Armageddon Okies

Assembly Time!

 

#12 Letter from Home:

High Creek Dirt Dam Busted

Dear Randy,

This is to let you know that the High Creek dirt dam busted last night and the back road in here went over the side of the gulch along with LeRoy's squash patch and about a quarter mile of that wood rail fence you built last summer from the big box-elder tree we cut over at Mel's the day before Maw's garter busted in the pork and bean isle in the Econo Mart. We had a special meeting at the Hall last Saturday night called "new things returned." It's about stuff that the truth just found out, so they got this special guy up from Witter to tell us about it. He says the "superior authorities" are the Father and Son just like it says in the Watchdog magazine not the stupid government. They really would have had to been dumb to think it's the government or somethin'. Me and Maw says on the way home from the meetin' that the way we know we have the truth is that the truth admits it when they was wrong but them church preachers don't even teach anything new just the Bible all the time. Why they don't even know how to use it in the first place....they just read what it says....an then they just stop. They don't even know Christ returned in 1874, or the time of the end started in 1799, or about 1829, or 1844, or nothing. We was doin' street work yesterday....it sure was dusty....cars wouldn't even slow down.

The truth says the end's near, so we been making extra elderberry wine. We been cutting it about fifty-fifty with gin an the last batch sister Missey Setter was down taste testing quite a lot an she went to sleep on the sack pile. Lucky thing Bubba happened by an offered to carry her up to her room. Her ol husband Jup, he got cured of suckin' eggs last Friday over by Pea Ridge. Sister Smiley and sister Neew was along too. He went behind a tree to relieve hisself and done it right on one of then new fangled electric fences. Sister Neew hasn't missed a day in service since. Well, Bubba's riggin' up the Lincoln with loud speakers for a sound car to do service in town Sunday. We're gonna nail the posters up on the sides of the trailer and pull that along too. Maw just cut the cheese again...whew.

I gotta cut this short. I been escorting Granny down to the out-house with the hoe last few days. I'm glad the Silver-Age magazine told us that there's no such thing as rabies cause about six or seven of them dogs would have had me worried. They must have been eatin' soap. Seem meaner than usual too. The Ford quit. This time for good. Done it in a good spot though, north side of the house. Something just touched my foot. Dad gum black cat. I toss left over cold coffee out of my cup at it and it goes away. Granny burned another hole in her chair this morning. Ash rolled off her cigar.

Love from all, write soon,

Clem

PS; You know them funny spots on your picture....we know what they are....boogers. LeRoy done it.

 

#13 Letter from Home:

Half Way Hallie and Bear Creek Blues

Dear Randy,

We got the best thing for goin' to assemblies....a bus. All of us have been workin' to get it ready. LeRoy and Bubba ripped out all the seats except the first two behind the driver and the first and third on the side with the door on. Me and brother Newly Ben Haad took his pickup and our flatbed over to the sawmill at Harrison and picked up a load of sides and wedges for the cupboards and bed rails. Left rear tire on the trailer went flat on the way back here over on the down side of Boone hill by Bear Creek Springs. That ol' trailer first went hither then to and back again. By the time it got stopped that load of sides and wedges was all over on one side of the trailer...the side with good tires. Since we didn't have a spare we took ol' 23 North out of Eureka back home cause it kind of leans to the right and there ain't no mailboxes on the inside corners 'cept Half Way Hallie's an' she's on Bubba's magazine route. It was way after dark when we came by Mel's and remembered that it was book study night and I was supposed to be reader so we just unhooked the trailer there and went over to Newly's trailer. Big crowd again, but a lot was late with chores an' didn't have time to clean up. Newley says he sleeps with the window open anyhow.

Seems like a lot of folk is sick according to the Wide-Awake magazine...rashes...an' tired...fevers. Maw thinks she's got it. She read that if you don't eat fruit or drink milk that your hearing gets better. She's gonna try it. I, for one, don't know how her hearing could get any better. She can hear a cork pop from the barn in a hailstorm now. Granny's taken to carryin' the shotgun again. Makes me a little nervous, especially after what happened last time. We all been real careful not to startle her. Bubba really got lucky. He gets to bring the work truck home at night. Me and little Mike rigged up lights so we can check out the load after chores. Bubba was right...people do throw out a lot of good stuff. We rigged up a smoker from an old refrigerator. Boy, does that make good pork chops and catfish. We took off the door latch so LeRoy don't get locked in and chopped three holes in the top with the big punch, then we put that ol' hotplate from the little house in and set some apple wood chunks on it under a dishpan of water. Then Maw just sets in the meat and we forget about it for a while. Smoked pork goes good with elderberry wine but not before meetings....not after what happened last week.

