Uncle Josh's Punkin Centre Stories

A Meeting of the Annanias Club

WALL, sometimes a lot of us old codgers used to git down to Ezra Hoskins' grossery store and we'd sot 'round and chaw terbacker and whittle sticks and eat crackers and cheese and proons and anything Ezra happened to have layin' 'round loos, and then we'd git to spinnin' yarns that would jist about put Annanias and Safiry right out of business if they wuz here now. Wall, one afternoon we wuz all settin' 'round spinnin' yarns when Deacon Witherspoon sed that eckos wuz mighty peculiar things, cos down whar he wuz born and raised thar wuz a passell of hills cum together and you couldn't git out thar and talk louder 'n a whisper on account of the ecko. But one day a summer boarder what wuz thar remarked as how he wasn't afraid to talk right out in meetin' in front of any old lot of hills what wuz ever created; so he went out and hollered jist as loud as he could holler, and he started a ecko a-goin' and it flew up agin one hill and bounced off onto another one and gittin' bigger and louder all the time 'til it got back whar it started from and hit a stone quarry and knocked off a piece of stone and hit that feller in the head, and he didn't cum too fer over three hours. Wall, we thought that wuz purty good fer a Deacon. Wall, none of us sed anything fer a right smart spell and then Si Pettingill remarked "he didn't know anything about eckos, but he calculated he'd seen some mighty peculiar things; sed he guessed he'd seen it rain 'bout as hard as anybody ever seen it rain." Someone sed, "Wall, Si, how hard did you ever see it rain?" and he sed, "Wall one day last summer down our way it got to rainin' and it rained so hard that the drops jist rubbed together comin' down, which made them so allfired hot that they turned into steam; why, it rained so gosh dinged hard, thar wuz a cider bar'l layin' out in the yard that had both heads out'n it and the bung hole up; wall, it rained so hard into that bung hole that the water couldn't run out of both ends of the bar'l fast enough, and it swelled up and busted." Wall, we all took a fresh chew of terbacker and nudged each other; and Ezra Hoskins sed he didn't remember as how he'd ever seen it rain quite so hard as that, but he'd seen some mighty dry weather; he sed one time when he wuz out in Kansas it got so tarnation dry that fish a-swimmin' up the river left a cloud of dust behind them. And hot, too; why, it got so allfired hot that one day he tied his mule to a pen of popcorn out behind the barn, and it got so hot that the corn got to poppin' and flyin' 'round that old mule's ears and he thought it wuz snow and laid down and froze to death. Wall, about that time old Jim Lawson commenced to show signs of uneasiness, and someone sed, "What is it, Jim?" and Jim remarked, as he shifted his terbacker and cut a sliver off from his wooden leg, "I wuz a-thinkin' about a cold spell we had one winter when we wuz a-livin' down Nantucket way. It wuz hog killin' time, if I remember right; anyhow, we had a kittle of bilin' water sottin' on the fire, and we sot it out doors to cool off a little, and that water froze so durned quick that the ice wuz hot."

Ezra sed, "Guess its 'bout shettin' up time."

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