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Archive for March, 2007

Red River Wizdum

  1. Never let a preachur nor a polytishin hold yore wallet nor yore wife’s hand.
  2. A snake in a tow sack will always give you less trouble than a man in a robe.
  3. The fella that is yellin “Trust me” the loudest is the one most likely to have yore horse tied up behind hiz barn.
  4. The Left Wingers and the Right Wingers seem to forgit they is supposed to be on the same bird.
  5. A man that has a gun but tries to tell you he is a pacifist is jest a well-armed liar.
  6. Never take directions from somebody who has a map in his own hand.
  7. The judge and the weather fella iz the only two in the county that kin be wrong half the time and still get paid  onest a week.
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Well most of the churches in this little area was typical ones you mite see anywhere in a small town. We didn’t have no Catholics or Jews but we sure had the rest of em. There was a simmerin rivalry amongst the local preachers and it kinda boiled down to whose flock could make the most noise on Sundays and drop the most money in the hat afterwards. It’s a fact that there weren’t no ten dollar bills offered up after the sermons cause they weren’t no rich folks to do it. It was a close scrape just to keep the doors open, the pe-anna tuned, and the lights turned on. As a result of the slim pickins, most of the preachers had to take real jobs so them and their kin could eat three squares a day and not show up at church nekid. Now the bad side to all this was that most preachers couldn’t do nuthin that would earn them a livin. If they could they probly wouldn’t a been preachin. There sure wasn’t no farmers or ranchers amongst em and most didn’t know which end of the hawg the ham come off of. No sir, it was a sad state of affairs for most of em see-in that this was a dirt-poor, hard scrabble farm community and that was where the few jobs lay. Why on earth them preachers wanted this misery I could never figure but I guess they was kinda fond of standin up in front of folks and listenin to themselves talk, then eatin somebody else’s fried chicken and sweet tater pie afterwards. Well sometimes things got purty tight and preachers wsa pushed into takin a job kinda crosswise with the teachins of the Lord, like sellin TV’s and other works of the Devil. Usually, if they liked the preacher, the deacons would just put on their blinders for a spell knowin somethin else would come about before too long. The preachers was usually encouraged to try and land something far enough away it was out of site of God and the congregation. This is kinda where this story begins. For nearly ten years Malcolm T. Willbarger had been the preacher at “The Last Chance Church of Redemption” and he had been a good-un. During the era when Malcolm T was preaching it was so packed on Sunday that folks who showed up late better had brung their own milk stools if they wanted a seat. Some said the secret to Malcom T’s success had been his ability to paint a colorful and shockingly frank picture of the worldly carryin-on of folks in the big cities. He was known to spend a goodly portion of his sermon describin the sins of the flesh. His flock came away both entertained and relieved that their own sinful imaginations was so limited alongside the Sodomites and Go-morites of the world.  Some left inspired in other ways. Well nuthin is gonna last for good and Ol Malcolm T’s reputation fur preaching and filling the hat on Sunday landed him a church in none other than the big city itself. When the word got out that Malcolm T was history the other preachers in the area thanked the Lord and set about roping in as many of “Last Chance’s” flock as they could get.      Malcolm T. had been kinda anxious to get started savin more “prosperous” souls and had left the day after the letter come in the mail, leavin his old flock without a shepherd. The other preachers knowed that the good folks at “Last Chance” was in fur a string of fill-in preachers, or even worse, the deacons themselves, and mite be easy pickins.     Probably out of panic the deacons of “Last Chance” hired the first fella that come down the road, Henry Wishum. Some had argued that Henry was short on time at the pulpit but the others said he seemed to have fire like Ol Malcolm T when he preached. So when it come to a vote the deacons were split but Henry was offered the job anyway, at about a dime on the dollar of what most other preachers ws gettin and that on a trial basis. Henry had been told by the deacons that if he could hold the flock together for six months they would re-think his wages. A fella could lose a lot of weight not eatin for six months and Henry knowd that he better get him a plan together quick. When Malcolm T was preaching for “Last Chance” they had built him a purty nice parsonage so Henry, being a single fella, knowd that he just had to bring in enough extry to keep him in beans and fatback til times got better. Well one of the advantages of preaching is you git to meet a lot of sinners. Henry knowd that “where there is sinners there is opportunity”. He had a kinda natural knack for the preaching bidness. It weren’t long before Henry was hooked up with a fella across the river in Oklahoma, Ollie Poteet, who was running the cock fights on Saturdays. The fights started purty early and lasted deep into the night if the crowd held. Now, in that Henry was a man of the Lord, Ollie Poteet had the preacher watch the poke and Ollie had his half-brother, Russell, watch Henry. Russell was as crooked as a snake’s peejamas but he sure weren’t gonna let noone else steal a dime that mite land in his pocket later. All that Henry had to do was make sure that Ollie got the house rake from each fight at the end of the night. He kept Ollie’s poke in a ceegar box tucked under his arm. Henry came out with a little piece of the poke and the added benefit of purty much all the dead chickens he could take home to eat. Ol’ Russell liked to show off some and he carried a sawed-off shotgun around all the time at the cock fights. Now this made the preacher a bit skittish as he started thinking Russell mite try to fill him full of buckshot some night and hijack the ceegar box. After giving it some thought Henry bought hisself a little two dollar pistol from another sinner he knowd. It was small enough to fit real handy in his pocket and it gave him some relief from his frettin over Russell’s thieving nature. Some months went by and the preacher got so comfortable with that little pistol in his pocket that he forgot it was even there. He even got somewhat relaxed around Russell, like you might a snake under a coffee can. Surrounded once a week by the most notorious sinners on either side of the Red River, Henry was able to craft and deliver sermons every bit as colorful as Ol Malcolm T ever had. With just one more Sunday preaching to go before his trial time was up, Henry was feeling purty good about his odds at gettin a nice-sized raise from the deacons and finally having Saturdays all to hisself. Beings he was sorta indisposed on Saturdays the preacher had always made sure his sermon was writ up and set to memry by Friday supper. Well that was the way it had been up until that fateful last weekend.         