Good mornin’, good afternoon’, good evenin’ or good night, dear readers, dependin’ of course upon what time of the day you happen to be a’gazin’ at this column.  Fer all of those dedicated and reglar perscribers to the Possum Gazette, thanky for takin’ the time to come over and check out our new online paper and fer all you new ‘ens, hope you like what you see and hope I’m able to deliver at least a fair to meddlin’ account of what goes on here daily in our little corner of the world.

In mah short time here a’foolin’ around with this interweb thingy I’ve already discovered somethin’ of rather large importance. There’s no way possible I can print up an entar isshoo of this paper on the web, but I can cut out porshuns of the paper and put them here as I see fit to do. And today just so happens to be the day that all you lucky ‘ens gets to read one of my loud and rambly editorials. Our beloved society columner, Jane Jones Juniper, is out all week heppin’ her grandson compete in the Mr. Sweet Potato Casserole pageant so all you hard copy perscribers will be a’missin’ out on yer daily shot of Up the Creek with the Triple J, but I’m gonna do mah best to fill in for her and tell ya a bit about what’s been happenin’.

First of all, thanky for yer pashence. Yer dear and faythful editor had herself a little ticker episode yestiddy mornin’ and our electrisitie has just now come back on. If that waren’t enough, yestiddy afternoon, we farred our copy editor, well, no, ackshully she up and killt herself. Right in front of the coffee pot too. No denyin’ she was a bit fidgety and nervous-like for our tastes, but we felt so plumb awful about it that we’s now attemptin’ to name somethin’ after her. Our sports editor suggested the copy machine because it reminds us of her, but we turned that down right quick. Then I suggested maybe we oughta just name her after the place where the doin’ was done, so if you happen to stop by our headquarters, don’t ferget to visit Betty the Editor of Copy’s Sacred Coffee. Grab a cup or two if you so desire.

Now most of you who’ve read the front page of our paper copy will know what I’m talkin’ about here.  Big doin’s in our little Creek. While plowin’ in his cabbage fields, Farmer Harve Hewens’ prized John Deere, Green Girl, done up and struck what most of us Creekians know as oil. Lots of it. And the dangdest thing is, it happened to other farmers around the area too. Jest mindin’ their own busness, they up and struck black gold. We brought in the expert and he studied our little area up and down and said somethin’ to the effect of “You people’s just a brimmin’ with this black stuff, but hold on to yer britches just a bit ’cause hit ain’t oil.” While that heavily darkened the spirits of all our good folks, we invite all of you to come out today to see our new sign bein’ put up. Come join Mayor Downin’ Dumplin’ and the rest of us as we raise “Bell Bottom Creek: A Great Place to Live and the Tar Nation of the South” up to the skies.

Whew. I’m plumb tarred. I’d like to thank my faythful assistant, Rendered Posterior, for heppin’ me with this new-fangled technology whatchacallit. Stay tuned fer more and write in to us as you see fit. And remember, we’re here to serve you, “Spoonfeedin’ the gist of what’s good to the great citizens of Bell Bottom Creek for 203.7 years!”

Goin’ back to the ‘Net

Well, hello there.  Again.  Yes, I know I didn’t bother to officially bid farewell, but nonetheless here I am again and in a much different capacity.  I can see that you’re shaking your head.  Completely dumbfounded as to who I am.  I used to go by the name of Scout.  Scout About?  Ring a bell?  And I left rather abruptly without turning in a two-week notice when I suddenly became anti-blog and decided that my little corner of cyberspace had ceased to have a purpose anymore.

Now, I’m back.  I’m back because I just can’t cut out something I’ve done since the age of five.  You don’t just quit something you’ve done for years and years and not look back with some regret and an accompanying knot in your throat.  Something that brings you joy.  Something that, at its best, brings a smile and at its most painful, brings catharsis.  Unless, of course, you’ve been smoking since the age of five or eating cheese in which case I’d strongly urge you to stop as soon as possible.  For your own good of course. 

So, why the name change? And, specifically, why the extremely off-the-wall name change? What is a hogenswallow and who in the world invented a Possum Gazette?  The answer to these very valid questions hearkens back to my college days.  While staying at a church camp/retreat one summer with my best friend, we were sitting out on the porch of one of the dorms in rocking chairs and the dialogue of two old Southern ladies suddenly popped into our heads and we just went with it  for two hours completely ignoring strange looks and questioning glances.  Before we knew it, we’d invented names for ourselves (mine being Sarah Hogenswallow and hers being Eulalie Plumhuffinpuff), a fictitious town (Bell Bottom Creek), an imaginary church (Hogswallop Trinity Beautification of the Baptist Church) and several family members.  And the conversation didn’t stop there.  It lasted for the duration of the semester and beyond.  After inventing a fictitious newspaper, The Possum Gazette, I, Editor Hogenswallow, put together a few issues and spread them around the campus.  New sections were added, new characters were invented and guest columnists were welcomed. 

So, that’s how this all came about.  It’s been a long time coming and hopefully, it’ll be a long time lasting.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get started on my next issue.