|By Jack Cawthon|
Everywhere I go, whether at the mall or in downtown Morgantown, I'm asked the same question: What's happening in Big Puf? I am certain that the thousands of you on the World Wide Web, and there must be thousands if not millions on the Web, but not all, perhaps, reading this column, but those of you who are will want to know the answer also, maybe.
I have learned to live with the fame and celebrity that this subject bestows. Goodness knows it is a burden, but just as my colleagues, who may try to disclaim the "league" part, find truth if compatible with a paycheck, I regularly, while on The Payroll, found falsity with a paycheck quite comfortable, if not promising.
It has been cold in Big Puf, "bone chilling cold," as we of the reporting guild are apt to say. I have never understood why there can't be other kinds of cold, such as liver chilling cold, or even gall bladder chilling cold. I prefer my own descriptive: blood curdling cold, even curdling more than clabbered milk in a hog trough. But it should be evident by now that it has been quite cold in Big Puf.
And if the cold isn't bad enough, and if you have had a bad cold you know that it is, the power went off, not the Heavenly, but the Allegheny. This, in turn, caused the oil dip stick heaters, normally used to keep the oil warm in Diesel engines for easier starting, but which are used by the Holy Ratters who insert them into the bellies of the reptiles to keep the snakes limber for winter services, to cease operating. The snakes became stiffer than a peppermint stick at Christmas.
The problem was solved by calling in the Reverend Les Pedeza, who simply laid his hands on the reptiles, and they immediately sprang to life.
The congregation proclaimed a miracle and was ready to call the television networks, hoping to get the same media attention that a picture of the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich attained recently.
But Les said it was nothing out of the ordinary for him. He had had lots of experience from placing his hands on women, who had been proclaimed cold and dead by their husbands, and arousing them. He was well known for his revivals, not all of them of a religious nature, but many with excited shouting, nonetheless.
In other news, Bobby Gene Bubba, a long-time legislator, has decided to change his name. Bobby Gene saw how Ken Hechler, the 90-year-old candidate for Secretary of State, was narrowly defeated by Betty Ireland, a Republican newcomer. Although many people claimed that it was simply a matter of Hechler's age, and Bobby Gene readily agrees, he placed some of the blame on the ethnic vote of the Irish for the narrow defeat.
But wanting to eliminate any chance of age creeping up on him, and he is no spring chicken, and chicken has been used in other descriptions of him, he has decided if he wants longevity in office he must change his name to "Gainer." That magic name assures candidates, whether living or dead, of election in this state. He felt he had enough ethnic vote in his Big Puf district, all Red Neck, to overcome the Irish and Italian blocs.
In further happenings, I was once more invited to attend the post season meeting of the Big Puf Mountain Hunting and Drinking Club ("We're always hunting a drink!") where club awards were handed out for various honors.
Lester Archabald was once again named Conservationist of the Year, and more times than I can remember, for allowing the acid polluted drainage from his Degenerated Coal Company mines to drain into the Big Puf watershed, thus keeping the habitat suitable for the Orange Roughage Catfish, an endangered species that Archabald helped spawn over troubled waters and protests from such right-wing reactionaries as Sierra Club members.
Archabald, humble as always, simply thanked both the state and national Environmental Protection Agencies for aiding him, and said he couldn't have accomplished his greatest honor without their help. He also thanked the militant Allegheny Front for protecting the watershed against those who might have purified the water.
Crazy Ted was again recognized for winning the Big Buck trophy. He not only harvested the biggest deer, but the most, including bucks, does, fawns, and a couple of cows that wandered into range. Ted acknowledges that he couldn't do it without his automatic weapons. This year his choice was the 50 caliber rifle that was featured on television recently by the liberal lily-livered gun control freaks, in cooperation with the left-wing media. The object was to cite the 50 caliber with its armor-piercing bullets as a little heavy for home protection. But Ted, along with a chorus of approval from the club, claimed it as a must if the Second Amendment is to keep the First from becoming foremost.
Ted, with attorney Voy Dire's rendering of the law, if one translate rendering into slaughter house terms, claims loopholes in the DNR's hunting regulations that make such weapons legal. Some say he is supported by insurance companies, but Ted just smiles when the subject comes up and says he is in good hands, and just like a good neighbor, doing his part.
Bobby Gene plans to introduce legislation to make Ted's efforts legal for all, even those without the legal eagle expertise of a Voy Dire. Everyone is certain he will serve with distinction for years to come, especially with his new slogan: "Nothing runs like a Gainer!"