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Uncle Josh's Punkin Centre Stories

Uncle Josh on a Bicycle

A LONG last summer Ruben Hoskins, that is Ezra Hoskins' boy, he cum home from college and bro't one of them new fangled bisickle masheens hum with him, and I think ever since that time the whole town of Punkin Centre has got the bisickle fever. Old Deacon Witherspoon he's bin a-ridin' a bisickle to Sunday school, and Jim Lawson he couldn't ride one of them 'cause he's got a wooden leg; but he jist calculated if he could git it hitched up to the mowin' masheen, he could cut more hay with it than any man in Punkin Centre. Somebody sed Si Pettingill wuz tryin' to pick apples with a bisickle.

Wall, all our boys and girls are ridin' bisickles now, and nothin' would do but I must learn how to ride one of them. Wall, I didn't think very favorably on it, but in order to keep peace in the family I told them I would learn. Wall, gee whilikee, by gum. I wish you had bin thar when I commenced. I took that masheen by the horns and I led it out into the middle of the road, and I got on it sort of unconcerned like, and then I got off sort of unconcerned like. Wall, I sot down a minnit to think it over, and then the trouble commenced. I got on that durned masheen and it jumped up in the front and kicked up behind, and bucked up in the middle, and shied and balked and jumped sideways, and carried on worse 'n a couple of steers the fust time they're yoked. Wall, I managed to hang on fer a spell, and then I went up in the air and cum down all over that bisickle. I fell on top of it and under it and on both sides of it; I fell in front of the front wheel and behind the hind wheel at the same time. Durned if I know how I done it but I did. I run my foot through the spokes, and put about a hundred and fifty punctures in a hedge fence, and skeered a hoss and buggy clar off the highway. I done more different kinds of tumblin' than any cirkus performer I ever seen in my life, and I made more revolutions in a fifteen-foot circle than any buzz-saw that ever wuz invented. Wall, I lost the lamp, I lost the clamp, I lost my patience, I lost my temper, I lost my self-respect, my last suspender button and my standin' in the community. I broke the handle bars, I broke the sprockets, I broke the ten commandments, I broke my New Year's pledge and the law agin loud and abusive language, and Jim Lawson got so excited he run his wooden leg through a knot-hole in the porch and couldn't git it out agin. Wall, I'm through with it; once is enough fer me. You kin all ride your durned old bisickles that want to, but fer my part I'd jist as soon stand up and walk as to sit down and walk. No more bisickles fer your Uncle Josh, not if he knows it, and your Uncle Josh sort of calculates as how he do.

Notoriety—A next door neighbor to glory, but another way of
gittin' it.—Punkin Centre Philosophy.


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