Friday, November 26, 2004

Thanksgiving in Beloved, part two

The day is progressing well and the jet turkey contest is such a hit.  There have been a few problems, as I mentioned earlier.

One I forgot to mention earlier was the secret ingredient of Miss Henrietta Carpenter.  She is a fine cook and thought she might give her turkey a little extra get up an' go if she added a little to the moonshine.  She doctored it all adding 14 tablespoons of garlic juice and some ramp extract.  Ramps are a wild garlic found in the hills.  Better tasting but more pungent.

When her turkey was lit, it took off fine, but bumped into the turkey of Uncle Jim Bob Combs.  The left wing of her turkey was crumpled a little an' the flag leaned down just enough to make the bird fly in a circle overhead.

It has been flyin' now for over two hours an' the smoke comin' from the backside of that turkey carcass is somethin' awful.  You don't know how bad garlic juice can smell till you add a half pint of ramp extract.

It is like the stinkbomb from purgatory itself...where the worm dieth not an' the fire is not quenched.  It is like the pit of the netherworld has opened up an' the sulfur of a thousand punishments has filtered up.  Oh, Lordy Lou it is bad.

It keeps flyin' round an' round, emittin' that terrible odor.  Folks suggested shootin' it out of the sky, but we are all afraid of gettin some of that stuff on us.  I reckon we'll just have to wait for it to run out of moonshine an' them we'll help Miss Henrietta bury it far away from town.

Miss Annie Pankey has confronted Miss Henrietta an' is hollerin' at her in the Main Street area just in front of the Pappy Yokum Masonic Lodge Number 451 an' is claimin' that odiferous bird has ruined all the quilts for sale in Pankey's Hankies, Annie's antique store on Main Street.

Annie has formally challenged Miss Henrietta to a duel an' said it was definite grounds for a feud between the Pankey an' Carpenter clans.  Luckily we have taken all her shotgun shells a long time ago or it would be bloodshed on the streets of Beloved for sure.

Well, cousins, the next thing to happen is the noontime parade.  I have to start gettin' the squirrels ready for their hamster wheels.  I try to feed each of them a little Skippy Peanut butter each day for a month as we are in trainin'.  I use the chunky kind for them.

This afternoon is the 4H young hen, squab an' Cornish hen jet fly contest.  They use just a half pint of moonshine an' have to make it themselves.  It really does get the youngin's in a holiday mood.

Stephen Hollen
My Daddy always said happiness is like moonshine; make your own and you'll never run out

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving in Beloved

Thanksgiving is a pretty exciting day around my hometown of Beloved, Kentucky.

There is always the famous Thanksgiving Day Parade through the streets of town in which I play Santa and ride in my little red wagon.  I have welded eight little hamster wheels to the pull handle.  I have my eight hand-trained squirrels; named Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixon, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Fluffy, runnin’ as hard as they can in the wheels to pull me along.  They each have their little antlers on that Oh My Darlin’ made from pipe cleaners.  I have a fishin’ pole I hold out in front of them with a walnut on the end of the string.  By movin’ the fishin’ pole I can change directions and go any which way with them little furry fellers.  Only problem I have is the back side of my Santa suit drags in the street an’ when it is snowy or rainin’ it looks like Santa is incontinent.

The excitin’ part is the new addition this year to the Parade an’ all the goin’s on.

You may remember a couple of years ago my Cousin Peanut stirred things up right smart by pumpin’ his scrawny jake turkey full of moonshine.  That there turkey went into orbit an’ became a fine meal of the Americans on that Russian Space Station.  Them astronauts didn’t like the borscht much.  Them there Russians suggested it would go good with fried turkey.  Made folks a little windy…an’ y’all don’t even want to imagine a bunch of windy astronauts an’ cosmonauts in a small space station!

Well anyways, the Thanksgiving Day Parade steerin’ committee decided Cousin Peanut got so much attention from his jet-powered turkey that they made it part of the festivities.  This year is out first ever jet turkey races.

The rules are simple.  Dobson’s General Store bought 50 frozen turkeys all exactly the same size – 11 pounds 4 ounces.  Cousin Peanut’s Daddy, Vergie Chappell came out of retirement to make one batch of turkey jet fuel, that is his world famous moonshine.  Folks agreed that his moonshine was better than even the stuff Cousin Peanut used in his bird.

Each contestant bought a bird at Dobson’s an’ received exactly one quart of Vergie’s finest.  The birds were thawed an’ each was injected at exactly 6:00 am this morning’ with one quart of moonshine right in the tail area.  The folks were allowed to decorate their turkey any way they wanted, but were not allowed to put anything other than a small American Flag on a stick on each wing to provide lift – just like Cousin Peanut’s bird ended up with as it flew through the leftover 4th of July decorations at the very first jet turkey fly.

