Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Draggin’ Boat Race

Back in the day there was this ol’ boy we called Chew When. He would take a bite of plug tobacco just about any old time, so he was always a chewin’ whenever. He was a pretty good picker and story teller too. The ol’ boy could spin a yarn out of thin air they say.

One day the revenuers came a callin’ and one thing led to another, and Chew lost his farm to the federal government. It wasn’t much of a farm, but his farm it was, until the BATF/DEA/XYZ/ABC boys and girls showed up. Losing his farm wasn’t as big a deal for him as being called a treasoner, or something like that anyway. That didn’t set well with Chew one bit.

One day everybody was a bit worried about Chew. He did not come by the hardware store to talk his stories, he didn’t show up at the grocery to sing his songs, he didn’t even appear at the courthouse to whittle and spit with the other ol’ boys.

There was a fishin’ race going on that day, with all sorts of fancy pants TV fishin’ boys in their fancy boats, with their 20 horsepower trollin’ motors, down below the dam. One of the local fellers called on the CB that Chew was on top of the TVA dam, talkin’ like he was drunk but not slurrin’ a bit like he did on the local clear liquor. He was usin’ big words that he never used before. A fisher (we don’t know who no more, since everybody with a boat claims to be the broadcaster now) keyed up the mic and we could hear him clear as day shoutin’ through the valley below the dam,
“The question of treason is distinct from that of slavery; and is the same that it would have been, if free States, instead of slave States, had seceded. 
On the part of the North, the war was carried on, not to liberate slaves, but by a government that had always perverted and violated the Constitution, to keep the slaves in bondage; and was still willing to do so, if the slaveholders could be thereby induced to stay in the Union.”
Later one of the school teachers called them words “a Spoonerism” or such, but I don’t remember Archie Campbell ever saying anything like that on Hee Haw.

Well, ol’ Chew ended his last story by jumpin’ off the dam and into the water below. After they finished cursin’, the fancy pants fishers went a lookin’. The was also a bit worried about the fish wantin’ a piece of ol’ Chew better than their shiny lures.

One of the locals (we don’t know who no more, since everybody with a boat claims to be the one with the idea now) decided to toss some cornbread on the water to keep the fish up top instead of the bottom around Chew.

By the time the rest of the men and women of town got down to the river, the fishers was trying to come up with more ideas to scare the fish away from the body and back down to the competition.

Finally ol’ man Lindsay went to his shed by the river and came out with a box and some cord. Nothing makes more noise around here than dynamite you see. The locals were a bit weary of the TV boys and girls too, so before you know it, 1/4 sticks of dynamite were plunking into the water, usually in the vicinity of a fancy pants boat.

After a good day of fishin’ the local Rescue Squad figured they should start draggin’ for Chew before the Sheriff yelled at them. So, that’s what they dun.

The never did find ol’ Chew. I recon that’s one reason why he is a legend. Maybe some of that talk he was doin’ at the end too. We remember him around here though, that’s for sure. We call it the Draggin’ Boat Race and everybody with a boat and a box of dynamite goes fishin’ below the dam.

I hear it’s a spreadin’ too.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

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