ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT
AND SOME THAT AIN'T
Howdy folks! This here's ol' Pete and Rosebud comin' at you again!
Me and my mule Rosebud's been up our yer lobes in people again this week. Ain't never seen nothin' like it. And we live plum up here in the middle of the holler. Gump Holler ain't the easiest place to find either. Even them GPS things don't know where it's at. Fact is, you can't even get here from some places. You have to go somewheres else to start. So there ain't many people comes by our place up here. And most of the ones that we do see already lives up here. If you see an outsider, you know it's one of two things. They're either lost and ain't got no idea where they're at or they've got kinfolks livin' up here and they're goin' to see 'em.
Or I guess it could be one other thing. They might be huntin' antiques. Sometimes city people come up here lookin' for antiques. I get the idea that they think we're a bunch of simpletons that don't know what they're worth and they can get 'em cheap. And we don't care. We let 'em think whatever they want to. Take ol' man Starkley Smart down there at the crossroads. The antique hunters has slacked off a good bit now that it's past the middle of October, but there's a lot of traffic down there on the main road durin' the summer months and he works a dozen men makin' antiques to sell to the city people when they come up here sniffin' around. He's got a reg'lar factory goin'.
They make them things they call primitives. They make 'em outta scrap lumber and bury 'em in a pile of leaves, horse manure and whatnot for a week or so. It ages 'em, y'see, turns 'em into antiques almost overnight. After they take 'em out, warsh 'em and dry 'em off right good, he puts 'em in that ol' tumble-down house down there at the crossroads and sets out on the front porch to wait for a city-slicker to come along. They think he lives there, but he don't. He's got a nice house on up the road. He'll empty and restock that ol' house about ever week durin' the summer.
I don't know how I got off on this, but it ain't what I was aimin' to talk to you about when I started. There's always people comin' and goin' down at the crossroads, but nobody ever comes up here where we live at. But last week somebody throwed a newspaper in the front yard. They do that once or twice a year. I guess they're hopin' I'll read it and like it and 'scribe to it. But I don't read newspapers. Rosebud does, though, and she went out and got it.
She started readin' it and the more she read the disgusteder she got. She got to complainin' to me about it, tellin' me about all the bad news in it; people killin' people, stealin' from one another, sellin' dope and about anything else you can think of. The more she read, the more it got to botherin' her and the more it bothered her, the more she complained. Well, after while I got tired of it and told her that if she had a problem with the news in it she ort to tell the newspaper, not me. So that's what she done. She set down and wrote a letter to the editor. I don't know exactly what she said, somethin' about there not bein' no stealin' or nothin' like that goin' on up here in Gump Holler and if that's all they could find to write about, they could just keep their ol' newspapers outta her front yard.
That was a mistake. And I don't mean the part about it not bein' her front yard. That was a mistake too, but the one I'm talkin' about was where they took her letter and printed it in the newspaper. Then somebody else seen it and put it on that inner-net thing. Purty soon people from all over got to talkin' about how there wasn't no crime in Gump Holler and the long and the short of it is, I think about half of 'em drove up here to look us over last weekend.
There was a traffic jam down at the crossroads, the first one ever. Ol' man Smart sold three or four truck loads of antiques. Silas over at the store run out of sody water and put his hired man to fillin' up fruit jars from the garden hose and sellin' it for spring water. Some quick thinkin' sharpie bought ever cracker and ever can of deviled ham Silas had in the store and set up a possum samwich stand. He was sellin' crackers smeared with that deviled ham and tellin' people it was possum. There wasn't so much as a peanut t'be found or nothin' to ranch it down with left up here by high noon.
I prob'ly shouldn't complain about prosperity. All the city people are gone now, back home braggin' about the great deals they got on their new antiques. Ol' man Smart took Mama Smart on a month-long vacation trip. So I guess it's a good thing. But sometimes I wonder. Yesterday Silas raised the price of sody water from 50 cents to a dollar. And the Sheriff caught some feller smokin' marywarner up here somewheres.
And there still ain't no peanuts to be had at no price.
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