Saturday, February 2, 2008

Rusty Pails #11
The Passing of Mr. Pails

by Rocky Macy

It’s “men only” when the gang and I take off for a week of fishing – no exceptions! And Esther Pearl, the best angler in Sprung Hinge, always gets furious. Our latest trip was no exception, but this time Esther had her revenge.

‘Long about the middle of the week, as we were sitting around the campfire playing cards with some college kids, it suddenly became clear that we had plunged into the morass of financial embarrassment. After learning the next morning that my credit card was expired, it became necessary to phone Esther and grovel for some help.

Esther wired the money from the Bank of Sprung Hinge while tearfully lamenting to all within earshot that poor Rusty was expired and the boys needed money to bring him home. Her wallpapering of the facts was so good that several of the bank tellers made personal contributions!

That Friday night when we returned I found a copy of The Sprung Hinge Weekly Squeak tied to a beautiful wreath that was hanging on my front screen door – both, no doubt, gifts of Esther. And that wasn’t all! Several nice potted plants had been left on the porch as well. Truman and Shadetree Mike moved them to one side while the Judge and Heck helped me carry in the gear. As I sat down and read the paper, the others gathered around. This was the lead story:

The Passing of Mr. Pails
by Eppie Taft, Obituary Editor

Word quickly spread through our hamlet this week of the death of Mr. Rusty Pails. Mr. Pails, still in the prime of his bachelorhood, succumbed to an unknown malady while on a fishing trip with friends.

Mr. Pails was retired, though from what is uncertain. He had lived his entire adult life in a nice cabin at the edge of town. Rusty Pails was best known for his attendance at local auctions.

Expressions of grief have poured in from near and far. A moratorium has been placed on local auctions until after the funeral, and Ermine down at the Pump and Git has vowed to retire Rusty’s chair at the domino table. Arrangements for the funeral and estate sale have yet to be announced, but a large crowd is expected for the sale.

“Imagine that!” Shadetree Mike fumed as I finished the article. “She can’t retire your chair. I’ve got a waiting list!”

“So do I, Mike,” I replied, “and Esther Pearl is the first name on it!”

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