Joe Black, nearing his final days, called his wife of many years to his bedside. "I want you to promise me, Mary, that when I am gone you will never have anything to do with another man. We have been together such a long time, and I will be happy waiting in Heaven till you get there if you can assure me that you will always be faithful after I'm gone. I believe I would turn over in my grave should you prove false."
"Never fear," came the quick reply. "You know I have been perfectly happy as your wife, and the last thing in the world I would do is think about another man."
Years pass. Scene changes to heaven. Mary is standing right inside the Pearly Gates looking for her husband. St. Peter asks if he can be of help and Mary says, "Yes, if you could tell me where I can find my husband, Joe Black. He's been waiting for me a long time."
"Hummm," muttered St. Peter. "That is a very common name. Could you tell me something that might distinguish him from other Joe Blacks?"
"Well, he did ask me to be faithful to him. He even said he would turn over in his grave should I pay attention to any other man."
St. Peter chuckled and said, "Oh, yeah. We call him Ole Whirlin' Joe!"
That was just one of the stories our little friend, Miss Pearlie Maxine, told us. When the Ripper and I are walking and pass her neighborhood, I often think of young years when she endlessly spun yarns.
The lady had grown up in northern Arkansas, not far from our community, and we often heard amazing tales of what took place in that region during her childhood. One of my favorite stories concerned the razorback hogs which prowled the Arkansas mountains. She offered the following tale as proof positive that the Arkansas Razorback, at least in the days of her youth, was well-nigh indestructible.
"My daddy," her testimony began, "was diggin' up stumps in some new ground one day, just about to kill hisself tryin' to pry 'em up with a pick-ax, when one of them county agents came around to visit. While they were talkin' the agent told daddy about a new way to get rid of stumps -- with dynamite!"
Her daddy, she continued, was pleased as punch to find an alternative method of getting the infernal stumps out of the ground, and immediately he hitched the team and drove to the store to get the dynamite, fuse and caps.
When he got back home, he carefully followed to the letter the instructions of the county agent. He set the charge, lighted the fuse and ran for cover. But for some reason the fuse went out, and since it was getting dark, he decided to wait until morning before trying again.
A big, old razorback hog found the stick of dynamite and, curiosity getting the better of him, he ate the whole thing. Being a hog, and still hungry, he went down to the barn where he attempted to steal some corn from the mule, who quite naturally tried to kick him. for the first and last time in its life. The mule connected with its target, and the dynamite went off.
"Gosh," we all groaned in sympathy. "That must have been an awful mess."
Miss Pearlie Maxine agreed. "Yeah, it really wuz. Killed the mule, wrecked the barn, broke ever winda in the house, and for nearly a week we had an awful sick hog!"