County Lines by Bob
North County Lines by Bob 9-13-00 Editor's Note:
This week's North County Lines is an encore presentation of Bob's
first place award winning entry in the 2000 Tennessee Press Association
Last Saturday, after working in the garden, I stripped off my clothes,
went behind the barn, and started showering myself clean with a
After lathering up and rinsing off, I noticed some cows had gathered
around for a closer look. They were curious. They had probably never
seen a naked human being before.
Not liking my privacy disturbed, I shooed all the cows away, except
a cow that wasn't a cow, but a bull, standing between me and the
gate, my only way out. I yelled at the bull. He didn't move. I whistled
for Woolly to come and chase the bull away. But she didn't come.
That didn't surprise me. After Woolly turned eight, fifty-six in
dog years, she retired from almost everything, except eating, sleeping,
I yelled at the bull again. He didn't move.
What I needed was a big stick to whop him over the head with. But
I didn't have a big stick. All I had was a bar of soap and a towel.
Knowing the bar of soap wouldn't help in my situation, I twisted
up the towel and started popping the bull with it. He didn't move.
Thinking I might be able to chase him off another way, I untwisted
the towel and waved it at the bull. Not a good idea.
When the bull charged, I dropped the towel and hightailed it toward
the back of the pasture.
The bull was breathing down my neck, when I saw a low place in
the fence, jumped over, tumbled down an embankment, and splashed
into a creek. Naked as the day I was born, but safe at last. Or
so I thought.
I was watching minnows nibble at my toes, when I heard voices.
Must be hunters, I thought. Then I remembered it wasn't hunting
As quietly as a snake, I crawled up the bank on the other side
of the creek and peeked over.
Six men, all with guns strapped to their sides, were slapping each
other on the back and looking up and down at a patch of marijuana
plants as high as an elephant's eye.
Despite the guns, I knew they weren't cops. They were the McMumphrey
brothers, Ed, Ted, Fred, Jed, Ned, and Vivian.
All the McMumphrey brothers are mean. But Vivian is the most dangerous.
He can shoot off a mosquito's stinger at a thousand feet. He's almost
as good with a gun as I am.
But I didn't have a gun and I didn't want my nose shot off for
poking it into someone's private farming activities.
I had to get home before Pinchy started worrying. But I couldn't
return the way I came. The bull prevented that. I couldn't walk
back along the outside of the fence. The McMumphrey brothers might
see me and start shooting.
I had only one choice. Follow the creek until it reached Dale Hollow
Lake. Then swim to Obey River Park and get back home from the other
Of course, being naked meant I'd have to swim with only my head
above the water. When I reached Obey River Park, I'd have to wait
until dark before making my way home.
Swimming with only my head above the water wasn't easy. I made
it a quarter mile, maybe a half, before dogpaddling toward shore
until I reached a depth where I could walk along the bottom with
only my head sticking out of the water.
I was traveling at a decent pace, considering the circumstances,
when I saw a fisherman on shore, waiting for his cork to go under.
He saw me too, or at least he saw my head.
"What are you doing out there?" He yelled. I yelled back,
"I'm walking home."
"Wouldn't it be easier," he yelled, "to use a road?"
"Yep," I yelled back, "sure would. But I like doing
things the hard way."
Around the next bend, I spotted a woman sunbathing on shore. When
she saw my head, she screamed. I think she was embarrassed because
she was only wearing the bottom half of a bikini.
"Don't get upset," I yelled. "I read the National
Geographic. I've seen women dressed like you before. Of course they
were in Africa.Ó "Go away," she yelled back. "You're
"My psychiatrist thinks so too," I yelled. "But
he says it isn't catching."
When I reached Obey River Park, the sun had set, but it was still
light. A full moon. Just my luck.
I could walk up to the road, I thought, and try hitchhiking. But
the only people who would pick up a naked man would be the cops
or my cousin Aileen, and she lives in Georgia. Not much chance of
catching a ride with her.
What I had to do was obvious. Return the way I came. Surely the
bull and the McMumphrey brothers would be gone by the time I got
When I finally made it home, Pinchy said, "I'm sure you have
a good explanation for coming home naked after midnight. Come on,
let me hear it."
"You wouldn't believe it if I told you," I replied.
"Try me," she said.
I did and she didn't.
I've been in the doghouse ever since. The fleas and Woolly's snoring
don't bother me at all. I like it here.
I like it so much, when Pinchy gets over being mad and tells me
I can come back inside, I might stay out here forever. That will
Overton County News
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P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570