By Jim Hicks, guest columnist
About the time we were all giving up on any chance of moisture, much of Johnson County got some nice showers over the past week . . . and a few cloudbursts as well.
Near as we can tell . . . someone must have washed the pickup and the car, decided to cut some hay and stripped the shingles off a roof.
Whatever the reason, the moisture was a welcome pause in the worry about seeing the mountain catch fire this summer.
Over the years one of Sven’s favorite subjects has been Larry Brannian, a man of various talents and activities including auctioneering and occasional pranks.
Maybe those farm and ranch auctions have proved the old rule that “one man’s junk is another’s treasurer.”
So when Larry had the opportunity to assume ownership of two outhouses that were in fairly good shape . . . he jumped at it. Even in these modern times there is still a demand for a good outhouse.
Among his friends are the Yoders located south of Buffalo. He called them and asked if they might be interested in owning one of the small buildings. He had a “one holer” as well as a “two holer”.
Larry had both loaded on a flat-bed trailer, so he decided to haul them out so they could take their pick. Both were secured to the trailer with lightweight straps.
South of town on I-25 Larry was doing about 70 when he heard a noise and looked in the side mirror of his pickup.
The two-holer had come off the trailer, was in mid-air and seemed to be gaining speed in the passing lane.
He got things shut down and was frantically trying to move assorted parts of the building off the highway and direct traffic and the same time.
He needed some help . . . in a big way. So Larry got his cell phone out and dialed 911.
When the dispatcher answered, he must have had “caller ID”.
Rather than the usual . . . “This is the 911 operator . . . what is your emergency?” . . . the voice said . . . “Larry Brannian, we understand you have an outhouse problem on Interstate 90 south of Buffalo. Is that right? We’ve had a lot of calls about this. How can we help?”
Once again we learn how wonderful it is to live in a small community where folks know each other.
Meanwhile, back down on the Main Drag we hear people making plans to celebrate an important holiday next Sunday. The 4th of July is set aside for us to remember what a treasure we have to live in a country where we can ALL vote to elect those who run the government . . . a democracy. And we are learning it is fragile, not guaranteed and can erode.
Over the years Sven has reported on some family celebrations that have been memorable for various reasons.
Many years ago fireworks being sold included some powerful firecrackers later outlawed. Those “cherry-bombs” and “M-80s” had to come close to a quarter stick of dynamite in power.
And once the fuse was lit, it would not go out even if under water.
When a hole was cut in a large watermelon and one of those pushed deep into the center . . . it can make a family picnic resemble a war zone. The time is coming close (statute of limitations) when we can disclose what nine-year-old made the decision to pull that stunt.
And finally this week we have another quote from old “Bad News.” This week he said his mind thinks he’s 20, his sense of humor is 12 and his body is asking if he’s not already dead.
Have a great Forth and we’ll drop a line again next week.