It had come a big tornady across the river in the middle of the week. Bright and early Friday morning Ollie sent his haf-wit brother to fetch the preacher to help out with some last minute fixin-up of the cockfight area. Trees was down and pens tore up and by the time Henry got back to the parsonage that night he was so tuckered out he went straight to bed with no sermon writ up at all. As anybody knows, when luck starts running downhill it just picks up speed. When the preacher showed up the next morning Ollie was sittin in his pickup truck all stove up with a throwed-out back. He told the preachur that Russell was gonna have to run the fights but that, no way in Hell, was the poke to be turned over at the end of the night to nobody but  hisself.. Henry saw that Ollie was already hittin the jug purty hard in order to deal with his back misery and he knowd that things would go south real quick if Ollie took hisself out too early with that shine. The preacher figured if Russell got it into his head that he was mano-a mano with him, he would be on Henry like a duck on a June bug. and him and the poke would be good as history. Henry reached into his pocket and made sure he had that little pistol with him. He figured if he was purty watchful that day he could keep a few steps ahead of Ol Russell, the haf-wit’s  brain being smaller than a day-old biskit.  Failin that, he might at least surprise Russell and maybe get a shot off before he could bring the scattergun into play. The plan was thin for sure and the extra watchin it took all day kept Henry’s nerves on edge. Whenever he got a chance between fights Henry would stop by Ollie’s truck and check on him but each trip found Ollie a sittin a little lower in the seat and the jug a little emptier. By dark Ollie’s head had all but disappeared below the winder glass and to make matters worse, the preacher knowd that Russell had been making his rounds by the truck too. Well just after midnight the last cockfight was finally done and, as quick as he could, Ol Henry scooped the house share into that ceegar box and hot-footed it up to Ollie’s truck. There was still plenty of folks millin around so he knowd he was safe til everybody cleared out and he was sure prayin Ollie was in good enough shape to take the poke. When he first walked up he thought Ollie had got out to take a pee or something cuz he couldn’t even see the top of his head. But when the preacher shined his flashlight through the winder he almost fell backwards cuz there was Ollie layed plum down in the floorboard with his eyes bugged out and glazed over and his false teeth about half hangin out of his mouth. To make matters even worst Ollie appeared to have given up on the prospect of breathin. Henry jerked open the truck door and commenced to shaking Ollie for all he was worth. But no matter how hard he shook him the onliest thing that come of it was Ollie’s teeth poppin the rest of the way out of his head and a sliding down onto his belly. Somewhere in the midst of his corpse-shakin Henry become aware that the sounds of rooster loading and truck starting was thinning out. Just as he looked up through the windshield he saw Ol Russell, lit up by a full moon, working his way up the hill towards Ollie’s truck. It weren’t gonna do no good to stay where he was and he shore couldn’t leave the poke with a dead man so the preacher took off towards his Ol Chevy sedan as fast as his skinny legs would carry him. The preacher knowd for shore that Ollie’d fallen prey to his brother’s greed and he figured to be next on the list. Well, when Russell saw the preacher bolt with the poke under his arm he lowered that old scattergun and let off a blast. Now them sawed off barrels ain’t knowd for shootin strait but that buckshot will fan out purty good and a more than a few pellets found their mark in the preachers’s hind end. The scattergun  spun Henry around like a dime store top and he landed in the dirt about twenty yards from his Chevy. Still clutchin the ceegar box under one arm the preacher was digging in his pocket hard for that two dollar pistol. He finally got that little pop gun out just as Russell come out of the shadows, shotgun first. Russell never knowd that the preacher even had a gun so he walked up purty cocky. As soon as Russell was within spittin distance Henry closed both eyes and let off a shot that hit his adversary square in the kneecap. Russell dropped the scattergun, howlin  in pain, and hit the ground rollin around like a hawg in a waller. Not knowing where his shot had hit nor needing no more encouragement the preacher got back up on his feet, ceegar box in one hand and pistol is the other, and hobbled towards his car as fast as a man can when half his ass ain’t workin. Russell was too sidetracked to even take another shot as Henry raced by in his car. Woke up by the noise and a mite befuddled Ol Ollie sat up jest in time to see the preacher speed by, eyes as big as cow pattys, leanin way over to one side. It was a good ten minutes before Ollie located his teeth and his half brother and realized the preacher had flew the coop with his money. Henry knowd his preaching days in that area was over. He never saw Ollie sit up as he sped by so he figured him dead and maybe Russell too and with the poke in his possession he was destined to be a local fugitive from whatever passed as the law in Bryan County. Well, as it turned out no one around these parts ever seen hide nor hair of Ol Henry Wishum again but a few months later I heared a rumor that they was two radio preachers battling it out in Dallas, Texas.