At daylight the contest began an’ it was like somethin’ out of the movies.  The fireworks over the state capitol of Frankfort couldn’t have been more amazin’.  Good thing each bird was limited to one quart.  We’d of never been able to judge the winner if they went any further.  As it was, each bird was fitted with trackin’ devices that fellers usually put on their coon dogs when they go into the woods.  Coon dogs is known to run off, so radio collars were developed so’s fellers could find them.

Each bird’s trackin’ collar was turned on just after the “beauty contest”.  Amy Snoddy won that part of the contest with her turkey dressed up as Dolly Parton.  I don’t know how she figured out a way to lift and separate that there turkey breast, but it weren’t too aerodynamic an’ it crashed an’ burned first thing off the launch pad.  Too top heavy, I reckon.

One by one the contestants lit the tail of their turkey.  The moonshine would sizzle for a second before it took off, then, Nellie hold the door!!!  Them turkeys, with their wings spread an’ American Flags flyin’ from each wing tip took off like a moonshiner bein’ chased by the Revenuers from Hades themselves.  It were a glorious sight as the sun came up like a big ol red ball over the hills of Appalachia.  One by one they lit up their tails an’ flew like the wind.

Folks got out of the way real fast as they took off.  It wasn’t long before they was out of sight.  ‘Course, they was the accidents an’ all.  I mentioned the Dolly Parton turkey that was too top heavy.  It hit the street an’ just skittered aroun’ for near a half an hour till it ran out of moonshine.  They was one that Sister Hazel Nutt Budder had mistakenly stuffed with oyster dressin’. They didn’t know an’ it couldn’t be helped.  That turkey exploded in midair.  Folks was covered by four pounds of the best oyster dressin…complete with three quarts of oysters that Sister Hazel had shipped in all the way from Cincinnati, Ohio.  That was a mess, I’ll tell you what.

I won’t even go into detail ‘bout the one that Homer Hiney entered. He thought that if he widened the tail a little by flattenin’ it out, the moonshine might burn slower an’ the flight might be longer.  When he flattened it, he didn’t realize he was messin’ with a natural jet aperture.  All his ol turkey did was sit on the startin’ line sizzlin’ an’ makin’ sounds like that of a flatulent astronaut after havin’ too much borscht.

Well, they are trackin’ the turkeys right now with a homemade radar device.  So far forty-three turkeys are still in the contest an’ they have passed from Clay County air space an’ the control tower at the Corbin, Kentucky airport has given them clearance to continue on across the Cumberland Gap an’ into the Tazwell, Tennessee area.

It’s goin’ to be a great day in the history of my hometown of Beloved, Kentucky.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

My Daddy

Well cousins,
December 17 would have been my Daddy's 80th birthday.  Note the "would have been".  You see, he found out on April 4th that he had a mass in his lungs.  Then a few days later they told him he had maybe 6 months to live...them they said 3-6 at the most.  They actually were being overly generous.  He died 41 days after they found the mass.  Cancer had crept its way into his body like the thief it is and took his life from him very quickly.

Now, folks tell me it was a blessing he went so very quick.  From my point of view that is not much of a blessing.  It is a terrible thing.

I called him Pappy most of the time.  He was a kind and gentle soul who I never heard bad mouth anyone.  I have seen him get up when folks were gossiping and go to another room.  That was the kind of fellow he was.

When I was a little boy Pappy had a gold tooth in front.  I think it was one of his incisors.  He had it replaced when he was in the Navy during WWII.  Later in life he wore dentures and his smile never was the same.  Mama begged him to get that gold tooth put in his dentures, but he said it tasted bad.

Pappy wasn't much of a talker.  When I told him I loved him, his usual reply was "same here".  It always reminded me of Fred Flintstone saying, "Vicey versey Wilma" when Wilma told him she loved him.  It just wasn't easy for my Daddy to talk like that. 

I wish he had been able to say good-bye to my brother Mike and I.  I guess I have seen too many movies or read too many books, but I wanted to hear him say good-bye and give me some words to live the rest of my life by.  Sort of like him telling me one last time what he wanted me to do.

'Course, he hasn't told me what to do for a long time, so I guess he didn't see the need.

You know, I knew he was in his declining years, but I didn't think my Daddy would die.  I just didn't think it was possible.

I wrote him one letter after I found out.  Just one.  I told him I loved him and was proud of him.  I planned to write more, but there just wasn't time.

I reckon Pappy is with the Good Lord now.  I plan to join him someday.  I suspect he is just sitting there, maybe on a porch waiting.  I also bet he is having the time of his eternity.