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42-10-14 Rush's Soggy Books

  • Fletcher: "Wilbur Yang was known around Sycamore there as ‘the man with the educated elbow'.  He could tell time with his elbow. As a young fella he fell off a hay-rack and broke his elbow.  After that happened his elbow was very sensitive, see? He could tell by his elbow whether it was gonna rain, whether it was gonna snow, whether it was gonna hail, or whether it was gonna sleet. And he could also tell the time.  His wife – he married a woman twenty-six years old – would wake him up in the middle of the night and say, ‘What time is it, Will?'  Wilbur would simply take hold of his elbow with his fingers, squeeze it good, and say, ‘It's three minutes and six seconds past one o'clock.'  And he'd be right!  Wilbur Yang married this woman twenty-six years old under very peculiar circumstances.  He was standing on the railroad station platform in East Pittston, Pennsylvania.  A stranger come up to him and tapped him on the shoulder and says, ‘Beg pardon, friend. Will you light my cigar for me?  I'm going to be married in half an hour and I'm so nervous I can't strike a match.'  Wilbur lit the fella's cigar for him and then got to thinking. ‘I oughta be married myself,' he said to himself. ‘I'm thirty-two years old.'  Well sir, he noticed a young lady down the platform a piece and he strolled over to where she was standing and says, ‘I'm Wilbur Yang.  I'd like to get married.'  The young lady never blinked an eye.  ‘I'd like to get married,' she said.  So they went to a lunchroom and ate a hearty meal, got in touch with a preacher, underwent the wedding ceremony in the presence of six book agents that happened to be in the neighborhood, caught the evening train for Logwater, Missouri, and for all I know they're still in that community."
  • Fletcher: "Ernie Hawfer there in Belvidere claimed everything he ate tasted like molasses.  I say he ‘claimed' because naturally he couldn't prove it. Peaches, bread, chewing-gum, ice-tea, hominy, spinach, olives, turnip-greens, they all tasted like molasses.  That would have been all right only Ernie didn't like molasses.  He went to see the doctor about it.  "Doctor, everything I put in my mouth tastes like molasses."  The Doctor asks, "What's your name, friend?"  "Ernie Hawfer," says Ernie.  "Mister Hawfer," says the Doctor, "Get out of my office and stay out."  Ernie left Belvidere late in the spring of eighteen-eighty-six. He moved to Corpus Christi, Arizona, went into the Wholesale Baling Wire business, and, as I say, he passed away in nineteen-aught-two."  
  • Fletcher: "Mervin Gossbeck there in Sterling – Mervin and his brother Charlie were sittin' out behind the house one evening and they got up a game of seeing which one could keep their mouth closed the longest.  Charlie was first and kept his mouth closed an hour and a half.  Well, Mervin was a stubborn half-wit, - couldn't bear to lose. He kept his mouth closed almost a week.  He lost fifteen pounds from going without eating and finally fainted from thirst. The lame-brain bet was only a nickel.  And Mervyn didn't even collect that.  Charlie didn't have a nickel.  Stubborn nit-wits that way – they'll stick with a thing till they drop."
  • Rush is down in the dumps because he left his schoolbooks outside overnight and there was a heavy rain, turning his books into "big swollen, soggy chunks of unreadable pulp."  He figures it'll cost five dollars to replace them.
  • Fletcher: "Old Harvey Geager there in Dixon used to say, ‘Somebody wins, somebody loses.  Nature takes up the slack.'"
  • Uncle Fletcher had found a five dollar bill earlier in the day and wants Rush/Russell to take it to buy new books.  Rush doesn't believe he found it.  Fletcher takes severe umbrage.  The boy relents and accepts the bill.
  • Fletcher: "Gus Cheebawater left DeKalb to move to Tulsa, Kansas.  In Tulsa, Kansas he married a woman seventeen years old, went into the Automatic Saxophone business, taught himself to ride horseback without any horse, successfully passed fourteen nickels in counterfeit money he'd made at home himself out of ordinary gingerbread, spent one whole winter sleeping on the handlebars of a bicycle to win a fifteen-cent bet and later died." - compiled by Barbara Schwarz, edited by Jimbo Mason
This script was re-used on Christmas Eve, 1943, with Russell (David Whitehouse) taking the place of Rush.  The title therefore is different as well, being named: "Russell's Soggy Books."

This script is important for it's many stories from Uncle Fletcher.  Nine out of every ten stories he tells are worth noting, so the more we run across, the better.

As noted many times, Uncle Fletcher is a very thoughtful person.  He probably did find five dollars that day... and it would be just his way to help out anyone in need, especially his nephew.

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