By Jack Cawthon|
Burvil invited me down to Big Puf to attend the spring meeting of the Big Puf Mountain Hunting and Drinking Club. Voy Dire, prominent member of the bar who is also a lawyer, was scheduled as the featured speaker, choosing as his topic "Some hidden legal symbolisms and imagery dealing with harvesting in the DNR's hunting regulations."
Voy and his brother John had once been in partnership, specializing in catastrophic law as most of their clients felt they had experienced a major catastrophe in retaining the law firm. John had decided, however, to move on to greener pastures, and the last I had heard he was mowing a rather wide swath in his own field. Voy returned to Big Puf and ran for various political offices with the slogans "Nothing runs like a Dire" and "The buck stops here," but his campaigns had turned out more like a doe caught in the glare of the headlights.
Voy had had some success as a trial lawyer. He took the case of Arlo Pratlow who was arrested for hunting on Sunday and convinced a jury that as Arlo observed the Sabbath on Saturday that to convict him of violating a Sunday law would be denying his rights under the separation of church and state.
He wasn't as successful when he took the case of a Pratlow relative who had shot his wife one Sunday afternoon. He argued that while the man was a prolific beer drinker he had never violated the state law of buying or consuming beer before one o'clock on Sunday, therefore one breach of an otherwise perfect Sunday record shouldn't be held against him.
I had received word before the meeting date that Voy had come down with some illness that Burvil thought could be serious enough to make him a habeas corpus as he thought dead lawyers were called. However, I heard from other sources that Voy had come down only with a case of Old Al Hag with which he had been known to pass over the bar.
Whatever the case, Arley Cleeter was called upon to fill in and he intended to speak on "How I beat the high cost of energy, or some good books I burned last winter."
When I arrived at the clubhouse most of the members were either playing or waiting to play what I think Governor Wise calls "gray machines." I had never seen the devices and knew only about them from what I had read in the newspapers, although back in my younger days some of the better filling stations had somewhat similar devices in the men's restrooms. I never gambled with those as I could never understand the method of scoring with them.
As I was a guest the president of the club shooed everyone away from one of the machines and I was told to put as many quarters as I wished into it as it was only a game of fun. Well, the most embarrassing thing happened. I no sooner inserted money when I must have caused it to malfunction. Money came pouring out and spilled all over the floor. I was truly upset as I was sure I had ruined it.
I quickly found a large box and made sure to scoop up all the coins which I turned over to a club officer with my apologies. He told me that if everyone was as honest as I he felt sure the governor and legislature wouldn't have pushed so hard for regulation. I felt a glow of pride and hoped that I might inspire others with this story.
Surprisingly, instead of upsetting the club members when I broke their machine others lined up wanting to try it, I assume to make sure it was functioning properly.
Arley was already speaking to some of the more intellectual members who had assembled in the meeting room and you could tell they were avid book lovers as they discussed the pros and cons of papers and bindings and their degree of combustibility.
Arley told his audience that Harlequin romance novels make the best fire starters as they sometimes self-ignite. He said the more bustible the cover the more combustible the book and several heads nodded in agreement, proving that Arley's source of winter heat may be catching on like wildfire.
The meeting closed with a benediction by the club chaplain who many had thought spoke in tongues but he explained to me that he was only quoting portions of the hunting regulations. He asked for a special blessing on Charlton Heston to lead us through the Red Sea which had been colored by pinko liberals anxious to pry the guns out of our cold dead hands.
There were wild cheers and Crazy Ted fired several rounds from his automatic weapon which he claims is legal under the Constitution and club bylaws. Ted is a loner who hunts by himself but who always gets his limitless limit.
All in all, I thought it was a rather good sportsmen's meeting from the standpoint of someone who doesn't sport around much.