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The Stray Lake Signal-Gazette
"We print all the news that's fit for Stray Lake to know."
Horace Gumblat, editor emeritus
Beautiful Stray Lake

Soggy Piles of Leaves Festival
will kick off fall in Stray County

Wilma Whipstittle
Staff Writer/Photographer
Even a particularly dry summer could not dampen enthusiasm for the annual Soggy Piles of Leaves Festival as Civic Club organizers rolled out plans for the event last week at the Tipple Time.

"Hell, we'll have the fire department hose the leaves down if it doesn't rain," promised club president Bethelina Tutter. "It just wouldn't be fall in Stray Lake without piles of soggy leaves rotting everywhere you look."

Fire chief Randy Mossbreath pledged his department's cooperation after the civic club stood him a few rounds, but did caution that the town council had set strict guidelines for watering lawns.

"I don't know if we'll be allowed to water just the leaves," Randy allowed.

"That dictatorial usurpation of authority is about grass, not dead leaves," asserted Bethelina. "Besides, if the leaves aren't wet the kids involved in the Roman candle fight will probably torch the whole place."

"Maybe you could just use those light sabre gizmos this yea ..." began Randy.

"Tradition!" bellowed Bethelina.

"Oh God, she's going to do the entire score of Fiddler on the Roof if we don't stop her," said waitress Dorothea Deluney. "Bethelina! Is the sack race still on?"

Bethelina's face took on an almost beatific look and she said, "Oh my, what would we do without the sack race? Remember last year when Leroy ran into the dumpster?"

"No, I don't," said Alternating Mayor Leroy Wertzbrimmer. "But what do you expect when people run around with sacks over their heads?"

"Business," said Doc Pandemic as he strolled in on a break from his rounds at Maid of Mercy Recuperation Clinic. "I've already hired extra staff and rented an ice making machine."

"And then there is the sewage lagoon jump," said Bethelina.

"I've also stocked lots of dish soap and skin softener for those folks," said Doc.

Chef Juan de Fuca stuck his head from the kitchen door and said, "And I'm going to have the fried buzzard stand again."

"Got to remember to rent some more stomach pumps," said Doc.

"Are the Stray Lake U Marching Scum Beasts going to lead the parade again?" asked Lou the bartender.

"Yes, but we're going to put them on a hay wagon this year," said Bethelina. "They were so hung over last year they took a wrong turn at Mulberry Street and the whole parade was halfway to Brakethwait Corners before we got them turned around."

"I thought Legible Thomas was leading the parade in his sheriff's car," said Lou.

"He started to, but Carmella Casey thought the town Marshall should have that honor so she arrested Lej. He counterarrested her, and by the time the band got there the two of them were wrestling on the courthouse lawn."

"I wondered why I didn't see them for the rest of weekend," said Lou.

"Well we've made sure they aren't going to do a repeat performance," said Bethelina. "This year, the Stray County Unregulated Volunteer Militia Cavalry will lead the parade."

"I may not be a horse doctor," said Doc, "but have you really thought that through?"

"Are you questioning the ability of my cavalry?" said militia commandant Droling Mudbinder, Lt. Gen. (Ret.).

"Nope, just the horses," said Doc. "And it's an ability that's not really in question."

"Doc," said Lou, "they ride mops with little reigns and saddles attached."

"Oh yeah," said Doc. "I remember now, treating all those splinters after the reenactment of the Charge of the Light Brigade."

"Cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them ..." began the general.

"Tradition!" belted out Bethelina.

"Which reminds me," said Doc, "I've got to get more splints. I suppose those grandstands the Hammer Slammers Handyman Club is erecting are going to collapse again."

"Tradition!" sang Dorothea.

"My head already hurts," said Leroy.

"That's because you passed out and thunked it on the bar a couple of seconds ago," said Doc.

"I'd like a second opinion," said Leroy.

"Okay, you'll do it again before the night is over," said Doc. "Forgive me, Rodney, I couldn't resist."

Stray Lake

The Stray County Water Rescuing and Ski Club is asking for non-swimming, non-skiing volunteers for its fall ski show and rescue demonstration.

Helen Compton Memorial Cat Shelter has been mailing cats to county residents for about two weeks in an effort to reduce the shelter's overcrowding. "We figure we'll eventually get most of those mailed cats back," said an anonymous spokesperson. "But the initial mailing freed up a lot of space, and we figure if we keep mailing cats then part of our population will always be in some sort of transit. Besides, it gives the kitties a new environment for at least a few days."

County Agricultural Agent Elliot Dorntwist urges people to be alert for farm equipment on local roads, as the harvest season is upon us. "Our farmers take less care of their machinery than any I've ever seen," explained Elliot. "You never know when you're going to slide around a turn and come upon a broken-down harvester or tractor. So just be prepared to wait until the thing is towed away or repaired. Might be a good idea to stock a cooler before you drive, at least until late November."

"It's okay, the reindeer are driving"

It's okay, the reindeer are driving
Holiday humor and more: Santa is stuck in the chimney, hitting the rum cookies, or jumping from an airplane. Bobby Lee parties, claim jumpers can't shoot straight, and two rats own a cheese factory. These short reads are guaranteed to give you a belly laugh, for $0.99 (that's ninety-nine cents for the numerically challenged).

It's okay, the reindeer are driving

"At Love's Crest"

At Love's Crest
A romance of intrigue and spice, set against the backdrop of a threatening flood. Can Allyson trust the man she has fallen in love with so suddenly? Is he part of the danger that threatens her, or the one who can save her from it? The waters rise and Allyson must decide, as her wild desires beat against the walls she has built around her once-shattered heart. This sort of thing will run you a little more, $2.99 to be factual about it; but then it's a lot longer.

At Love's Crest

Coming Events

Old Fort Loomisville Museum and Slot Machine Parlor will open its newest exhibit, "Balls of Twine Collected by People With Nothing Else to Do," next Saturday. Several hundred balls of twine will be featured with informative details about each displayed on more-or-less readable signs. Some of the twine collectors will be in the museum from time to time to talk about their work, and the late Maude Fletcher, who collected over three miles of twine in her life, has been stuffed and will also be on display next to some of her work. There will be an opening reception with free beer beginning at 7:00 p.m. and ending when the keg sputters dry.

It's always time at the Tipple Time

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Copyright 1996 - 2014, Robert A. Markwalter

Any resemblance to any person or persons in this material should give same strong impetus to seek medical help and, coincidentally,
is coincidental, unintended, accidental, and all those other disclaimers people make when they shove knives into your back.