Friday, February 5, 2010

Dead People in the Ditches?

Snow again today so I guess I’ll write a story. O Wise One is from a little town in Missouri called Sumner. Population 130. He was born and raised here as was his mother and father and his grandmother and grandfather. Sumner was once a booming metropolis. It was a railroad stop on the Wabash line and boasted stores, a pickle factory, dance halls, saloons and even an opera house and OWO’s great grandfather even had the mule barn in town.. This was the equivalent to the car dealership of today. Indeed Sumner was a booming prairie town. As trains declined as a means of major transportation and small family farms disappeared so have many small prairie towns including Sumner. There are still a few small businesses there but as a whole the town is on the decline. However every year Sumner still hosts the Annual Goose Festival and can boast as being the Goose capitol of the World. They even claim to have the largest goose in the world, aka Maxie, in the town park. A beacon to all who pass.

Now all small towns have at least one colorful character in town and for Sumner there were many. The one that comes to mind that I met shortly after moving to Missouri was Charles Edward. He lived in a small trailer on the outskirts of town. You couldn’t miss him as he was about 6’2” and about 260 pounds. He always wore bib overalls. And that was it. No shirt, and no underwear. And no ladies he did not button the sides of them overalls up either!  Now Charles Edward , unable to pass the driver’s test, did not drive but rather drove a lawnmower around town. During the summer he drove his convertible lawn mower and during the winter he had a little wooden doghouse mounted on top and that was his winter lawn mower. You would see him riding all over town with this lawnmower with the little wooden doghouse on top to keep the wind and snow off him. If you were lucky enough to be in the little community grocery store ( Cooney’s) when Charles Edward came in it was hilarious to see all the little gray haired ladies scatter and invert there eyes rather than catch sight of more than they wanted to see of Charles Edward. Makes me think of something my mama used to say. “Honey if ya see something ya aint never seen before throw your hat at it and run”.

An insurance man came from the city one time to sell Charles Edward burial insurance.
He tried every way in the world to convince Charles Edward that everyone needed burial insurance. Charlie kept telling this guy he didn’t need no burial insurance it was just a waste of money. The insurance salesman asked Charlie what would happen when he died. Charles Edward’s response was somebody would come along and bury him cause you didn’t see no dead people laying around in the ditches. The insurance man went back to the city never to be seen in Sumner again.

Well Charles Edward passed away a few years ago and he was right. His family got together and paid to have him buried in the local cemetery. The trailer was cleared away and the lawnmowers sold. And there still aint no dead people lying in the ditches.

Blessings from the Holler

The Canned Quilter and O Wise One


  1. Too funny!!! I can just imagine Charles Edward riding around on that lawn mower with a dog house on top.....he was brilliant!!! I think we can do that as a winter top for our John Deere Gator!!!!!!!

    We have some farmers around our area who like to wear the bibs unbuttoned and probably nothing underneath. I am like the old women in the store, scared to investigate any further!!!!!

    Keep those stories coming!!

  2. Very Funny! I think I saw a few men like Charles down in the hill country around Protem, MO where my Dad grew up. When we'd go visit his aunts, uncles, and cousins, there were people down in those hills that were a lot like Charles. The lawnmower idea was a pretty good one. And, he was right. I've never seen any dead people in the ditches either! - Have a great day and stay warm!


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