The Rest of the Story
As you can see, this Funny Farm Story was written almost seven years ago and still rings through with Clint’s uncanny ability to take the normal and really bring out the humor in the most delightful way. Skinning a deer, digging potatoes, stack cakes, things that most of us don’t give a second thought, become totally hilarious when Clint put pen to paper! As usual, I am sure you will be doing belly laughs as you read the stories.
Heaven knows that hundreds of you seem to revel in my near misses with eternity…from close calls with rabid groundhogs to “shocking” encounters with electrified barbed wire, my life has been nothing if not exciting since moving to Mitchell County in 2010.
While my sojourns as Farmer Clint have obviously provided humorous moments around the kitchen table, other mysterious events marked my time on the farm. And I want to share a few of those as well.
My son Adam is a deer hunter, I am not. The only “hunt” I ever made was with my mama to the A&P Store meat department (does anyone out there remember that historic chain store?) Other than that, the only wild critter I ever saw killed was a rabbit from my Uncle Lum’s property, where he also had a rather productive still!
As a senior executive with Verizon Corporation twelve years ago I often returned home late night from business trips all over the world. One night I returned, exhausted, to my Texas home after a journey to Sidney, Australia. . As I pulled into the driveway, headlights on high-beam, I was puzzled to see that my newly installed cedar fence was now dark red. Moreover there was a monster of some sort suspended from the top of the fence and an amber substance forming a river down my new concrete drive. Upon close examination, and affirmed by the sound of Hank Williams Jr. crooning from a CD player in my garage, I determined that Adam had harvested his first deer of the new season. And while I was very little help, my son demonstrated how one goes about the business of “dressing” a deer. (I’ve long wondered why they call it “dressing” as you remove all of its organs, and then take its hide off…more like “undressing” if you ask me!)
Fast forward to Harrell Hill Road, it was fall 2010, another beautiful, crisp day in the mountains. My friend Doug had dispatched me into the hills to gather firewood (a story for another day) when I noticed a minor ruckus at Keith Masters’ barn. Slowing my faithful, bucket-of-loose-bolts – ooops I mean Jeep – I saw what appeared to be large deer suspended from a cross-tie. (I witnessed a similar scene at Harrell Hill earlier that month so an upside down deer with tongue hanging out was not unfamiliar to me). What I couldn’t figure out was why there was a chain hooked to the deer with a tractor attached to the other end. Remember, my son showed me how a man SKINS a deer…a time honored tradition I am sure.
The tractor, shiny and new like everything else Keith Masters drivesJ, was backing-up, slowly removing the hide from the deer. “Fascinating”, I remarked to myself and myself alone. I decided to visit Keith, and Vic, and whoever the heck else was involved in this newfangled method of extracting edible flesh from a wild animal.
“Nice deer”, I said naively to these mountain men. They acknowledged my presence, gave me that friendly yet cautious smile I get from many farmers – especially those who’ve learned of my outdoors prowess. I interpreted Keith’s “Good mornin’, Clint” as an invitation to approach and investigate the matter further. I felt accepted, like one of the guys, as though I were a native…ahhhhhhh, the joys of “belonging”.
As I drew near the front of the tractor I mused to myself, “Hmmm, they aren’t skinning this critter the way my son does”; clearly a new technique and possibly one invented right here on Harrell Hill. Could be I was on the “cutting edge” of a revolutionary movement in deer cleaning, so I remarked…”Never saw anyone peel a deer before, fellas!” That was all it took…
Well, I thought these men would fall off the tractor and run over their own selves…guffaws, chuckles, howling and carrying-on something fierce. Amidst snorts, gurgles and choking sounds Keith replied, “Did y’all hear what he said, ‘peel a deer’? Yeah, that’s it, Clint. We’ve gotta PEEL this deer.”
All I know is, Webster’s Dictionary says…peel = “to strip off an outer layer of skin”…I’m just sayin’, I know what peeling looks likeJ, and he was peeling that deer!
It seems to me that when a man lifts a fruit or vegetable from another spot on the earth he is PICKIN it…but you, of course, know that the term doesn’t apply to harvesting potatoes! Sitting in the coffee shop one day, entertaining local folks with tales of my idiocy, I reminisced about pickin’ taters. That’s right, you guessed it…peals of laughter exploded in this public setting; “Did you hear what he said, ‘pickin’ taters’?” Is there no end to my measure of public humiliation?
What? What did I do now? I mean the potato is down there, in the ground…you bend down and pick it up, don’t ya? Now I have learned that I didn’t pick that tater at all, I DUG it. A very nice lady, said, “You DIG taters, honey.” And no amount of arguing was going to change her mind, so I agreed. Now I DIG taters…never pick ‘em.
One day soon I plan to write about “Homecoming” and “Decoration” Days…because I never heard of such happenings until coming to the mountains – what a learning experience that has been.
Anyway, a while back I attended a reunion of my friend Barbara Harrell’s family. (FYI, I’d never been to a reunion in my former life!) Well, being the only person in Mitchell County that isn’t related to everyone else in Mitchell County, I mostly look forward to magnificent food at these gatherings (I would look forward to the people but I haven’t met them yet!) . I’m here to tell ya, there ain’t nobody on this planet who can out-cook, out-taste, out-anything mountain folks! This particular Buchanan reunion was no exception.
I’ve learned the skill of “reinforced plate” which allows one to tote 15 pounds of delicious meats and vegetable delicacies on flimsy paper plates. And I can stack it HIGH; pyramid style is my preferred method. Whoa did I have some fine vittles; I mean DELUXE eatin’ I don’t care who ya are! But, to me, the main course is something a man has to survive to earn a ticket to the sweets collection!
Well, after having my fill of the entrée I circled that dessert table like a hunting tiger. The choices were overwhelming but I was honing in on one when I saw a very strange concoction… pancakes stacked upon pancakes…stacked upon pancakes…”Hmmm, wonder what that is?”
I discerned that it was indeed a cornucopia of pancakes, and it appeared to have peanut butter between the layers. “How interesting, and I adore pancakes and peanut butter,” I self-opined. I returned to my table, ecstatic with my choices and especially the pancake cake.
“So,” I began speaking to my bride, “bet you’ve never had a pancake cake,” proudly proclaiming this novel discovery! Turning aside, shock and awe intertwined with mischievous giggles, Kay asked her neighbor, “Did you hear what he said, ‘pancake cake’?” …Here we go again…polite giggles (since they are mostly ladies), heads turning aside to smile and suppress laughter, yada yada yada!
To be fair, Kay didn’t leave me hanging out there to flap in a breeze of others’ cackles forever. No, she patted my hand gently and whispered softly, “We call those stack cakesJ, don’t be calling ‘em pancake cakes”.
Well, never again will I make that faux pas…and it wasn’t peanut butter cementing the layers…everyone knows it was homemade apple butter. And, just between us friends…Barbara’s Aunt Juanita makes one magnificent pancake-cake, ooops I mean stack cake! In fact, I’m wondering if Aunt Juanita’s stack-cake is similar to the manna which once fell from heavenJ.
Still Humbled in the Hills,