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The Farmer’s Will

Well when somebody passes on in the country it is an event, specially if it looks the least bit suspicious. A few years back the mail man found Cecil DeWalter hangin from his windmill with a note to the Widder Ledbetter in his overall’s pocket. The note declared his “undyin love and devoshun” to her and allowed that if she wuzn’t goin to accept hiz advances that she mite at least take his estate and he thereby willed her hiz property and savins. Cecil had always been a stikler fur detale and he had put down every cow, hawg, or bale of hay he owned in that note, along with his paid-fur machinry and the bank where he kept his poke.

Now some around this part of the county were sayin that kettle smelled like fish becuz he had also writ that none of his kin were to git so much as a plugged nickel from his leavins. As you can imagine there was quite a stir over this deel in that he had sired a purty large famly befur hiz own beloved Sylvia had passed on ten years earlier.

Cecil hadn’t even stiffened up real good before the kids started raisin holy cane and demandin that Sheriff Wardell declare him murdered by no other than the object of his affectshun and the benefactor of his last will and testyment, Ola Mae Ledbetter. The case wuz kinda complycated in that Ola Mae herself wuz in her seventies and in no shape to wressel a rope around ol Cecil’s neck and hawl him up that windmill.

Never the less the DeWalter offspring were pressin Bob Wardell to “do hiz job” and find the evydense showin Ola Mae wuz the culprit. Sheriff Bob had been wearin that badge almost since Truman was swore in and he weren’t gonna be pushed around by nobody, but he did declare a formal investigation and he and Constable Lucas Mulrooney went on out and poked around a bit at Cecil’s farm. Lucas was Sheriff Bob’s nefew and dumber than a sack of rocks but everybody knew that as long as hiz uncle wuz sheriff he would keep gettin appointed to hiz county job. Bob took him along most times to keep him safe from hisself. When Bob and Lucas drove up, Cecil’s kids were standin around the windmill waitin on em. By now each one had a theerey on how it had been “pulled off”.

