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Nuther Epistle from Paul

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  • Nuther Epistle from Paul

    Road Kill Gumbo

    My Frien's, some of you have indicated an enjoyment of my mental musings that may, or may not, have anything to do with woodcarving. I am attempting to gather the Epistles from Paul and put them in my autobiography which is titled "Three Decades Under the Smoky Bear Hat". I will continue to post some of these musings if there are no objections.

    July 1998
    My annual battle with the “critters” is underway. The garden is “up” and every life form wants a share. In the groundhog war, I have escalated from live traps, to leg hold traps, to a rifle. They are winning! Groundhogs simply withdraw the foot caught in the live ~ trap allowing it to roll up inside the fat and pull free. The only thing I end up with is a lot of groundhog hair.

    The deer struggle is somewhat better. I am winning (even though it does make the produce somewhat expensive). I bought a solar electric charger, a big roll of wire, posts, ground rods and connectors. This fence does give a jolt which is educational to anything or anybody. For instance, I learned that a short-legged Cajun should never try to get over an electric fence by straddling it (gave me a greater appreciation for electric fences and electric torture). I raised the wire to avoid further temptation.

    This incident started me thinking of methods to introduce deer to my fence. I developed a number of schemes (mainly involved with how to get them to urinate on the wire) when Diana, tiring of my “unusual” ideas, told me of a guy in Indiana who put peanut butter on foil strips and attached these to the electric fence. Deer cannot resist licking peanut butter! I thought, "if one end doesn’t work, try the other!" A wet tongue on an electric fence is an excellent teaching tool.

    Living in a remote section of the Ozarks does have its interesting turns and twists. With elimination of the draft, people do not even leave for military service. Alaska and Arkansas, both really are “different.” In Alaska, people recognize that they are different to those “outside.” In Arkansas, people believe that the ones that are different are those that are “off.” This is Ozarkese for folks that are from off somewhere else (a status that never changes). People brag about being born, bred and never having left these hills. I am often accused of getting things backward; but, even I see something out of order in this statement. I pointed out to Diana that us "off" people are fairly sure that bred comes before born.. She said that I misunderstood. They are merely pointing out that they are “breeders” and have already started the next generation. Hunhhh?

    However, as I look upon the locals with curiosity, they return the favor with equal fervor. And, I must admit, there is the occasional “happening” that they tend to attribute to the Coonass side of my heritage rather than my simply taking advantage of an opportunity. Arkansas used to be “The Land of Opportunity” (I guess it offered little else), but changed to “The Natural State” whatever that means.

    Anyway, Diana and I were returning from Harrison when fortune smiled on me (my opinion, Diana disagreed) in the form of Tysons (chicken company). Even more than Wal-mart, this outfit has opened the Ozarks. Jobs for the locals (now including Mexico) was their initial contribution. Roads for their trucks and hillbillys. These hills will never be the same (it will take years to remove the odor of Tyson’s success). Back to my "opportunity", a Tyson truck pulled out onto the highway in front of me and a chicken fell off. Landed right on the centerline. Before the dazed chicken (and other motorists) could recover, I slammed on the brakes, and stopped (blocking traffic in both lanes, fortunately we were on a backroad), jumped out, grabbed my future meal, threw it on the floorboard of the truck and told Diana, “step on it so it won’t flop around and ...uh....throw....uh..(insert "feathers") all over the cab.”

    To her credit (acquired through a lifetime with a sometimes unpredictable mate) she simply pinned down the chicken with with the comment, “I’m not cleaning this thing!”.

    We made it home without further incident and in an hour I had the chicken cooling in the refrigerator. I had not considered the novelty of the situation (seemed more like a stroke of luck) until I was explaining my good fortune to a couple of friends. At the end of my story one commented, “didn’t the other drivers get upset with you blocking the road?” The other one jumped in with, “would you say anything to someone picking up road kill for dinner?”

    Merle Studyvin had been wanting to try some gumbo. I had the opportunity to fulfill her wish. Called and told her I was cooking a gumbo and would bring it over that evening. Then she made her mistake, What kind of gumbo?"

    Recalling my friends comments, I replied, “road kill.” She laughed, "You Cajuns sure do like unsual names for things!", thinking I was kidding.

    With some trepidation (food dish names are more important than I thought) Merle, tasted the “road kill gumbo, waded in like the rest of us and rated it as an excellent dish. She started praising my cooking ability.

