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Rated: 18+ · Letter/Memo · Comedy · #1289649
Tragedy has struck the Backwoods Bumpkin Band...
July 9

Well, well, mistress Maudie…

I had begun to think the moose had pinned you in the outhouse once again…

Or...are you just 'recovering' from your 4th 'blast' at the Grange Hall....where bevies of bodacious belles danced away the 'day'...flaunting their 60 inch hips to the entire community of drunken, oogling buffalo hunters?  Am sure it was a day to remember in the annals of Backwater, USA.  Did the skeeters and blackflies bother???”

Thurston


…………………………………………………………………………
July 10

My Dearest Thurston,

Although it's against my better judgment, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you aren't aware of the tragedy that struck the Grange Hall Association this past spring.  A bizarre series of events has caused the "Backwoods Bumpkins Band'  to....well...to disband.... 

Ezra Boothby, the lead guitarist, had gone into the pasture to check on his Belgians.  It seems that one of the geldings had rolled too close to a stump fence, and one of the cleats on his rear shoe got snagged on some of the roots.  Well, Ezra managed to dislodge the horse (who suffered no permanent injury) without incident, but as he was walking back to the feedbox to dole out the grain, he stepped into a woodchuck hole.  Now Ezra's quite long and lanky, but he's got feet the size of Hulk Hogan!  And although it was a respectful sized chuck hole, old Ezra got his foot lodged down in that chuck's tunnel. 

Well he couldn't pull his foot out so he scrunched his hand down into that hole trying to scrape the dirt away from his boot.  And darned if that feisty old chuck didn't just scoot right back up that tunnel and chomp down and take a huge old chunk out of the back of Ezra's hand.  Well that fired Ezra's temper a might, and once old Ezra finally extricated himself from that chuck's hole he went back to the house, got his 12 gauge, and spent the rest of the day stalking that critter.  His diligence paid off in the short term, because he blasted that chuck into a million bloody pieces.  But in the long run, his temper caused a much bigger problem than bothersome chuck holes in his pasture.

You see... Ezra was so hell-bent on getting his revenge on that chuck that he never stopped to clean his own wound.  Maybe the story would have been different if he'd taken a few minutes to flush out that bite with some Absorbine liniment and dress it with some Bag Balm...  But instead he spent the next seven hours trudging through the pasture...full of road apples, moose droppings, and Lord knows what else.... stalking that damned old woodchuck.  Granted, he finally did administer proper first aid AFTER he'd blasted that chuck, but by then the damage had been done.  Within 24 hours old Ezra's hand had blowed up like a three day old roadkill on a summer day...

His wife Maizey doctored the wound good, but couldn't get the infection out of Ezra's hand.  The Widow Blake sent over a poultice for him, but Maizey wouldn't administer it.  She's still steamed about catching the two of them in the chicken coop a few years back.  (There was some 'laying' going on in that coop that day, but it didn't have nothing to do with the hens or no eggs!)  Anyway, maybe the Widow's poultice could've pulled the poisons outta that hand, but I guess we'll never know now. 

And old Ezra, well...  he ain't just ornery,  he's got a stubborn streak that would put a Kentucky Mule to shame.  For the next three weeks he kept refusing to go see Doc Barnes.  Maizey figures he was just a-scared old Doc would drip some of that hot-melting drawing salve on his hand.  Ezra never was very brave when it came to 'real' doctoring... said he'd rather suffer the ache than get burned with that salve... 

Well finally old Ezra's whole arm swolled up like a tractor tube....  hellacious looking sight it was...  And by that time there weren't nothing more could be done than to whomp that arm off above the elbow.  'Twas either that or the poisons was gonna leach through his whole body and kill him dead.  So old Doc chopped off his strumming hand... 

Naturally Ezra misses playing the guitar now...  but he says that ain't half as heart-wrenching as losing his championship at the Cornish Fair.  You see, he and his team of drafts have held the record pull in the 3200 class for the past eleven years.  He ain't even gonna enter those Belgians this year, though, so he'll forfeit the championship.  He says it ain't fair to put Dick and Jake into the contest and shame them into a loss.  You see, since he lost his right arm, old Ezra's team has been a bit confused.  Seems they have a powerful tendency to pull to the left now.... and of course that would add a considerable amount of 'pull' to their draw without any countable 'distance'.... (they only measure "straight line" distance) 

It's kinda sad.  Ezra has had a respectful kinsman-ship with old Dick and Jake over the past twelve years....  them old geldings would just pull their hearts out for Ezra on the drag....  and he NEVER laid a strap to them, EVER!  Just plain mutual respect kept that team pulling championship draws together...

But I've gotta respect Ezra for his decision...  He says the 'boys' have still got what it takes to pull the championship, but without his right hand to balance the reins, he'd just end up publicly disgracing the team, and he won't do that to them. 

ANYWAY...

Back to the Grange Hall and the Backwoods Bumpkin Band.....

I suppose the band COULD have continued without Ezra...  Jedediah Libby had filled in for Ezra a couple of times when Ezra was away on pulls....  and quite truthfully old Jed can hold his own when it comes to picking and a-grinnin'....

