“When Humor Goes…There Goes Civilization”

Dear Reader:

Yesterday I must have been in-between “turn-overs of cares and worries to God” because I felt like I wanted to implode…the house had never felt so quiet…eerily quiet…like the calm before a thunder storm.

I gave myself another pep talk (among many) and ran some errands, fed the birds *including Sammy*, took all the cushions off outside patio and garden furniture in case it did rain…swept the porch and turned to go inside and sweep my “Happy Room” when suddenly it happened.

I balked and stopped. I just plain didn’t feel like sweeping any more…and then the most beautiful sound erupted…I was doubled-over laughing my head off…still holding the broom in hand falling down on the sofa.

I had just remembered one of my favorite Erma Bombeck’s quote/jokes: “My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.”  I decided right then and there …that was all I was doing.

That release of laughter was undoubtedly God’s greatest gift to me over the past few days…by the time I finished I felt like a new person again. The power of humor…so overlooked but one of the most powerful gifts God gave us.

It was then the neurons started pinging…a story about an election with a mule in it…Got it! Miss Effie Wilder’s hilarious anecdote about “Fannie Lamb and Her Famous Mule” from Miss Effie’s book- “Tales and Taradiddles.” *Please enjoy…especially you Pap…who loved it the first time years ago.

“Fannie Lamb and Her Famous Mule.”

One evening Fannie Lamb called Dr. Satterfield from her farm home sounding terribly upset. She said, “Doctor, Horace, my mule, is sick and I wish you could come and take a look at him.”

The tired doctor replied “Oh Fannie…it’s after six and I’m finally sitting down and eating supper. Give him a dose of mineral oil and if he still isn’t right in the morning…call me and I’ll come take a look at him.”

Fannie wanted to know how the mineral oil should be administered…” Come on Fannie Lamb, you’re a farm woman and you know these things…administer it to him through a funnel in his back end.

So Fannie went down to the barn where poor Horace the mule was moaning and groaning. She reached up on the shelf where the medicines were kept…but instead of grabbing a bottle of mineral oil, she grabbed a bottle of turpentine and poured a liberal dose into a fox-hunting horn she was gonna use for a funnel since she couldn’t find one. She then proceeded with the procedure…until…

Horace raised his head with a sudden jerk and let out a scream that could have been heard a mile down the road. Horace reared on his hind legs, knocked out the side of the barn, cleared a five-foot fence and started down the road at a mad gallop. Since Horace was in pain…every few strides he made, the horn would blow.

All the dogs in the neighborhood knew when that horn was blowing it meant Uncle Bill was going fox-hunting…so they tore out following close behind Horace.

People who witnessed the chase said it was an unforgettable sight. There was Horace running at top speed with the horn blowing and the gold tassels waving from a most unusual position on a mule while the dogs barked joyously.

They passed by the home of Old Man Harvey Hogan, who was sitting on his porch. He hadn’t drawn a sober breath in fifteen years, and he gazed in fascinated amazement at the sight unfolding before him. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

Old Man Harvey Hogan is said to now be head man in Alcoholics Anonymous in the upper part of the state.

By this time it was good and dark. Horace and the dogs were approaching the Inland Waterway. The bridge tender heard the horn blowing and figured that a boat was on the way. He cranked up the bridge.

Horace went overboard and drowned. The pack of dogs went into the water too..but they all swam out without too much difficulty.

Now it so happened that the bridge tender was a candidate that year… running against the sheriff’s position…but he managed to poll only seven votes…and these were all from kinfolks.

Those who took the trouble to analyze the election results said the people there figured that any man who didn’t know the difference between a mule with a horn up his caboose and a boat coming down the Inland Waterway wasn’t fit to hold any public office in the county.

So until tomorrow…as Miss Effie ended many of her taradiddles…Let’s hear a “WHOO-eee!!!” And let yourself go for it… with a little chuckle or a big belly laugh! It does the body and soul good!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Is there anything more beautiful than a golden ginkgo tree in the fall…my favorite!


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to “When Humor Goes…There Goes Civilization”

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    This is absolutely priceless…needed a good laugh…remind me to tell you a story that I heard at the National Storytelling Festival…the punch line is “help…quick…sinking”…but the loyal drunk thought it was “Hogue…stop …drinking”…will never forget the story…


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