I got a new pair of readin' glasses at the Ben Franklin store Monday when we went to the court house to see about the tax bill on the new Hall. These feel better. That tape on the old ones was gettin' sticky, especially on a hot day. Well gotta go now. I hear the dogs barkin' an' I'm thinkin' that may be Maw coming back from picking pipe tobacco down by the river.

Love from all, don't forget to write.

Clem

PS; LeRoy wants to know exactly what is it you do in town anyway. Your first credit card bill came. It's enclosed.

 

#14 Letter from Home:

Assembly #1

Dear Randy,

Well, it's all set, we are going to go to the New York assembly and take our bus that we fixed up. We're all goin' 'cept little Mike. Somebody's gotta stay home and chore and cork up the new batch of elderberry wine an little Mike won the toss. We ain't got money for just us, so we are takin' some of the friends along too since they are willing to chip in for oil and gas and oil and stuff. We are planning to eat our meals, sleep, and everything right here in the bus. We're takin' that fill-in circuit servant, brother Rusty Fenders, an that sister Neew, Maw, LeRoy, Granny, me, Sis, Lambert, brother Newly Ben Haad and of course Bubba who'll be doing most of the driving since he's been studying those maps all winter. Sister Neew has been sewing up curtains for the bus from flour sacks Maw was saving out on the porch. I didn't even know they was there. Cats will miss them LeRoy says.

We didn't have a meetin' Tuesday night cause Newly had two more teeth fall out Monday and he says that the noise probably would bother him. We stayed home and turned the radio off from eight till nine and thought about all the things we learned about the truth. Bubba got done early but Maw made him sit till we was all finished. The meetings are getting kind of funny since that sister Stout started playin' the accordion ever since the piano fell through the floor. She sits up front on the piano stool facing us and holds it on her lap to play it and holds each end on a leg so that when she plays her legs go back and forth. Quite a sight! First time she did it nobody sang.

We figure that we're all gonna pioneer the month that we will be gone to the assembly since we will be on the road so much and that all we have to do is offer a book every time we stop and take turns the same as we do in service now except on the trip the rides between calls will just be a little longer. I think that brother Fenders kind of likes sister Neew, but I kinda believe Bubba's a little sweet on her too. It's a good thing we's all in the truth or here might be trouble on that one. Maw says that Rusty Fenders can sure put away the elderberry wine. Well, that won't be a problem. I'll just bring along extra.

Society will be happy with us cause there's three or four car loads going from around here plus us in the bus. We know seating will be scarce at the assembly so we all bought extra songbooks last week. Maw is canning mountain oysters and pickled beets for the trip. She says she ain't gonna eat any of that cafe food up north. She's canning possum meat for gravy and she's got a big string of dried onions and garlic for flavoring stuff.

Well, I gotta go. I just heard the third cork pop off that new batch of elderberry wine and that's when I add the gin. Grannys been grinnin like a cat eatin' tar ever since she heard that she gets to go on a road trip. She wants a cane like the Judge's. Write when you can.

Clem

PS: Do you have any old comic books for LeRoy to look at on the trip? He started partin' his hair down the middle like you.

 

#15 Letter from Home:

Assembly #2

Dear Randy,

Good news from the road. We started two days ago for the assembly in New York. The bus is doing good so far. Bubba says that was the new baling wire he used most places. We been in a little heat spell but we are hopeful that it will be cooler after we get out of Missouri. Bubba says that the shortest way is through Iowa. Maw hopes there will be corn ready when we get up there. She brought along her canning stuff so's at night we will can corn if it is. This is wonderful, traveling with all of us in the truth. Everything goes so smooth. Not like the other people traveling who ain't in the truth. We is experiencing unity. I just love all these truth people and this trip and this bus. I wish this trip could last forever.

The Conoco stations have the biggest restrooms, nice for sponge baths. Piggley Wiggley has the best prices on pork and beans. I sure hope Bubba can find a campground tonight. Those truck-stops are sure noisy. I still can't figure how we came up one bunk short. Neither can Bubba. He said he counted three times too. Well, usually we just leave Granny sitting where she sleeps during the day--her rockin' chair. Maw's fryin' chicken 'n grits with possum gravy and fresh dandelion greens for supper. We got a crate of chickens tied up on the top behind the spare tires and the suitcases. We taped a Watchdog magazine to every window and it sure works. Lots of people honk and hold up one finger to us showin' they think we's number one with them. Oops, I'll be right back. It's my turn to put in oil. We do it on the run, kind of, so it don't take so long.

Brother Rusty Fenders bought us all a treat at the last stop--beer. Sister Neew's been sitting with her legs crossed like a fiddle player with her head out the window. I've never seen a woman drink beer that fast. The beer seemed to kind of perk up Granny. She's been rolling cigarettes from the river bottom tobacco Maw picks. Takes her a while to make one what with all the bumps on this road and all. Lambert is so tall that he bangs his head on the top of the bus door every time he gets in or out. He quit grinnin' yesterday. Bubba's wearin' his New York Yankees base ball cap since we left home, even sleeps with it on.

