Dining With Mr. Floyd

Daddy had always wanted a place in the country, but was overwhelmed at the magnitude of work facing him on that totally undeveloped acreage.  It had been homesteaded and farmed shortly after the Civil War, but hadn’t been under production for many years, long enough that most of it was covered in mature timber.  A tangle of locust trees was matted  over the old homeplace beneath three huge oaks.  Though we worked hard at clearing  and burning the growth, locust thorns worked up through the ground and pierced our feet for years to come, even through our shoes.

There was more work than one man could do, so Daddy hired Mr. Floyd to help harvest the timber and clear the land for pasture..  All that timber would finance the payments on the place and make improvements.  Mr. Floyd lived on the fringes of society getting by on odd jobs.  Mr. Floyd was unkempt, rarely bathed, and kept to himself, but had a reputation as a hard worker, He lived in a shack in the woods with his brother, who didn’t manage quite so well.  Daddy couldn’t afford to pay Mr. Floyd much, so they worked out a deal on a small wage, meals, and lodging in our fine school bus camper. When Mother got a whiff of Mr. Floyd, she told Daddy the camper was dead to her after that.

So, Daddy set the camper up on the far edge of his place.  Mr. Floyd moved in with instructions  to leave propane off since there might be a leak.  There shouldn’t be a problem anyway, since he’d be taking his meals with us.  Mother put some old bedding in the camper and Mr. Floyd moved in.  The next morning, he showed up for breakfast before daylight.  He didn’t was his hands, just dove in to the biscuits, grits, and eggs.  His manners served as lessons, thereafter.  “You’re eating like Mr. Floyd.”  He didn’t hog the conversation.  He was too busy with biscuits.

The men went to work right after breakfast.  It was early summer, but hot as blazes.  When they came in for lunch, Daddy pointed out the bathroom so Mr. Floyd could wash up.  He wasn’t worried about that.  He took the the chair Mother had offered him for breakfast nearest the window.  Daddy always sat at the opposite end of the table that got the best breeze from the attic fan.  He sat downwind of Mr. Floyd just long enough to get a whiff of seasoned body odor marinated with the piquant aroma of fresh morning sweat the fan pulled over our guest before jumping up.  “Here Floyd.  Sit here.  It’s the coolest spot.”

Mr. Floyd also taught Mother to cut the cornbread before putting it on the table when he reached for the plate and broke off a big piece before passing it. Phyllis and I both declined cornbread and passed it right along.  I didn’t keep up with who else was feeling picky, but there was a lot left after lunch.  None of us kids ever learned to enjoy Mr. Floyd’s company, but he was a necessary evil.

One night, over in the winter, long after work was finished, we heard what sounded like a sonic boom, which was surprising to hear at night.  A few minutes later, Mr. Floyd knocked on the door.  The boom had come from the camper.  Mr. Floyd had run low on wood for the heater and opted to use the propane stove, instead, the very same stove Daddy had warned him not to use because he suspected a leak.  Mr. Floyd had lit up a cigarette before bed and came near burning himself up.  It’s bad he got some burns, but good he didn’t gas himself. He was done with the camper after that, so that’s when Daddy let him work out a deal for a 1953 Chevy Sedan Daddy could spare.

The camper was deemed unfit, not only because Mr. Floyd blew it up, but because his strong smell lingered.  You can’t get rid of a fifty dollar just because of that.  A farm can always use storage.  Daddy pulled the camper up behind the house to use for feed storage and a place for the dogs to sleep. Mother was furious to have it so near her new house.  From that time on, whenever Daddy had no particular place to store something, it went in the camper.  It wasn’t long before the dogs were crowded out of the nice smelly bunks.  Whenever they could, the chickens slipped in and helped themselves to the chicken feed and tried to set up housekeeping.  Rats also liked chicken feed.  Black snakes love eggs, so between the smell, spooked chickens, rats, and snakes it was fairly unappealing.

Joke of the Day

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One fine day, Nate the Snake was slithering through the forest when he came upon a level on a tree. The lever said “IF YOU PULL THIS LEVER, THE WORLD WILL END”. Now, Nate was a curious fellow, but was smart enough to know not to pull the lever. So, he decided to make it his duty to stand by the lever and warn the other animals that came by of the danger, since he knew most of them weren’t as smart.
The day wore on, and animal after animal came and went. Each one wanted to pull the lever, but Nate warned them of the danger.
Soon, the day drew to a close, and Nate began slithering toward his home, when an eighteen wheeler sped by, and upset an area of several large boulders that was very close to the tree.
One broke away, and began speeding toward the tree in such a way that it would hit the lever and end the world if it was not stopped. But no large animal was there to help, and Nate knew what he had to do.
Nate curled himself up into a tight little coil in the boulder’s path, bracing himself. The boulder struck him and killed him, but avoided the lever and the tree, and the world was saved.
This story just goes to show you – Better Nate than lever.

 

“Oh, please excuse me!” said the bunny. “I didn’t mean to trip over you, but I’m blind and couldn’t see you there.”
“That’s perfectly all right,” replied the snake. “It was MY fault. I didn’t mean to trip you, but I’m blind too, and I didn’t see you coming. By the way, what kind of animal are you?”
“Well, I really don’t know,” said the bunny. “Since I’m blind, I’ve never seen myself. Perhaps you could examine me and then we’ll both know?”So the snake felt the bunny all over and said, “Well, you’re soft and cuddly; you have long silky ears, a fluffy little tail and a twitchy little nose… you must be a BUNNY RABBIT!” [The little blind bunny was so pleased at this that he danced with joy.] The bunny said, “I can’t thank you enough. What kind of animal are you, sir?”
The snake said he didn’t know, for the same reason. The bunny agreed to examine him, and when he finished the snake asked, “So, what kind of animal am I?”
The bunny said, “You’re hard, you’re cold, you’re slimy, and you haven’t got any balls – you must be a lawyer.”

 

Impaired Vision
An old snake went to his doctor and told him, “Doc, I think I need something for my eyes. I don’t seem to see very well nowadays.”
The doctor fixed him up with a pair of glasses and told him to return in a couple of weeks for a check up.
When he returned two weeks later, the doctor asked him how his vision was since he had the new glasses.
“Great,” replied the snake. “Only problem is, now I’m very depressed.”
“Why are you depressed?” asked the doctor. “Didn’t the glasses help?”
“Oh, the glasses are great, doc,” replied the snake. “The problem is, when I got home with them, I realized I’ve been sleeping with a garden hose for the past couple of years.

 

 

Three Quotes in Three Days

This is third of Three Quotes in Three Days my friend Brian at Vancouver Visions challenged me to.  Please check out his lovely blog.  You will love it.

laughing snakeMy Sister Phyllis is a champion blunderer.  She tries so hard to make her point that she often goes way overboard.  A friend was relating a fearsome tale of tangling with a rattlesnake ending with him finally managing to cut the snake’s head off, after nearly being bitten several times.  Phyllis was so impressed with the story, she pondered it long after the storyteller finished, finally remarking, “You really have to be careful about the rattlesnake’s head.  It’s as dangerous as the rest of it!”

None of us has ever forgotten it, using this phrase when someone states something so obvious it’s ridiculous.

Crows in the Corn

We tangled with the crows last summer and came way out on the losing end. They patiently watched us plow, measure, make rows, and plant, showing special interest in the seeds we’d chosen. From their keen attention, we could see they were partial to sweet corn. They practically drooled when it came out of the bag. Continue reading