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Home Country

By Slim Randles
Jul 6, 2005 - 9:30:00 AM

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We all knew it was bound to happen, sooner or later. Dewey drives a truck like an Olympic high diver's best: headlong, full out and without looking. The accident with the grease truck was only the latest achievement of the guy who could turn a safety class into an ambulance call.

Even when he was a little kid, he could find ways of hurting himself and wrecking equipment. l swear, if someone in France threw a rock, it would hit Dewey in the eye here at home.

Back in high school, Dewey once managed to get his dad's pickup truck stuck in the mud. This wouldn't be remarkable except we were in a seven-year drought and the only mud puddle in the county was the sump hole behind the laundromat. Dewey had to back up past the notions store to get there, but he found it.

He was helping us move some stock once and decided to tie up his horse and get a drink out of the creek. There were about 4,000 trees along that particular stretch of creek, but Dewey managed to tie that good sorrel mare to the only one hosting a colony of bees in its hollow trunk. They found that mare two days and ten miles later, and she wasn't in a hurry to go home.

The problem with Dewey, though, is that he's just so darn helpful. Being helpful - especially in this day and age - is rare enough and should be encouraged, of course. But with Dewey, you thank him for the offer of help, and then try to find him something to do that doesn't require 1. using things, 2. moving things, 3. lifting things, 4. washing things, or 5. being close to things. This tends to limit employment opportunities.

But we all understood Bob Bishop's dilemma with the grease truck. He has this old grease truck, holding more than a thousand gallons of restaurant grease. And Bob has all these pigs waiting to eat. But Bob didn't have anyone to drive the truck for him. Then Dewey, coming off a brief stint washing breakable dishes down at the Mexican restaurant, asked Bob if there was something he could do to help.

Fortunately, at that particular intersection of the interstate and the county road, no one was coming along when Dewey came by. Fortunately as well, Dewey only broke his left hand when the grease truck fell on it.

Unfortunately, that intersection will be closed until someone can figure out what to do with a thousand gallons of french fry grease spread over more than an acre of pavement.

The fire department turned the hose on it, which seemed to make it more slippery. Dewey offered to use a tractor to scrape it up, which no one could picture and which offer was immediately refused.

Some of us asked Doc. He might know something we don't because of medical school. We drove out to see the spill and Doc checked it out pretty thoroughly.

"Only thing I can think of," he said, "involves two pickup loads of lettuce and a thousand gallons of vinegar."

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