The oldest boy, Dale, was purty shur the Widder Ledbetter had drugged the ol man with a glass of sweet tea or somethin as they wur standin under the windmill and then jest tied one end of the rope around hiz neck, looped the rope over the top of the windmill platform and tied the other end to the John Deere and hauled him off the ground. Hiz story thinned out a bit when it come time to explain how Ola Mae had climbed up over twenty feet to the windmill and run the rope over the top. Dale allowed she wuz probably a lot more sprite than she looked and maybe on them mega-vitimins or sumthin.

The next theerey come from the second oldest and the only daughter, Violet. As she wuz the only DeWalter offspring to get mostly all the way thru school , she wuz purty cocky and certin that she had put it all together. She reminded Constable Mulrooney how that fella at the fair last Fall had put him in a trance in front of half the county and made him run around that stage on all fours and scratch hisself like a baboon. Lucas said he didn’t recall nuthin like that happenin to him and Sheriff Bob allowed that wudn’t have been much of a stretch fur Lucas no-way. Violet insisted that Bob search Ola Mae’s house  fur books on trances.

It cudda been the water or sumthin but it wuz common knowledge that as the DeWalter kids wuz born each one turned out dumber than the last and Sheriff Bob suspected that these theerys wurn’t gonna be gettin much better. None the less he leaned aginst that ol windmill, sighed, and waited fur Cecil’s boy, Neil, to pitch hiz vershun of hiz daddy’s demise.

Neil wuzn’t the youngest but he had been the last to leave home, mainly cuz he wuz felony careless. Prone to stickin his fingers and toes in machinry and choppin what wuz left off with the other tools on the farm, Neil had been forbid by his daddy from leavin the yard or handlin anythin more complycated than the porch swing.

Once Neil’s momma had passed on Cecil coudn’t keep an eye on him no more so he sent him into town to stay with the preachur and hiz wife and they got him a job at the church house sweepin up. Unfortunately Neil’s bein around the preachur and hearin hiz religious rants all the time had kinda clouded hiz smallish brain. So it wuz no surprize when Neil declared the Widder Ledbetter to be possessed by demons.

Neil pointed his mostly fingerless right hand up in the direction of the windmill and explained how Ola Mae had used her unnatural powers to get the rope over the top of the platform. Accordin to Neil, it wud also explain how she tricked hiz poor Ol Daddy into turnin everythin over to her.

The last of the group, the twins Marvin and Larry, kinda stood off from the rest of them. When Neil quit talkin Marvin cleared his throat and said that he and hiz twin didn’t think the Widder Ledbetter had nuthin to do with it. Now this was a different twist and Sheriff Wardell cocked his head over to one side and asked them what they thought might have happened.

This time Larry spoke up and he said that they figured hiz Ma was plenty mad about their Ol Daddy chasin after the Widder and she had come back from the grave and killed him and framed Ola Mae with that note. As such, they figured, the onliest way to make things right wuz fur the court to declare the note a weapon and throw out the will so as Missus Ledbetter’s good name and reputation could be restored. The Sheriff started thinkin the twins mite a been adopted.

With all those clues tucked away in his mind Sheriff Bob and Lucas drove over to the Ledbetter house to speak with Ola Mae.

The Ledbetter farm was neat as a pin and the flower beds in front of the house were in full bloom. Ola Mae had leased the farmland out when her husband had died and she only had to keep up with the little spot around her house. Bob had phoned ahead so as not to surprize Ola Mae and she was sittin on the front porch when they drove up.

Ola Mae Ledbetter sure didn’t look like no windmill climbin killer as she used her cane on her way into the house. Bob kinda worked hiz way into things by talkin about the weather and how purty her flower beds looked. She allowed as how the church group had come out that Spring and weeded and planted her beds and clipped her hedges.

There was a bit of a lull in the small talk and Ola Mae offered them some iced tea. Sheriff Bob said yes, if it weren’t too much trouble, but Lucas was quick to decline. It took her a few minutes to hobble around the kitchen gettin the ice and the glasses ready and Sheriff Bob noticed Lucas eyeing her bookcase purty hard, probably tryin to figur out how to spell “trance” he thought.

