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!
How's the weather been at your place? It's startin' to cool off a little up here in Gump Holler. It gets cooler at night and I reckon there was a cool front come through late last week and cooled it off some more. Which I like, but I shore could've done without the thunder and lightenin' that come along with it. My mule Rosebud hates thunderstorms worse'n anything. I don't care where she's at, if it starts thunderin' and lightenin' she's gonna be in this house and, if I'd let her, under the bed. But I can't be too hard on her, bless her heart. She just about got lightenin' struck one time. Me and her both thought she had been for awhile. And this last storm was a bad'un.
Lightenin' hit that big ol' tree in Snidely Barkin's hay field right across the road from our house. I don't know why he don't cut that thing down. Seems like this is the third or fourth time lightenin's struck it. It stands out there all by itself and it's a reg'lar lightenin' rod. And I'm like my grandma. I don't want nothin' anywheres around me that draw lightenin'. Not when it's thunderin' and lightenin' I don't.
Grandma always said cats draw lightenin'. She had this ol' cat, ol' Tom she called him, and I used to think she liked him better'n she did airy one of us grand young'uns. He'd jump up in her lap ever time she'd set down and, like I said, she loved him better'n anything, but you let it start thunderin' and lightenin' and he's outta there. She'd take him by the nap of the neck and throw 'im out the front door and slam it behind him. "Cats draw lightenin'," she'd say and that was the end of the discussion far as she was concerned.
I never much b'lieved that ol' Tom really did draw lightenin', but it did seem like he did. But when she's throw him out, he'd take off to the dawghouse settin' under that big pine tree in the front yard. The dawg had long since left for his hidin' place under the front porch, so Tom would head for it to get in out of the rain. And the pine tree, bein' the tallest tree around there, got lightenin' struck once or twice. So my thinkin' is that it was the tree that was doin' the drawin' and not the cat. But you couldn't tell Grandma that. She was as shore as she was of anything that ol' Tom got the tree lightenin' struck. And if there was any stormin' goin' on, she wasn't gonna have him nowheres around her.
It does seem like some people are kinda like lightenin' rods. In a way, Rosebud's like that. I told you that one time she just about got lightenin' struck. That's why she's so scared of storms now. What happened, she was out there in that big tree behind the barn. Not under it, mind you. She'd clum up in the thing. It's a big ol' live oak, easy to climb and big enough to hold half a dozen mules if they took a notion to climb trees. Most of 'em don't, thank God, but Rosebud did and, first thing I knowed, she was way up in it hollerin' at me to come take a pitcher of her with her telephone so she could tweeter it to the birds or some such thing.
I heard her hollerin' and started out there, but I was a purty good ways off. Okay, I'll admit it, I was draggin' my feet. Yeah, mutterin' about tree climbin' mules. Anyway, I was about halfway there when one of them fast-movin' thunderheads popped up over the woods behind her and come rollin' in. It was comin' fast too. It thundered once and she looked around, but it was already right on top of us, lightenin' bolts goin' everwheres. Rosebud was scramblin' around, tryin' to get down when KA-BOOM! The lightenin' knocked her outta the tree and flattened her out like she'd been painted on the ground.
Well, me and her both thought she'd been killed dead. 'Course she hadn't. She was addled, but that was mostly from fallin' outta the tree. She wasn't none the worse for it 'cept that her hair was standin' up all over her body and she couldn't hear nothin' on account of the loud noise it made when the lightenin' struck. Compared to gettin' killed dead, though, not bein' able to hear nothin' for a couple hours didn't seem too bad. You might say bad luck ain't always unlucky.
So look at it like this. Say you've spread yourself a nice picnic lunch under a shade tree on a grassy knoll. Then, right when you're fixin' to bite down on your baloney samwich, a big ol' bull comes chargin' through and runs you up the tree. If that was to happen, chances are you'd say you've had bad luck. But let's say that grassy knoll is in a pasture and that you know there's a bad bull in it. That bein' so, you can think your lucky stars that all he done was run you up a tree. You can't get in a pasture with a bad bull and then holler "bad luck" when he takes after you. I mean, that's what bulls do. Count it good luck if all he does is put you up a tree.
So the question is did Rosebud draw the lightenin' or did it just happen to strike a tree that she just happened to be in? You can't say for certain one way or the other, can you? But you can say one thing. Either way, she's a lucky ol' mule.
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