Well, gotta go now. It's time to stop to try to place another book and it's sister Neew's turn. I'm gonna go along with Bubba and help hold her up. What a great trip! I'll write in a few days.

Clem

PS: What did you tell LeRoy about girls?

  

#16 Letter from Home:

Assembly #3

Dear Randy,

Six flat tires, and we's only been on the road two weeks. We only been in Kentucky 3 days and the oil barrel sprung a leak the first night, yesterday the dogs got to fighting and knocked Granny off the seat back, where she's taken a liking to sit, and now that stupid sister Neew started to cry again. The dumb bus smokes so bad that we got pulled over twice cause the cops thought it was on fire. Maw is just cooking and canning as we go--she started smokin' again. I wanted to stop and catch some fresh catfish but Bubba says "Oh no, we gotta get to the assembly in New York and set up in the campground". We ate up the last of the chickens Tuesday, now all we's got left is side meat, grits an beans. That dumb brother Fenders picks his nose when he thinks we aint lookin'. Maw seen him too. Sis even mentioned it. That Lambert is sure stupid for having studied the truth an all. Now he's sayin' that he thinks that when them gas station guys say "Hep yourself" that they don't mean it's free. He just don't trust anybody.

Its a good thing Newly came along. He can fix about anything. He sure does cuss a lot more on the road that he does at home. We all pretend that we don't notice cause we need his tools now an his pickup at home, furthermore, we is taught by the truth to overlook little differences. People sure throw a lot of good stuff away. The barrels by the road and behind the grocery stores are the best. Bubba's letting his beard grow out a little more than usual. He cut the sleeves off his tee shirt and has taken to wearing a sleeve around his head. Granny says he looks like one of them motorcycle guys who pass us all the time. Them straw ticks that Maw and Grammy made for mattresses are getting hard as a rock. We all drink an extra couple glasses of elderberry wine and that helps us sleep. Grannys taken to sitting up at night with the shotgun in her lap. The dogs have been restless so we tie them outside. I sure don't see why we brought them along.

Well I've gotta go. It's my turn to go talk to the stupid cop. This makes three times! These Kentucky cops must of never seen a motor home school bus before. I think all they want is a closer look. Oh my gosh! Sister Neew just tried to stand on her head on the bus seat again. It's a good thing she wore underpants this time. Hey, good news--they raise tobacco here--right by the side of the road. Bubba's talkin' about getin' a trailer on the way back home. I'll write when we get to New York.

Clem

PS: LeRoy saw a sign in the store that said "boneless round", he says that sounds like Bubba.

 

#17 Letter from Home:

Assembly #4

Dear Randy,

We did it. We are at New York. We got to the Watchdog campground late last night and got all set up. We set up the big tent for cooking and the smaller two for sleeping and the middle sized one as a kind of hospitality room for the friends. We left Granny in the bus with the dogs. She hasn't been able to hear a dad gum thing ever since the shotgun went off last week over in Virginia. Bubba did a good job of patching the hole in the roof too. Sis has been anxious to get to the assembly--eight days from nine till nine--she says she should get to see some of them Society farm boys. Says she's fixin' on marrying one. We got quite a shock--subways are underground. I bet that brother Richard Noze won't ride one. All the seats are green an wooden with a metal frame that flips back whenever you stand up. Maw missed it the first two times. The speakers are all men. Boy is it sunny and hot here. We brought along he songbooks to save seats only they was all gone the second day but LeRoy found lots more someplace--all had the wrong names in em though. We found out a way to get out of listening to the talks--volunteer. We all done it. Me an Maw are on cleanup in the kitchen so's we can get free meals an LeRoy an Sis are making sandwiches behind a bed sheet on a rope in the refreshment stand. Sister Neew and brother Fenders took off to sit by themselves and Lambert an Newly are hauling garbage an Bubba is an attendant. Bubba gets to wear a blue ribbon like they give to pigs at the fair at Rogers.

Granny wouldn't come along, says we need lye soap worse that she needs to hear anybody that ain't the Judge besides she can't hear anyhow. The campground is nice. They even got a toilet tent with showers and a barbershop. The volunteering was good for me and Maw since she even said how nice everybody was in the morning. Some of them fat people sure smell funny about supper time. I can't figure out where all the kids come from especially since the Judge says we shouldn't even get married in the first place. Must be all new ones. Rows of guys with canes all look like the evil salve is commin' or something. Granny wants one of them canes too.