When Ola Mae come back into the drawin room with the tea and had a chance to sit down Sheriff Bob told her that he had to look into thangs cuz of Cecil’s death and the note and all. Ola Mae jest nodded her head and kept sippin her sweet tea.

When the Sheriff was finished Ola Mae looked at both a her visitors fer a minit, sighed real loud, then beginst to tell how Cecil had started comin by right after Sylvia had passed on. She said she felt kinda bad fur him cuz now he wuz alone, his kids were no count and he had the farm to take care of by hisself. She said she remembered how hard it had been fur her when Nathan had died with no kids at all to turn to. She went on to explain how Cecil had becum a nuisance over time and she couldn’t git nothin done with him underfoot every afternoon. She had finally told him to leave her be and had quit pickin up the telephone or answerin the door past noon.

Sheriff Bob asked her how long it had been since Ol Cecil had come around and she said he had kept away fur quite a spell but had started back about a month ago. He had been over the very afternoon that the mailman found him hangin.

She had barely got the words out when Lucas jumped to his feet and blurted out “We never said he hung hisself’! He looked proudly over at his uncle jest as Bob smacked him alongside the head. The story had already been in the county paper and on the TV for three days. Bob apologized to Ola Mae and sent Lucas outside to check the tire pressures on the cruiser.

Bob asked her if she had knowd that Cecil wuz thinkin about harmin hisself and she said he used that threat all the time and she didn’t take it fur truth til she heered about it from the very same mail man that found him. Until she saw it on TV she didn’t even know he had left her a cent, nor did she want any of hiz estate. She allowed as how it had been an embarrassment from nearly the beginning and had got worse with hiz death. She jest wanted to be left to herself and let hiz kids fight over the leavins.

Sheriff Bob told Ola Mae that this wuz the last of it as far as the county wuz concerned, thanked her fer the sweet tea, and took hiz leave. When he got outside Lucas wuz still tryin to figure out how to use the tire gage. On the way back into town Lucas expressed hiz keen disappointment in not havin a run at checkin out the “mega vitimin” theery by goin thru Ola Mae’s medicine chest. Sheriff Bob closed his eyes and wondered if hiz sister had ever carried on with one of the DeWalters.

Well, as it turned out, Ola Mae signed over any share in Cecil’s estate and that left it to the kids to figure out how to swindle one another out of what their poor Ol Daddy had worked so hard to git. Dale and Violet teamed up aginst Neal and the twins and even the preachur got in it by tryin to declare hisself Neal’s legal guardian and submittin a bill fer his care.

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Well I got into a little word scrap the other day with a fella who claimed my argument was based on “anecdotal evydense” and shouldn’t carry no more weight than a popcorn fart.  Well that galled me purty good for a few days and then I got to rememberin some things.

Awhile back I ended up in devorce court  over anecdotal evydense and the judge gave it plenty of weight!  I proclaimed that I was merely a victum of my own poor memry and a wife who was felony suspicious.

Now despite loud and mostly false accusations from my soon-to-be ex “numero cinco”   I maintained my innocense before the court.  After all, I argued,  how was I to know the thong I bought for her  was used, three sizes too small and lost behind the seat of my truck. And “No, Yur Honor, I didn’t think to keep the danged receipt”.

Now I didn’t see the legal case on that one cuz there weren’t no legs stickin outta that thong nor no  glossy picturs of me and her (if there had been a me and her).  I told the judge that there weren’t no hard evidence in this case and he allowed that, considerin my age, probly too much time had passed for that consideration…whatever that ment.

Anyway, back to my point about circumstantial evydense.  Its all in who wants to beleve whut.  For example, if a woman wants to think she looks like Marily Monroe then the fact that she is 300 lbs and wearin a pup tent  ain’t gonna change her mind. 

And , on the other hand, if this card-cheatin, double-deelin fella from the other day wants to maintain that jest becuz the Ace of spades fell outta his hat don’t mean that he put it there…well then I say fine, the Judge otta make “numero cinco” give me back my Ford truck and my huntin rifles.

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Dear Friends

Dear friends,

I am writing to let you know that if I have been a little slow gettin back to you on your emails it’s a result of me discoverin something called a “bulk mail folder” and it has been a genuinely rewarding human experience. I didn’t know so many people knew me, had special feelins about me nor were concerned about my welfare.

