Pete's News


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

We had a little excitement up here in Gump Holler this week. Had a fire right down from where me and Rosebud live, between the house here and where ol' Denver lives on down there. There wasn't much damage done. Well, let me take that back. It was one of ol' Tom's hawg sheds that caught afire and it was a goner by the time anybody seen it burnin'. But it wasn't worth nothin' nohow. Ol' Tom hadn't used it in years. It was all growed up in bushes around it and had about rotted and fell down anyhow. So it wasn't no great loss. I don't think ol' Tom even cared that it burned.

Nobody don't know how it caught on fire. Like I said, it was just standin' there empty. There wasn't no 'lectricity goin' to it. That's the first you think about when somethin' catches on fire like that. Rats and mice is bad about chewin' on the wiring in a outbuildin' like that. They chew the wrappin' off the wares and they short out and start sparkin'. But, it bein' a hawgpen, it wasn't never wired for 'lectricity. Hawgs don't need no lights to fatten up I reckon.

People up here in the holler has got their suspicions about it. Most of 'em think it was Jesse and James Frank, them two ol' boys that hangs around up here tryin' to be outlaws. Oh, they wouldn't do it on purpose. That ain't their style. They ain't even real outlaws. They think they are, but they ain't got sense enough to be real outlaws. The talk from up here is that they was prob'ly usin' it as a hideout and burned it down on accident. There ain't no way to know a thing like that for shore, but that's the talk down at Silas's store. That's what everbody thinks, but I don't know.

It sounds like somethin' them two would do. They're always huntin' up somewheres like that where they can hide out. Not that they need to hide or nothin'. There ain't nobody lookin' for 'em. But ever now and then their mama gets tired of 'em layin' around the house and takes a broom to 'em and runs 'em off. That's when they go and hunt up a hideout and start plottin' their next crime spree. Of course they ain't never done nothin' and got away with it. The worse thing I remember them doin' is the time they broke into that snake handlin' church that time. That caper almost done 'em in.

They found a winder lite that somebody had left unlocked, prized it up, crawled through into the church house to see what kind of meanness they could get into. They stumbled around in the dark 'til they come across this big ol' wooden box settin' up in front of the pulpit. Surely, they thought, there's somethin' worth stealin' in it or they wouldn't have it nailed shut tryin' to keep people out of it like that. Well, natcherly, they was wrong. Like I said, this was a snake handlin' church. Somebody, one of the church members I s'pose, had gone out and caught a dozen or so copperheads, throwed 'em in that box and nailed it shut. It wasn't to keep people out. It was to keep the snakes in.

I reckon you can about figger out what happened next. Ol' Jesse and James spent the better part of the night draggin' that big box of snakes back to their hideout in that ol' chicken house up behind their mama's house. The plan was to open it up next mornin' and divide the loot. That's where the law found 'em. It wasn't hard to do, what with them draggin' that big wooden box along. It looked like they was tryin' to make a road where they'd pulled it and shoved it along on the ground. So, anyway, the deppity that come up when they reported the break in got in his car, stuck his head out the winder as he drove along and follered it right to where they was holed up.

Later on, he was tellin' a bunch of fellers down at Silas's store about it. Said he was shore s'prised when he throwed open the chicken house door and seen both of 'em perched up there on top of that snake box. They'd prized the lid off of it, turned it over to get to whatever was in it and, when them snakes come tumblin' out, both of 'em jumped up on the box to get away from 'em. So they'd been treed up there three or four hours before he found 'em. Said they was shore 'nuff two scared ol' boys. Said the look on their faces sorta made him feel sorry for 'em.

Up to now they've always been purty much harmless. Oh, they've tried to be bad but they've come off as bein' more pesky than anything else. But if they really did mess around and catch that ol' hawg shed on fire, that goes way past just bein' pesky. What if it'd been somethin' worth somethin'? What if it'd been somebody's barn or somethin'. What if somebody had got hurt? Maybe one of them firefighters. What if one of them firefighters had got hurt puttin' it out. They didn't but it could've happened. Fire ain't nothin' to fool with. If them two done it, and I ain't sayin' that they did, they need to be jerked up by their shirt collars.

Well, I guess that's enough of that. Ain't nobody knows what happened for shore, but they're lookin' into it. They're checkin' it out. If they find out anything, I'll let you know.

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