    A few days later the phone rang, I answered and recognized Merle's voice. "You d**mn Cooass! You really meant it!"

    Confusion reigned, "Meant what?"

    A friend just called and said, "You're friends with that guy from Louisiana that lives near Alpena, aren't you?"

    Merle cautiously answered, "If you mean Paul Guraedy, I am. He's quite an interesting guy."

    "I guess so. I saw him on the Capps road the other day. He pulled his truck across both lanes, blocking traffic so that he could pick up a road kill chicken."

    Merle is now very cautious about further introduction to my cookin'.

    Well, at least I’m not laboring in anonymity as I hear, “Oh, you’re that friend of Merle and Junior’s. The Coonas....uh,....Caju.....uh, the one from Louisiana, the one that cooks the road ki....uh...chicken gumbo. They say it’s really good but..uhhh....”

    However, Diana and I have found acceptance in “these hills” as revealed by the comment we now hear, “you’ns is good folks.”

    Ahhhhhhh, life is great, or as the Cajun philosophy goes, “Let the good times Roll.” Time to end this epistle, dig into a fresh blackberry cobbler (low fat but definitely not low cal) and add inches to my own “good time” roll!

    Chicken Gumbp.jpg
    Last edited by Paul_Guraedy; 06-30-2018, 08:58 AM.

  • #2
    Great stories and I really love reading them, ....we all have our own ways of doing things. Us artist can get really creative with that road kill. Here it is killing a feral chickens, As the young ones gather......dont kill the chicken please go to the grocery store and buy one! I am saying "What?" So is I did the next best keep the family happy......
    You do not have permission to view this gallery.
    This gallery has 1 photos.
    . Explore! Dream! Discover!” aloha Di


    • #3
      Paul, I really enjoy your stories. You do have a talent for telling tales that I envy. I particularly enjoyed your recounting of jumping the electric fence!


      • #4
        Keep 'em coming, Paul. Writings like yours remind us of good times, of simple mundane experiences of everyday life. Good stuff!


        • #5
          Great story Paul, I hope you share that gumbo recipe cause I am going to run over a chicken, if I can find one running down the hiway.

          If I took the time to fix all my mistakes, I wouldn,t have time to make new ones.


          • #6
            So I'm guessing the chicken crossed the road because he heard there was some gumbo waiting on HIM!"


            • #7
              You never cease to amaze me Paul. Road kill meals, at least if was fresh and still kicking! I do wish we lived closer so I could sample your cookin', but I'm afraid I will have to rely on my imagination. My friend Art Brown is a similar type person, only you never really know what to expect when you go to his place for dinner, don't ask is the best advice. He has never poisoned me yet, and I have enjoyed many an interesting meal with him. Thanks for sharing your stories with us, I'll be the first to buy your book if you ever deciede to publish it.

              Before they slip me over the standing part of the fore sheet, let them pipe: "Up Spirits" one more time.


              • #8
                Yip, another good one Paul, not to crowd in on your tail, but did you hear about the young boy who got introduce to his first electric fence, well you can let your Cajun imagination wader. Well, it supper time, what shall I fix
                . . .JoeB


                • #9
                  As a young man, I loved reading comic books and one of my favorite super heroes was "Lightning Lad". He acquired his powers when he was trapped on a distant planet and struck by lightning. Being very impressionable and deciding that I too would make a great super hero, I did a little experiment with the electric fence down by the church and it did have quite an effect on me, but no super powers were gained. Unless you count the slight increase in wisdom? Perhaps it would have worked better in outer space?
                  'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"



                  • #10
                    Geez Mike, I bet that lit up your life right smartly and was promptly filed away in the old memory bank! Been on the receiving end of one of those electric fences myself. Learned the powers of capacitive multiplication when my cousin grabbed my uncle who grabbed me and then my cousin grabbed the fence. Being ten years old at the time, I never got too near one of those fences again. Thanks for the memories!



                    • #11
                      Enjoy your stories. Roadkill is legal food here in Montana but I haven't wanted to try any.


                      • #12
                        Actually, Road Kill, was legal harvest in several states where I served. Rangers were donated a lot of venison harvested by traffic accident victims. Only a few of us actually referred to it as road kill. Over the years, I have kept a few animals (no deer though) that committed suicide by jumping in front of my vehicle. Pigs had free range in the Louisiana swamps and snapping turtles are easy to salvage with broken shells.