Miz Janie, I think yu mite bee juz rite for my friend Paw. We hang out together a lot an I think yu could fit rite in See, Paw aint never had no reel gurl an hiz blowup gurl got ripped up awhile back. Yu mite remebur thizzeer tale thet our buddy Catspaw rote about when we first met him. I think it sez a lot bout Paw.
Reminds me of when I first met Cletus, Paw, and Buford. They turned up selling Christmas trees.......interesting trees........much like y'all are discussing here............
I had noticed an area on Rt. 664 just outside of our little village being carefully prepared and roped off as I drove by and every now and then there were these three guys working there, building a little shed and driving stakes into the ground about 6 feet apart. It finally dawned on me that they were getting ready to sell Christmas trees. Now I have always gotten ours from the same place for years, but the prices were getting pretty steep so I kept an eye out for new sources. The day they put up the lights, I stopped by to see when they'd be bringing the trees in.
As I got out of the van I couldn't help but notice that these three, from all appearances, were a bit "down on their luck" and it made me want to help them out a bit. Cletus came up to me and introduced himself and I asked about the trees. He was glad to tell me all about them in that way which I've since learned to interpret. At that time however all I could seem to understand was that they were "working on them." These many years later, that kind of phrase would set off alarms, but I didn't know Cletus then so I thought it was just an odd hilljack way of phrasing things. Paw came over and I liked the old guy a lot right away. He said he'd seen me before and I remembered something about the sewage plant and the day it exploded. I couldn't place what it was that this guy had to do with it but the correlation seemed quite vivid. I shook his hand and he farted in return.
I had never met anyone who was quite so casual with flatulence. Paw used it almost as punctuation......."How ya' doin'?" (rriippp) "Purty day ain't she?" (bbraawwmmpp)..........Let's say it took some getting used to and made it easy to understand why this old coot could probably not find gainful employment. But for all that, he was a friendly cuss who told me they called him Paw because he was from Paw-Paw, West Virginia. He pointed out the other fellow named Buford who was involved in extricating himself from a string of Christmas lights that seemed to have attacked him. Even from a distance, the unmistakable smell of Iron City brew was pretty strong. I figured he spilled about the same amount on himself as he drank and I later found this to be not only true, but the amounts involved were prodigious.
All in all, I couldn't help but like them even if they were, well, let's just call them odd and drop it right there. They told me the trees would be in and they'd be open for business on Friday at 6 PM. I left shaking my head at the idea of bringing Karen and the kids to "pick out the tree" as was so traditional with our family. What the hell? We can at least check them out.
On Friday afternoon Karen and I were going into Lancaster and as we passed by I pointed out the place, not that it was really necessary to point. I'd never seen anything quite so garish in my life but it was one of those gray Ohio days, very cold and occasionally spitting snow so perhaps it was the contrast......perhaps not. Karen was making comments about the place, but as we drove past we could both see the trees that were now in place quite well. Surprisingly enough, they looked magnificent! All were very full and perfectly shaped and a greener bunch of Christmas trees I'd never seen. Even at 65 mph, Karen saw one on the far end of the first row that she said was absolutely "the one!" Since she and our kids were going to spend the night with Connie and go shopping on Saturday, I promised her I'd stop back and get the tree and forget the tradition for one year.
So on my return trip I looked at my watch and saw that I'd arrive about the time Cletus told me they would open and sure enough, I was the first one there. Cletus, Paw, and Buford, greeted me as a long lost friend. They were really in the Christmas Spirit and offered me some of their "spirits." Friends, there is 'Shine and then there is 'Shine and whatever it was they had in the Mason jars was not. I found out later that this was a homebrew of their own and made not from corn, but soybeans, and distilled through an old radiator off a Mack. Luckily I only tasted it, but that single gulp went down like a 4-stage rocket, taking my breath away, and immediately starting to bore a hole in my stomach. After the coughing subsided I gave them the common courtesy line you use upon tasting any 'Shine..........."Smooth!"
They were all adorned themselves with some of the seediest Santa hats I had ever seen and were ready for business. They said I was the first customer and I nodded appreciatively while glancing about at the trees. Even up at a closer viewing they seemed almost perfectly formed and beautifully green and I thought the light snow must be the reason they glistened so under the glaring bulbs. It was dark now and the temperature had dropped to about 25 with a nasty northwesterly blowing in a chill from Alberta. My eyes were no longer crossed from the 'Shine and I slowly became aware that something was odd about the trees. They weren't moving at all. Not a branch, not a needle, absolutely nothing was moving although the breeze was pretty stiff. Paw commented on the weather and let fly an air biscuit as I walked over to the tree Karen had seen earlier. I reached out to touch it and it was positively stiff!
I felt several branches and the whole thing down to the smallest needle was like glass. I put a little extra pressure on a needle and it shattered in my gloved hand. What the hell was this anyway? Cletus came up and asked how I liked them as Paw and Buford tossed wood in a barrel to start a warming fire. I said I thought these were real trees, but they seemed to be artificial. Cletus protested they were real.......and recycled. Once in awhile you hear sommething that is so completely ridiculous that it takes some time before you can absorb the fact that the speaker is completely serious.
Recycled Christmas trees............
My mind was slowly opening to the sound of Cletus' voice proudly telling the tale of how they collected them last year and then formed them up, glued in branches with rubber cement, gave them several coats of shellac, painted them with spray cans of "Yew Be Green" epoxy, and topped the job off with several coats of lacquer. Recycled.......uh................yeah............
I stared at the tree. I stared at Cletus. I stared at the tree. I stared at Cletus. I stared at the tree. I stared at Cletus. Cletus noticed I was a bit pale and pulled me by the arm over to the shed where Paw and Buford had finished filling the barrel and were dumping gasoline onto the contents. Cletus said that I should have another drink and then Paw asked if I was cold. I nodded vacantly, my mind still unable to absorb the insanity which surrounded me. Then I heard Cletus say, "Hey Paw, show him how we light a fire."
With that, Paw bent over pointing his butt at the barrel, Buford held a Zippo to his ass, and Paw ripped a monster of a fart, something akin to a Cherry Bomb in it's magnitude. An enormous flame shot out of his ass and ignited the barrel which flared high in the air. But it was a truly huge blaster and the flames not only ignited the barrel, but the nearest recycled Christmas trees. Coated as they were with such a combustible mixture, they didn't catch fire, they friggin' exploded! Bits of flaming plastic-like shards went flying away on the wind to explode the next tree, and the next, and the next. Within 30 seconds the remnants of every tree was flaming brightly and in less than a minute the flames were gone and 50 smoldering sticks were all that remained. None of us had moved and Paw was still bent over and looking over his shoulder at the charred remains of their business.
The next day when I picked Karen up, we stopped at our usual place and picked out a lovely Frazier Fir. I had told her the story and that I figured that here was a case where a single fart may not have saved the world, but at least did save 50 home fires. We stopped at their place and the boys were cleaning up the mess and told us it probably meant a Christmas that would be a little bleak for them. Karen is a kind soul and right then and there invited them to our place for Christmas Day. She said they should come early and maybe Santa will have left something for them and that they would be welcome for Christmas dinner too. As we drove home I tried to explain that this probably wasn't a great idea but Karen felt pretty bad for them and they had cheerfully accepted her invitation.
On Christmas morning they arrived at 6 AM and the day went downhill from there. But that's another story.
So no matter how bad it is and how you feel, there is always a friend out there for you. Even if you're obnoxious, nasty, and haven't bathed in a month, there is always the chance that if you can light a good fart, miracles will occur.
Now iffen yu want ta git together with Paw juz let me no