As we sort of jumped out of spring this year at the first of June, which seems to be one of the first springs we’ve had in a long time that has actually been a spring, we may have slid right off into summer. It doesn’t seem like it has been long since everyone was walking through the church house doors on Sundays complaining about the cold like a bunch of children of Israel fussing over the abundance of manna at suppertime. June has been very warm this year, and it has also been on many weather conversation agendas at most social gatherings.
Down at the Eat It or Sack It and Go Store, which replaced the old country store at the crossroads, the talkers who now hold court around the coffeemaker and stainless steel table have been getting in on their fair share of debates as well. Pete, sitting over near the baloney slicer the other morning, jumped into a hardy process of summertime debate over heat and dry weather. He said, “Yeah, it sure has been hot. I had to start feeding my laying hens crushed ice so they would quit laying hard-boiled eggs.”
After the laughter died down and refills into cracked coffee cups had been completed, Uncle Sid took a look at Sam over near the bread rack and asked him, “Sam, does it ever rain out near the forks of the road over by your place?”
“Yes, it does,” Sam answered. “Do you remember in the Bible where it said it rained 40 days and 40 nights?”
Uncle Sid, after taking a swallow from his coffee cup, said, “Yeah, I believe that was the story about Noah and all of them animals in a boat.”
“Yeah, that’s right,” Sam replied. “Well, when that happened, we got about two hundredths of an inch from all of that.”
If there is one thing good about reaching the age that the good Lord has now allowed me to reach, it is the opportunity to mingle among those who have the wisdom to tell outstanding bits of information just like the aforementioned. Those of us that consider the confines of a business with the aroma of fried chicken filling the room (which can become a permanent part of your clothing) as a place to enlighten one’s thinking power have to be considered as experienced in talking to the high order.
The high order of what is yet to be determined, but those who compose discussions of weather, taxes, government, sports, hunting, fishing and the desires of everyday farming in places that I would rate as G (greasy, with cups of coffee) are individuals who deserve to be listened to. Many times, they are there because that is the only place they do get listened to, but their bits of wisdom could solve world problems if you take time to read between the lines and the gulps of coffee.
For example, Uncle Sid once told a story at one of these gatherings about Nashville politics that related how he felt they were handling things. With a cup of coffee in hand, he took the floor one morning and said, “The way they are doing things over in Nashville reminds me of a baseball game we had here back in the forties. Our community team was playing the adjoining community team, and it was a real rivalry.
“Doc Jarvis came to umpire because everyone considered him to be fair, and he wasn’t kin to anyone we knew – although he was running for constable in the area, which could cause a problem. It was a hot July day, and both teams played hard. It was the bottom of the ninth, and our team was in town with Gimpy Hanks at the bat. Gimpy had never been much of a batter, and we knew we were in trouble.
“With the first pitch, Gimpy swung the bat with his eyes closed and hit the ball all the way to the outhouse in left field. He took off running as hard as he could. He had got the name Gimpy for a reason, but he was a fighter. He rounded second while the other team was still looking for the ball in the weeds. A little guy finally saw the ball in a stand of rabbit tobacco and grabbed it. One problem. A black racer snake had also claimed the ball and didn’t want that little guy to have it.
“The right fielder who wasn’t afraid of snakes came all the way over from right field, grabbed the ball, and threw it home. Gimpy started sliding all the way from third and kicked up dust all the way. A cloud of red clay dust hid the entire ball, Gimpy, and the catcher. As the dust settled, you could see Gimpy and the catcher in the face of Doc Jarvis, both wanting to know if Gimpy was safe or out.
“Old Doc knew he was running for constable in a few weeks, and his decision could mean the outcome of more than a baseball game. Taking off his cap, wiping his brow, and spitting out his chew of tobacco, you could hear him say before he made his final decision, ‘What’s the score?’”
Sack It And Go wisdom.
Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He may be contacted at email@example.com.