The Farm Town Chronicles 1-4

The Farm Town Chronicles


Home on The Bananaza


Well it all started as a giant orange grove until the fruit fly infestation. So we cleared the land except for a few trees we salvaged and decided to become cattle ranchers. We were thriving until we got hit by mad cow disease and had to destroy the whole herd. 

Then Pops got the idea we'd be banana farmers - right up to the day the tarantula's got him. The main road is still lined with Banana trees in his honor but no one's willing to harvest them.

We planted a giant corn crop only to have a terrible drought hit and turn the field into one big box of popcorn - and us with no butter because the cows were gone!

Juan Valdez stopped by and suggested we plant coffee but then he wouldn't take any because he only picked the 'richest' coffee beans.

So we planted rice paddies only to have brother James go bonkers and start shooting at the planters thinking he was back in 'Nam.

Potatoes were next but then came the great potato famine and everyone migrated to Georgia.

Finally mom said let's plant sunflowers because she thought they looked pretty but this was when ballplayers still chewed tobacco not sunflowers seeds and the seeds just rotted in the silo - mom was always a lady before her time!

Tomatoes - that was the ticket - tomatoes. That's the crop that would let us catch up with the bank who were pressing us for payment. Who knew Hurricane Katrina would blow in and paste us.

On July 4th after hearing them sing 'amber waves of grain' the family planted wheat. But being the poor farmers we were we couldn't separate the wheat from the chaff.
I wanted to have a festival and invite loads of retro acts and country singers so I said, "Let's plant strawberries and have a festival!" The festival was great and everyone had loads of shortcake. Only not with our strawberries after the hard freeze of aught nine.

 So now we've plowed the fields under and sit and ponder, 'to plant or not to plant, that is the question.'



April and Paris or "How do you keep them down on the farm  . . .'

Wow! Excitement hit the Bananaza family farm as divas Nicole and Paris decided to film a work day here on the farm on April 1. All our neighbors were envious and knew they were going to have a hard time keeping the farmhands from hanging over the fences and gawking instead of harvesting. 

Muriel and Shirley came over and took seats on the veranda to watch all the excitement while mom and I kept ferrying pots of coffee for the film crew that was trampling all over the recently plowed fields - there'd be hell to pay later! 

 Mandy was trying to get Paris aside and convince her that she  could be her BFF but she had her eyes on cousin Jethro, in just his overalls, throwing down hay from the loft of the old barn. She decided to pitch in and I swear her Daisy Dukes were shorter than a marine haircut when she bent over to try and move a bale. Jethro noticed too and tossed the next bale without looking and I got a bale of hay in the face - thank you very much!
 

  Nicole was put to work milking the family cows. That girl     seemed to have magical hands and I swear the cows were    smiling. I wonder where she's been practicing?
 
 Paris convinced Jethro to take her for a ride on the tractor while  he plowed the north forty. They seemed to be having a great  deal of fun but the rows were crooked as hell.

 Then Jethro drove back to put the tractor in the barn and asked  Paris to reach down between his legs and unhitch the plow.  Nobody's really sure what happened next but suddenly Jethro  mashed the gas pedal to the floor and the tractor and plow went  sailing right through the barn door and out through the back  wall before coming to a stop in the pig wallow.

 What happened next was like slow-motion as the old barn tilted  to one side and then collapsed into a big pile of red lumber.  After standing a moment in stunned wonder we all rushed to see  if Paris and Jethro were alright.

 They both were sprawled in the middle of the wallow  surrounded by upset pigs. I must say they both looked ridiculous and Jethro came up spitting out a mouthful of swill but I still don't think that's why he had that s**t-eating grin on his face. 
Nicole was laughing her head off while Paris sputtered and stormed off to her trailer to get cleaned up.

