| Big Puf is part of what the Census Bureau defines as the Greater
Tri-Holler Indigenous Cohort made up of Big Puf, Little Wheeze and
Bluetick Cricks, and the people who live there are officially
designated as "way up the hollers."|
The predominantly right-handed Pratlows make up the bulk of the
population on Big Puf, while the left preference Hanshaws reside
mostly on Little Wheeze. Bluetick is a sort of neutral ground for
ramp growing, ginseng digging and a memorial garden for old Maytags,
refrigerators and various parts from the Detroit auto works, although
the occasional VW transaxle has been found.
Once an industrial archeologist came down from Detroit and in
digging around discovered a Henry J rear end from the 50s, which sent
him back in delight. I heard that he had applied for government
grants for further research and had petitioned Bill Clinton to declare
the area a national sanctuary for future generations. I don't think,
with all the fuss about the Rich pardon, that Clinton got around to
that before leaving office.
The Pratlows and the Hanshaws have never gotten along very handily
politically with leftists and rightists never reading the handwriting
on the wall with the same interpretation. In fact, the great feud of
'46 over a minor political office resulted in a shootout in the
village of Big Puf at what was then called the Blue Moon saloon. Both
factions rode into town and commenced firing upon sight. There was a
long fuselage of shooting, but no one was hit, and by the time all the
ammunition had been expended they had decided to sit down over a
bottle of something or other to resolve their differences.
The Blue Moon saloon was renamed the Blue Moon and Empty Arms Caf351,
not as a tribute to a sentimental song but as a reminder of all the
The proprietor is Homer Bob, a Pratlow, an aspiring writer who has
never learned to read so as to keep himself pure and unspoiled by
other writers. His assistant is Burvil, who is somehow related, but
in the convoluted genealogy of the region which is made up of his
kids, her kids, our kids, and God only knows, I haven't been able to
determine the lineage.
When I first arrived in Big Puf I sought out Homer Bob, as I felt
we had much in common. I could read, but I had been told by
specialists at a leading university up north that I couldn't write.
We hit it off quite well, but I, a drinker of strong herbal tea,
didn't feel comfortable visiting an establishment which served strong
regional drinks of a different nature.
We tried holding literary discussions in the fire hall, until it
burned down, and then we moved to Arley Cleeter's place. I was
unfamiliar at that time with Arley's practice of burning books for
heat, and each time he got up to stoke the stove I found that I, as a
book lover, was always grabbing books before they could be consumed by
the flames. He finally told me that if I couldn't stand the heat to
stay out of his cabin. About the only alternative was the bar itself
and we crossed over amid considerable moaning.
Over the years I have been accepted as well as any ambidextrous
outsider might be in such a rural handicapped region. Burvil has read
some of my writing attempts to Homer Bob, who especially liked the
government press releases that I once penned. He said my writing made
him more determined than ever to stay pure, a vow he has fulfilled to
this day and which I took as a definite compliment from a fellow
writer as journalism, especially, is filled with impurities.
There is much more that you need to know when you visit Big Puf
with me, and I will try to lead you gently into that dark valley. As
Richard Nixon once said: Trust me!