It rained about four o'clock then some guy's hot dog stand burned down. Lots of people just stayed sitting. We found out that if you sit anywhere the sun don't shine, you can't hear a thing. Bubba has a problem with the attendant job he just says--they want him to count. I told him to just fake it like at home. We was last to leave.

Clem

PS: LeRoy got sick eating butter and olives.

 

#18 Letter from Home:

Assembly #5

Dear Randy,

This is the day of the big Baptism talk and ceremony with a trip to the ocean and everything for everybody who is getting Baptized only the family can't go cause there would be too many and there is a special talk here for them. We got a night cleaning volunteer job so we would be here early enough to save seats for everybody from home. For seat savin' we has two boxes of song books, one and a half boxes of Bibles, and one box of pink sweaters. We decided to save all the seats over on the bleachers cause in the shade we can't hear a word they's sayin'. It ain't too bad, the breeze comes up about six and the sun goes down about seven-thirty. We run into brother Fenders and he says that sister Neew stands in the punch line, stands in the hot dog line, and then the restroom line. She almost hasn't sat in her seat at all. Those women's restroom lines are long, very long. Maw says that's another good reason for us to sit on the bleachers.

We took off yesterday for a couple hours and went sight seeing. Saw central park, the zoo, and Times Square. We even went up to the flat spot on the Empire State building and looked down. It would have been better if it hadn't been raining so hard. Bubba wanted to go see the Society's factory buildings so we did and boy do they have a clean place, you could have eaten off the marble floors. Sis had her eye out for a Bethel boy to marry but when they saw her coming they all sort of...disappeared. We saw the Statue of Liberty and Music City Radio Hall--they sure do have a lot of lights. Here's how bad things are here--one guy came right up to us and asked us if we knew where the Staten Island fairy was. Bubba told em he saw a couple guys over on 5th St. that looked like they might know. These end times are hard to deal with.

We got a new book yesterday. I can't remember the name but it's green. We heard a talk by that brother Horr an he says the end is coming any day now so...don't send in those two mortgage payments I left with you. We'll go on a fishing trip instead. Maw says she'd give anything for a catfish an crawdad supper with turnip greens and mushroom gravy over grits an biscuits. Kinda sounds good to me too. This assembly food is good hot, but by the time it gets back to us it's got a scum, kind of, on it. Lambert got lost when we came over on the subway. When we all got on, sister Rank was last one on and Lambert just didn't have the stomach to give her the push for that last two inches he needed after what happened yesterday. He looks like a chicken when he runs--kinda funny. We leave for home day after tomorrow.

Clem

PS: LeRoy is pretending he don't speak English like lots of folk here are doing.

 

#19 Letter from Home:

Assembly #6

Orange Blossoms and the Monkey Moon

Dear Randy,

We are almost back home. Boy am I glad! First the dogs, then the heat in Florida, now that stupid monkey is screeching back and forth hanging on the curtains. Bubba really messed up by letting that Rusty Fenders drive that first night. Then Fenders let sister Neew drive after midnight and then Lambert….when we woke up we could smell orange blossoms. Nobody would admit that we was on the wrong road cause then somebody would have had to been to blame, so we kept going south three more days. Bubba finally went into this establishment to ask directions and when he come back out six hours later he's got a monkey with him on a yellow rope. First thing he done is bite Granny's left ear….the monkey anyways.…not Bubba. Maw asked Bubba why in the world he got a monkey an he said, "he's cute." Bubba said he won it arm wrestling with a guy the size of a grizzly. He says he's still surprised he beat that guy. Anyway now we's got a monkey too and he's real mean and he stinks. Granny's under her patch quilt and won't come out.

Sister Neew is reading every new book we got at the assembly and she won't stop. She reads then she tells us what she thinks it means then she looks up stuff in her Bible then she asked every one of us how we see it. We all wish she would shut up, but at least she ain't moonin' the truckers that pass us any more. I guess that's good. I'm beginning to see why there ain't too many in the truth…not too many willing to walk the straight and narrow. Newly just lost another tooth. Said it just fell out like the other front ones did at home. Now he can't whistle for the dogs at all. He says he'll train them to come to a clap.

Assembly was interesting…long though. Sis is disappointed. She thought she would have a boyfriend up at the truth farms. Them Society fellers was too smart for her though. We all told her not to wear those clod hoppers. That brother Rusty Fenders found a gold mine in New York…..used polyester leisure suits…cheap. He got ten of them. Most have bell bottom pants too. He is changing twice a day and sits there with a big grin. He will probably get to be circuit servant again since he got the right suits now. I kind of liked it better when he was a circuit servant…then we only had to see him once every six or seven weeks. Whenever he walks by sister Neew he gives her a static shock. Lambert's had the hick-ups since Thursday. I'll close this for now. I can tell by the roads that we are getting close to home.

Clem

PS: LeRoy wants to know if he can name the monkey after you.


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