But I'll be hanged, if not two days after Ezra's accident, old Seth McInnis didn't suffer another tragic incident with one of his critters.  Seth played the ivories, and technically I don't see no reason why he couldn't still play if he'd a mind to....  But the accident caused a rather 'personal' kind of injury.  Nobody's seen Seth since the initial incident, but rumor has it that he's medically doing ok....  Must be some truth to the stories about one 'brain' being directly connected to the 'other brain' on a man, though....'cos since the accident old Seth has holed hisself up on his farm and won't step out to even say howdy to any visitors. 

Seems Seth went out to check on the birthing of a new calf...  He raises those stupid shaggy cows with the twelve-foot long horns... Scottish Highlanders, or something like that...  Why anybody would want to raise those things is beyond me!  Ain't good for milking...and ya gotta hang the meat an extra three weeks in a cooler to make it fit to eat....  But they say the yuppies scoff it up like cotton candy at a clam festival.... supposed to have less 'cholesterol' or something...  don't surprise me none.  Tough as shoe leather and got a tint of rancid to the meat if you ask  me....  Them heart-healthy yuppies put the gawd-awfulest  tasting crap on their dinner tables...  Of COURSE they stay slender...  the crap they eat would gag a maggot off a gut wagon...  so they don't eat enough of that nasty tasting fodder to keep a polecat alive...and what they do eat, they probably up-chuck ten minutes after they leave the table....

But Seth and Maggie been making a decent existence selling the meat to the local 'organic' stands...  Them freakin'  Flatlanders got no compunction 'bout paying twice the value for fodder if it carries the 'organic' brandings.  Hell, they just ain't got common sense enough to know that "organic" don't mean nothing but that they use good old fashioned cow shit instead of sophisticated fertilizers... 

Anyway....when Seth went out to check on the cow and calf he discovered that Honey had dropped her new calf right in a wet-hole out in the back forty.  So he figured to muscle that little calf up into drier pasture before the ticks got to feeding heavy on it....  A mean tick infestation can suck a calf near to death in a matter of days, so....  Well it seems that Honey understood what was going on, and she didn't put up too much of a fuss other than bellowing a bit....  but when that Skidder calf started cater-walling, the bull took immediate offense at having this human molesting his new son....

Seems old bull, Aaron, is a might protective of his progeny.  He come just a-tearing from behind a hemlock thicket and gored poor Seth right in his "man-parts".  Now like I said, these critters got horns on them that stretch from Portland to Bangor....  and I guess Aaron run Seth through from Portland to Belgrade before Seth could drop that calf and defend himself....

And although Seth is a strapping lad, and generally leans to the stoical nature....it didn't take no convincing for him to let Maggie rush him into the emergency room...  When it comes to the family jewels, ain't many men got much pride or bravado...  Agnes Libby (she works in the county hospital emergency room) says they doctored on Seth for six straight hours in the ER, and kept him in the hospital another eight days, and still wasn't real happy with the prognosis.  She said she couldn't go into specifics, though, cos that breached patient confidentiality, but it don't take no animal husbandry graduate to know that Seth's no longer listed in the stud registry...  Seth ain't been seen by no man nor woman since he was released from the hospital, and Maggie's been right closed-mouthed about the specifics of that ordeal...

His wife Maggie says Seth is up and about and, although he's got a bit of a 'gimp', she says he's quite able to keep up with the farm chores.  Funny though....  BEFORE Seth's accident we only used to see Maggie in town on Thursday mornings....coming in to do the week's groceries.  But since the accident she's be coming to town on a much more regular schedule...  and coming in the EVENING a lot, too....  I don't think that Seth has suddenly acquired a voracious appetite since his trauma, neither, because I don't know where she's going, but it sure ain't the market!  And rumor has it that that old tomcat Rob Robard has been seen cruising into town a lot more often now too.... although nobody ever sees where HIS destination is, neither.....

And we don't know for sure just why yet, but...  since Ezra and Seth's accidents,  Millie Maxwell (the lead singer with the Backwoods Bumpkins) has also resigned from the church choir...  There's a lot of speculation going round about which one of the boys she was servicing.  Some say it was Seth, some say Ezra...and who knows, they just might all be right...  old Millie always was known as a cat with an itch...  but one thing's for sure....  she seems to have lost her inspiration for song.....

So that one week in May has had some resounding affects on this poor little hamlet. 

Out of respect, the Grange Hall Association cancelled the Saturday night festivities for an entire month.  They have been holding auditions since then, but have yet been able to find suitable replacements.  It's a good thing the Mayday hoedown was such a success.  They brought in $87.50 at the door, and the concessions racked up another $56.47, so that should pay the rent and utilities on the hall for another month or two.  After that, if they haven't found a new band, I don't know what will become of the Grange...  I sincerely doubt old Milas will extend the lease for the remainder of the year if they can't pay the rent.  That penny-pinching old coot would sell his own mother to the gypsies if he thought he could make a nickel profit!

So as you can see, my crotchety old cohort...it has been a rather 'trying' few months here.  But I must close for now, and go prepare the moose loins for the cookout tomorrow.  We may not be having the annual Fourth of July hoedown at the Grange this year, but the parade and all night BBQ will still go on....

I shall, of course, raise a glass in your honor.

~Maudie~

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