(05/31/2016)
By Jack Cawthon
bbqrun@hotmail.com

I was sitting at the computer sobbing uncontrollably when the Little Woman (5 ft., 1 in.) walked by. She suddenly stopped and yelled "You're dripping tears on the keyboard; you'll short out the computer!"

Then, pretty much as an afterthought she asked why I was crying: had I forgotten my password again? "No, no," I choked out, "the Hur...Herald...it's...it's dying!" "Well. we're all gonna die some day," and she picked up one of her make-believe books and lost herself in a world of fiction.

Not I, as I was facing non-fiction in stark reality. What are we going to do each morning as we take our coffee and punch up the Herald and it is no longer there? There will be lots of withdrawal symptoms, you better believe! "Hey, Doc, you got a pill....

" How will I break the news to my good friends down in Big Puf that they will no longer have a reporter who tells their news with compassion? I began the Big Puf news beat--a term used in journalism and other abusive endeavors--back years ago for Jim Comstock's West Virginia Hillbilly.

I was told I put Big Puf on the map, but I always replied, "no, no" I kept it off the map. I was afraid outsiders would interfere with a way of life they couldn't comprehend and, besides they had already met their outsider quota by accepting an ex-Pennsylvanian hippie who had wandered in in some sort of haze of smoke, and took to him right away, even if he did talk funny, as he related his wandering like a bard of old in the Over Easy Inn.

(Some folks have tried to find Big Puf with fancy GPS systems, but ended up driving over cliffs and into wilderness lanes leading to no where. Do not try this without my help, seldom given.)

The Over Easy was run--a term often used by its client--by Homer Bob Pratlow, whose ambition was to become a writer, but he wanted to be a pure one who would never steal words from another, so he never learned to read.

Over the years as my bones became more brittle and on one noted example while covering a peace on earth, goodwill to all Christmas pageant I was struck upside the head by a thrown beer bottle after a family feud broke out.

I had hopes that a younger reporter would take over and continue in the fashion of truth, honesty and the American Way that I have tried to maintain in my role through the years, but, alas, none has come forward.

Orange Roughage Catfish

There are lots of stories yet to be told from Big Puf.

The fate of the Big Puf Orange Roughage Catfish hangs in doubt as the massive pollution it needs for survival is disappearing.

See The Orange Roughage Thrives, The Saga Continues

No longer will Granny Pratlow and her Gray Bandoliers be able to tell their story of gray power and the Holy Rattlers will be left with no one to attest to their power of faith.

(Breaking news: Arley Cleeter was heard to mention at the Over Easy that he had finally managed to receive information streaming from a cloud. He has been invited to serve as church deacon as he surely had received celestial messages and with such has enough faith to pick up serpents. The congregation has agreed that he can practice with a six-foot blacksnake and work up to the hard core.)

Enough of this. I'm going to miss the Herald. Where else can an old vanity writer such as I -- the Preacher in the Good Book put perhaps all writers into perspective with "all is vanity"--find a place such as this to practice--that's about all I've ever done--this line of, well, vanity?

When Jim Comstock died and Hillbilly followed shortly after, I assumed that it was over, but then along came a new medium, the Herald, and it was fun again.

How I thank Dianne Weaver for coaching me on the computer. I didn't know an email from an ewe-male (transgender sheep) but she kept me going--and she liked my writing, That puts the vain in vanity!! (She put lots of effort in presenting the drawing of the Orange Roughage into the computer to prove that it actually exists.)

Bob Weaver I've known since I was a student-teacher in Calhoun High and he was a student. For someone who once worked with Tom T. Hall, legendary country singer-story-teller, and also with dead bodies, he has developed into no slouch of a writer himself. Norma, I haven't met, but she has done wonders digging up stories of the past and bringing them back to current readers.

I don't know how many of you have wandered along with me in my ramblings, as dog gone it, you never write and send the praise. And that makes it rough for the vanity factor.

Let's not say goodbye, as I haven't shorted out the computer yet. The old timers in journalism ended their copy with "30." As I always wanted to be one of them, I'll do the same.

-30-


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