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Tater's PA System
by Fred N. Lee
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Tater's PA System

My friend Tater was fascinated with country music. He considered himself as good a singer as Hank Williams or Ernest Tubb. Most folks that heard him sing said he wasn't far from being right, considering that either Hank or Ernest couldn't carry a tune in a bushel basket.

Taters main goal in life was to own one of those new PA systems that the country singers used to amplify their voices. By working around the small garage that Cletus Jones owned, cutting grass for the local widder women, and selling Grit papers, Tater finally earned enough money to send off to Sears and Roebuck to get one. He already had a Gene Autry guitar and had learned three cords, more than enough to sing most country songs back in the late 40's and early 50's.

Tater set the system up at the garage to entertain the local farmers as they sat around the potbelly stove during cold weather. This was the gathering place for most of the locals and was also the stop over for the local greyhound bus between Poplarville and Kiln. The bus usually took a 10-minute rest stop before either going on to Kiln or to Poplarville, whichever the case may be.

Cletus had built a two-hole outhouse out back of the garage and near the south side of his vegetable garden. A path led from the garage to the outhouse. This outhouse was used by both men and women and of necessity not at the same time. When a person went into the outhouse they would hang a hand painted sign on the outside that said "facility in use". Cletus said the sign gave the outhouse a sense of class. This was the rest facility that the people who rode the bus used, and also the one that the people at the garage used.

One rainy, cold, and dreary day, we were sitting around the garage doing nothing in particular, which was usually what we did most of the time, when Tater came up with this brilliant idea. Tater was always coming up with neat ideas, never thinking of the consequences or the fall out from the idea. He said, "Why don't we string a wire from in here and mount a speaker underneath the seats in the outhouse. When someone goes in to use the facilities, I'll say something funny and it will sound like someone is underneath the seat. I bet the bus passengers will get a kick out of that".

No sooner had we strung the wire out and had it hooked up when the bus drove up. An rather robust lady, with tight black leotards on over what we called long johns or union suits, came in and asked where the ladies facilities were located. The leotards came down to about half way of the calves of her legs but the long johns went all the way to her ankles. Tater pointed in the direction of the outhouse and the woman sort of pranced in that direction, obviously needing to use the facility real bad. We waited until we figured she had settled in real good when Tater took the microphone in his hand and a gleam came in his eye. "Lady, would you move over one hole, I'm trying to kill black widder spiders down here".

What happened next is a matter of conjecture and opinion. Anyway, there was a blood-curdling scream, the door came off its hinges as the lady came tumbling out the opening with her leotards down around her ankles. Luckily for us she somehow managed to button the union suit flap on the backside, otherwise it would have probably made two early teenage boys such as Tater and myself go blind. She managed to get up but tripped and fell, and in the effort to get the leotards back up she rolled around in the field and mashed down about a quarter acre of Cletus's Mustard greens.

After the lady calmed down, got cleaned up, and left in a huff threatening to sue, everyone had a real good laugh, including Tater. Some of us were in varying postures on the floor, trying to catch our breath from laughing so hard when Tater's dad drove up in his old, red Willis pickup truck. When he inquired about the matter, I felt it my duty to tell him what Tater had done. His dad didn't see the humor in it right off. He asked where the woodshed was located and Cletus pointed in its direction. I probably wouldn't be tone deft to high squealing sounds now if I had thought to cuff my hands over my ears. Tater had to stand the rest of the day, his rear end still burning from the trip to the woodshed.

The next day I walked by the garage and the PA system, guitar, and all the wires were in the garbage dump.

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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Thomas Kittrell 29 May 2006
Are you kin to Jerry Clower?


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