As I think about it tho, Hoag’s Bait, Tackle, and Ammo did have my picture holding that 8 pound black bass on their bulletin board for over a month last Fall and I am a charter member and former president of the North Texas Tri-County Night Crawlers Association. But never-the-less it did come as quite a shock when “Tanya” offered to show me pictures of her private areas. Now I’m sure this must be Tanya Bowles from Bulcher cuz J.D. Whitless told me that she was kinda handy with her polaroid.

I almost cried when a little lady from all the way over in Somalia offered to give me half of her poor dead daddy’s life savings if I would just help her out a little with some paperwork and living expenses. She was in a refuse camp drinkin muddy water and eatin bugs but she still took the time to think of me. Now that is what I call the milk of human kindness. I’m purty sure I can run the John Deere back through the bank one more time and help that little gal out…no charge!

I had a bit of a scare around the holidays this year with my ticker and I guess the word got out there cuz folks I never even heered of has been sendin me stuff on losing some weight and gettin some cheap mexican medicine. If the hair growin paste works out too I mite have to toss out my ol cap collection and get me another picture pinned up down at Hoag’s .

I think one of my ex-wives has been talkin trash about me tho cuz eight or ten times a day I get advice on tally-whacker pumps and the like. Well I’m sure that is comin from Lindy Sue and she wouldn’t know the difference if she hadn’t taken such a shining to country rap.

Anyway I am gettin plenty of offers from younger wimmen who are lettin me know it’s a sure thing, if you catch my drift. One gal from Houston sent me her own personal private phone number and talked to me for over two hours last nite tellin me all the stuff she was goin to do to me if I ever got down there. I don’t think she even seen my bass picture. Wooooeeee!!! The word on this ol boy is out!!!

Well, lookin at my brand new $29.95 real deal Rolex, it looks like I have jest enuf time for me to find out what Jennifer, Kandi, and Ginger are up to and cash in on my free plane tickets and Kitchen Aide.  Hell I might jest go to Houston this weekend on one of them new plastic cards and see if that ol gal is a keeper.

It is a wondrous world and I am lucky to be in it!

Porchhound

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Letter to Cascadians

Friends,

Well I guess you folks feel pretty battered by this winter…and rightly so I reckon. All those storms and cold fronts rolling in one right after another like a caravan of poor relatives. I want you to know I have been watchin and sayin my prayers for ya’ll nearly every night (except thursday when I bowl and get home late). But you pretty much got through it now and even though times ain’t as high as they wuz last year before the Super Bowl you can hold your heads up proud for being Cascadians. Tough bunch, especially the women folk.Now its easy to sit around and think you got the ugliest dog on the porch but there is others out there with their own trials and tribulations. I just want ya’ll to know it ain’t easy bein here in Texas.

First, there is all this fuss about our former govner. Now I am a card carryin Republican (you have to be in order to pack a gun and drink whiskey at the same time in Texas). I think once the facts are all in, history will find that ol George did the best he could with what he had to work with.

Deer season is over and we just got a report from the game warden that some of em lived….the hunters that is. A survey found that each hunter fired an average of 300 rounds and drank a gallon of Old Crow…on opening day. There was a three day lull before the survivors could return to the woods and find their deer blinds,. Dick Cheney showed up but didn’t kill anything cuz its hard to bring one down with rubber bullets.

Now the weather wern’t that great here neither. We had snow and ice and there wuz terrible accidents everywhere. Bert Mueller (of Bert and Sadie Mueller) lost control of his brand new Dodge pickup and ran right through the Chili Bowl Lanes during league night. He took out the stuffed animal machine and darn near killed the shoe shine boy. It cost him an extra $200.00 to get Chief Bob to removethe lovely Mary Jo Reuter off his passenger list on the accident report. Luckily nobody wuz really hurt tho Mary Jo did have some discomfort when her right ear hit the tuner knob on Bert’s radio.

Sears and Roebuck had a bunch of tire chains brought in but even tho we all bought some we still didn’t have enough to cover much of the roads.

As you can see we need some relief here too. If we can hold on one more month it will be cow-tippin season and things will lighten up a bit.

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