Meanwhile mom was in the director's face demanding to know what he was going to to do about the wrecked barn. Truth be told it was a wreck before Jethro and Paris knocked it down. It was barely held together by rusty nails and bailing wire. That wasn't stopping mom as she threatened to knock the director senseless with her cast iron frying pan if he didn't do something. I'm not sure what all she said though I thought I heard muttering about grabbing the wrong gear. Finally fearing for his own safety and the crew who were being eyed askance by the hired hands the director,promised he'd have a brand new barn built.

So that's the story of how Paris and Jethro got us a new barn though the tabloids referred to the episode in the pig wallow as 'casting a pearl before swine.' The episode never aired though I hear tell that Nicole shows the infamous wallow scene to all her friends at private parties - just a rumor now.



Harvest Moon

Having just gotten back from church I thought it might be a good time to tell you about our local house of worship. 

ChickenLick is a small farm town whose life revolves around the harvest and so they gathered together to form the 'Church of the Golden Sheaves' and invited The Right Reverend Veritable Titus to lead the congregation.

Rev. Titus (or as we often called him, the Rev. 'Very Tightass') spent early Sunday mornings thundering hellfire and brimstone and afternoons schmoozing the church ladies. That is until the one Sunday when the choir director Missy Dugood caught him in the choir loft with organist Seth Poole, playing the wrong organ.

The ladies were dismayed. "Not Very Titus," they exclaimed!

Well, a new preacher had to be found and after much searching they invited a young man fresh from the seminary, Lucian Fast, to take on the role. Rev. Fast had a lot of new-fangled ideas, one of which was the annual Harvest play put on by the Sunday school children. Most of us kids dreaded putting on costumes as wheat, corn, and other crops as we gave thanks for another good harvest. 

One year though my second cousin Sparky Ashes managed to nearly put an end to the annual play. There we were on the stage in our costumes (yeah I couldn't escape either) when a large gasp was heard from the congregation. None of us could figure out why until our teacher rushed on the stage and wrapped a choir robe around cousin Sparky.

It seems Sparky had decided to change his role in the play and had stood bent-over showing his backside to the crowd. And to this day we refer to the incident as the 'rising of the harvest moon!'
 



Grim Reaper

        In a small farming town like ChickenLick everyone helps their neighbor come harvest time but even then it sometimes isn't enough. So outsiders come and help bring in the crops. It was one of these outsiders that made the harvest of '71 a memorable one.

      Pops was still with us and had brought down some distant cousins from far off Minnesota. They were big blonde hunks with muscles bulging everywhere and they had the local girls swooning. One in particular, Sven had my friend Heather all in a tither. She must have spilled as much lemonade as she got in the glass when he came by the table we'd set up in the field to feed the hands while they worked.

     Her boyfriend Luke Warm noticed too and kept throwing dirty looks Sven's way. Things didn't look good and it was only a matter of time before something happened. But that Sven was a scything machine and everyone kept their distance as he mowed down the wheat field we'd planted. he cut a wide swath through the field and did the work of any two of the rest of the men. 

      It was near dusk when I noticed Luke creeping up behind Sven and reaching to put something down his shirt. Heather screamed a warning and Sven spun around like a shot. Of course so did his scythe. We all swore later it was an accident, that he hadn't intended to harm Luke but the damage was done.

       Now Luke's got a hook where his hand used to be. He's might handy with it though and Heather felt so bad she up and married him. Nowadays folks refer to him as 'Tool Hand' Luke and remind themselves that you reap what you sow so 'ware the grim reaper.

 

Hit and Miss

At the risk of sounding like the humor(less) inspector on Monty Python, I'll say that I enjoyed the last one; didn't think all that much of the others.

(The first one seems to suffer from some date uncertainty, given the references to the Potato Famine and tobacco-chewing ballplayers on one hand and Katrina and "Aught-Nine" weather conditions on the other. Granted, anachronism isn't the worst thing that can happen to a joke, but I still think it would work better with a more coherent premise.)

Thanks for posting, anyway.

Eric

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