Saturday, August 24, 2013
I promised a friend this yesterday, and then promptly got distracted.
Jed had a reputation in town as no one to joke with–not because he was mean, but because he simply wasn’t bright enough to get your joke, and everyone feels like an idiot when they’ve told a joke, and the person in the receiving end just stares there, blinking at you.
So, Jed wasn’t bright, but he was strong, so he found plenty of work–as long as it was a task that wasn’t complicated.
Farmer Brown (not related to the Mister Brown, who can moo) had done well enough in the previous couple years that he bought seventy more acres, but needed to extend his fence before he could let his animals graze there (he also had plans to extend his herds, but no sense in getting the cow before the fence.)
So Farmer Brown hired Jed and a couple other older boys at loose ends, who were likely to wander into into trouble if they weren’t put to use, to help him with his fence.
Farmer Brown was mostly acting as supervisor for this job, seeing as how young men left on their own tended to talk more than they worked, but he wasn’t a hard man, and so mid-afternoon he headed back to the house, to get a drop of something wet and a bit of something sweet for the boys.
Farmer Brown dropped off the jug and the biscuits and apple butter and then headed back to the house to get more rails. Unfortunately, he’d grabbed the wrong jug and instead of water, left the boys with the jug of hooch he’d left cooling in the spring. By the time he got back, all the boys were lying on the ground, laughing uncontrollably, except for Jed.
Jed was sitting by the fence, giving the post upon which Farmer Brown had set his hat a long talking to. It seems that Jed had seen the hat, and sat down and started talking to Farmer Brown about Miss Millie who sometimes worked the counter at her father’s general store. Jed was entreating Farmer Brown to put in a good word for him with Miss Millie’s father, but Farmer Brown (or more rightly Farmer Brown’s hat) said nothing in reply, and Jed was getting himself more and more worked up on the subject.
When the boys (sobered up by Farmer Brown, who was nervous his wife would learn about the incident, and thus learn about his stash of moonshine) returned to town, the story of Jed talking to the fence post quickly spread, as did the lack of response Jed received.
Soon, to tweak Jed, folk about town started saying someone was “as dumb as a post” when they didn’t have a response to a question, but Jed being Jed, he never knew they were making fun of him.
But he did eventually take Miss Millie out walking, and then asked her father for her hand, and if he wasn’t much smarter than the post he was known far and wide for talking to, he loved her to distraction, and their life together was as happy as the day is long.
Well, that didn’t go at all where I was expecting, but there it is anyway.