Pete's News


Howdy folks! This here's ol' Pete and Rosebud comin' at you again!

Have you ever had any dealin's with the highway patrol? If you ain't, let me give you a little piece of advice. Don't. And if despite your best efforts, you do anyhow, be real nice to 'em. They don't much like it if you get sassy with 'em.

Do you 'member me tellin' you about how me and Rosebud and Denver found us a campin' spot on the medium strip between the lanes on the innerstate highway? Now, that ain't as bad as it sounds. We've got sense enough not to set up camp on one of them little narrow strip, but we found this place where the lanes veered off from one another and left a good size patch of trees on a little rise in between. It was a purty good size place, three or four acres, and the middle of it was a good hunnert yards from the road. The bushes was thick along the road, but there was big trees spaced out purty good after you got through the thicket. You couldn't even see the road from where we was at. It was a good campin' spot.

We got to talkin' about how nice it was as we was gettin' the tent and stuff outta the truck. Ol' Denver even said somethin' about wonderin' why nobody hadn't come up there and built a house on that little knoll. And it would've been a good place. You could clear out a few more trees and have a garden spot and everthing. It put you in mind of a island, only it was s'rounded by assy-fault instead of water.

I remember thinkin' at the time that one of them homeless families like you hear about could come up there, chop down a few trees and put 'em up a cabin like the pioneers did back in the olden days. Yeah, they could homestead it like they did back then. They could have 'em a little piece of land, a cabin and everthing. It seemed like a good piece of ground just goin' to waste, settin' there empty like that. I wondered why somebody hadn't already moved in up there.

I found out why when that State Trooper come along.

I don't know how he even knowed we was up there. The brush along the edge of the road was too thick to see through. But it was gettin' on towards dark and he might've seen our fire. That's the only thing I can figger. But he snuck right up on us. I didn't know he was anywheres around 'til I seen them blue lights a flashin'. You ain't gonna miss them blue lights.

I still didn't know we was in trouble. I just thought he'd stopped by to check on us. There wasn't no water up there and I thought maybe he was checkin' to see if we needed any drankin' water. But that wasn't it. He stepped outta the car, pointed a big ol' six-cell flashlight at me and said, "Put out that fire. Put it out right now." And I could tell he wasn't jokin'.

That sorta rubbed me the wrong way. There wasn't no howdy, how're you doin', no nothin'. Just put out the fire. Ain't no use in bein' snotty about it.

I tried to 'splain out to him that I couldn't warm up my pork'n beans if I put the fire out, but he wasn't hearin' none of that. It seemed like he was aggervated at us for just bein' there and was bent plum outta shape about the fire.

"You can't have a fire up here," he said. " What're you doing up here anyway? Are you trying to camp up here? Don't you know you're not allowed to even be here?"

"Well, no, I didn't know," I told him. "Why not?"

"Why not? Why not?! You're trying to camp on the median strip of an interstate highway, and you ask me WHY NOT?!" His voice was gettin' that little edge to it that people get when they start losin' their temper. It was time for me to shut my mouth and put the fire out.

"And what's this. . . this. . . DONKEY doing here? Don't you know you can't graze LIVESTOCK on the right-of-way of an interstate highway?"

Oh Lord, I thought, he's stepped in it for shore now. Rosebud don't like bein' called donkey—that's bad enough—and she shore don't like bein' called livestock. I made that mistake one time and she let me know right quick that she didn't 'preciate it. She said it was disrespectable, like some feller callin' his wife "the ol' ball and chain." I sorta wondered what was so wrong about that too, but she was already mad and I had sense enough to know not to ask her no questions.

The problem is, see, Rosebud don't think of herself that way. She says it makes it sound like she's my `property' and she ain't nobody's property. A choppin' axe is property, she said, and it's insultin' to say that she's the same thing as a choppin axe. I wasn't about to argue with her 'bout it. When she gets like that, it's best to just listen and not talk.

I thought for shore she was gonna jump that Trooper feller. And she prob'ly would have, but Denver grabbed a hold of her and wouldn't turn her a loose. And it's a good thing he did. If he hadn't, all three of us would prob'ly still be locked up somewheres down there in Alabama. We was lucky to get outta there with just a talkin'-to and a warnin' ticket. That's all he give us. And I, for one, was plenty glad to get back in the truck and head for the state line.

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