hammers, beards and other things

straight razorIt’s been unseasonably cool here at Headquarters of the World Problem Solution Society and Coffee Klatch. The woodpile is running low, but that hasn’t kept us away from the fire pit. Walter’s always got the cowboy coffee bubbling and Lurlene Sue usually comes up with a treat for us.

Tonight she felt that we had worked so hard around the place that we deserved something a little more substantial to tide us over until morning. She said she’d run in and whip up a plate of sausage biscuits for us and asked how many we wanted. As usual, I said one would do for me and Walter ordered his customary two. Trooper Shiny had been working all day with us since it was his day off. He may be a skinny drink of water, but he packs a powerful appetite. He opined that he could probably eat four. Walter and I just shrugged as Lurlene Sue skipped to the kitchen to begin her cooking. And I’ve gotta say, it’s a sight to see when Lurlene Sue skips. It registers about 2.7 on the Richter scale.

Now, Shiny is the newest member of the Society and has not been fully introduced to our long standing customs nor to the ways of Lurlene Sue.

Either Trooper Shiny has never had breakfast with us or he suffers from micro-memory syndrome. Our girl Lurlene Sue cuts her cathead biscuits with the rim of a one pound coffee can. It takes about a half-pound of sausage to cover one. By the time she slathers it with fresh churned butter and plops a patty on it, you can hear the cardiovascular surgeons cheering for miles around. Her sausage biscuits are so power packed that when you bend your arm to eat one, you can hear your arteries crackle like Rice Crispies. That girl put the “C” in cholesterol.

Lurlene Sue appeared with a platter heaped with fresh, steaming sausage biscuits. She said, “Y’all are just gonna love this sausage. Cowboy Dan sent it to us from his place over at Devine. It’s Axis deer with pork fat to make it moist. He added his special mixture of garlic, black pepper, crushed red pepper, some cayenne and some habanero flakes to give it just a bit of a bite.”

Shiny’s eyes sort of glazed over at the litany of peppers that Dan put in the sausage. I’ve been eating the sausage that Dan makes for the past seventeen years. When Lurlene Sue said it had a “bit of a bite,” the translation is that it is hot enough to cook itself. I was looking forward to watching Shiny’s face when he bit into the first one. I have to admit that it is an acquired taste.

Walter topped off the coffee mugs and we tucked into Lurlene Sue’s handiwork.

I’ve gotta give Shiny credit. After swallowing the first bite he said, “Miss Lurlene, these are some might fine biscuits.” The only thing that made me think he might be less than sincere were the tears welling up in his eyes and the little trickle of snot running down into his Clark Gable mustache.

After our light evening snack, talk turned to more mundane things.

Shiny looked at Walter and said, “You know, I’ve got a heavy beard and I’ve always admired how smoothly shaven you always are. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you with even the hint of stubble. I’ve tried everything from electrics to straight razors and I always have this five o’clock shadow. How do you do it?”

“Well, sonny,” Walter replied, “it’s a secret cowboy technique taught to me by my Granddaddy. But you have to be a real man to do it.”

“I’ll have you know that the State Troopers don’t recruit boys,” Shiny retorted.

“Maybe so, but when you grow into that duty belt, get a few creases in those boots and maybe a sweat stain on that Stetson, I’ll know that you are a man growed.

Shiny swallowed down the fire in his belly (caused by more than the deer sausage) and looked Walter straight in the eye.¬†“I won’t let you get my goat, you old coot. I still want to know how you do it.”

“Well, on the subject of beards, I’ll allow as how you ¬†have a little color on your cheeks. But I gotta tell ya that my beard is so heavy that if I let it grow out, the weight of it pulls the wrinkles outta my eyes.

“Granddaddy Walter always told me that anybody could grow a beard, but it takes a real man to get a smooth finish like this. The secret is in the preparation. You get a really good horseshoe hammer with a hickory handle. Then you drive the hairs back into your face and chew them off from the inside. That way you don’t have to worry about that annoying stubble showing up later.”

Poor Shiny allowed that he’d had enough fun for one night and toddled off to the bunk house. So you can see that things haven’t changed much around here. We hope to see y’all around the campfire sometime soon


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