Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Life imitating Buford! Buford dethroned!

So today the very lovely and I'm assuming talented Miss California Carrie Prejean will learn her fate from Mr. Donald Trump whether or now she will be allowed to keep her crown and the illustrious title of Miss California and all of the duties associated with the title. Those being grocery store openin's and at least two singings of the national anthem one at a major sporting event such as Nascar Talladega and the other usually at the crown's former high school homecoming basketball game. The rest of the reign is usually spent persuing the cause, Ms. Prejean's being world peace. We'll see how far she gets with that in a year.

Well Ol' Bufords worn the pants and traveled the road Ms. Carrie is currently piloting on. You may find this hard to believe nowadays but back in 1976 I was in my wildcattin' days and Ol' Buford was considered a bit of a catch at least by Ol' Buford. The town I was living in, Allison was celebrating its Quasquicentennial of 125 years as a burg and the 700 residents of Allison were ready for a shindig! Included in the celebratation was a beard growing contest. Now by default, I grow more hair from every pore on my body than most men do trying with all of their might but to make it a fair contest I turned down the testosterone and participated fairly.

The contest was over a 3 month period to climax with the official judging at the Hog Roast on Friday night right after Billy Sinclair and the Sidesteppers finished up their second set. Life went on per usual over the 3 months and the big day finally arrived. They lined us 15 bearded gents up on the stage and had Ms. Allison 1976 Helen Debnerski accompany the other 3 judges.

One of those judges Harley Wilmot and myself never did see quite eye to eye and I thought that may have put me at a disadvantage. Ol Harley ran the insurance company, the grain elevator and owned the newspaper the Wilmot Reader. To say he was the town BIG shot is an understatement. Nothing happened in Allison without the stamp of approval from Harley Wilmot. Today in Allison you'll see the Wilmot Hotel, the Wilmot Community Center. Folks fish at Wilmot Park. Eat their dinners at Wilmot Steak and Shake and can live in the Wilmot retirement village. So Harley was one of the judges along with Miss Allison and two other fellas I cannot remember.

The judging gets underway and they are looking for the usual criteria of all good beard contests, length, fullness and overall appeal. When the final selections were done and all of the votes had been cast, Harley accompanied by Ms. Helen, stops in front of Buford and proclaims to the crowd. "Ladies and Gentlemen, your Allison Iowa Quasquicentennial Bearded Ammbassador for 1976 is Mr. Buford M. Pickleberry. I step forward, shake hands with Harley and get a nice kiss from Miss Allison. I thank the crowd, I tell them it is truly an honor and I will will do my very best to represent the city of Allison by proceeding with all of my duties with Honor and Integrity and I promise to mow my lawn more than once a month.

I invited everyone to join me in the Amvet's beer tent where everyone could feel free to honor me by buying me several beers. We made our way over the tent. Miss Allison telling me she'd be honored to join me in the first round and maybe a second. Miss Allison was a delightful young lady of 29 and freshly divorced. In a small town of 700 people of course every single activity of the singles in town is closely monitored and then scrutinized over several coffees the next day at the cafe. The rumors were swirling just exactly how Ms. Debnerski had "earned" the Miss Allison crown but that is another story. I found her to be delightful.

The festivities of the evening included a lot of dancing, drinking, eating hog and may or may not have ended up with some skinny dipping at the pond before a final round in the Pickleberry garage, or as I called it back then Pickleberry after-party Port.

The weekend continued with Ol' Buford performing my duties as the official Bearded Ambassador. I had the first turn of the spatula at the Boy Scouts Pancake feed. I dropped the green flag at the bed races down main street. Saturday night I sang the opening number at the street dance. The party again continued well into Sunday morning at the Pickleberry after-party Port with several of Allison's "outlaws and inlaws"

Sunday morning I was a tired ammbassador and carrying a wee-bit of a headache. Well knowing the best cure for the Sunday morning headache and knowing my last official duty was to deliver the opening prayer for the citywide non denominational church service at 10:00 I decided I better get Ol' Buford's head straight. I delivered a stirring prayer the left the men sobbing and the widows giddy as they say. The Allison Quasquicentennial celebration wound down with the annual firemen's waterball fight and hog roast and at 5:00 Sunday afternoon we wrapped up 125 years of pent up celebration with a free watermelon feed at the courthouse square. Of course there were a few hardy souls and soulettes that wrapped up a little later with one more evening at the Pickleberry after-party Port.

I woke up Monday morning and went outside breathed in the air still loaded with smoked pork and at my feet was the Monday morning Wilmot Reader. There lying open for the world to see was a 3 inch all caps headline reading "AMBASSADOR DISASTER" Pickleberry should be punted!"

Of course I became flabbergasted. What in the world could this mean? What was the disaster I had inflicted upon the city? I immediately brought the paper in the house. Put it on the stand next to my reading chair. I cooked up a batch of eggs and some of that left over BBQ pork and had a glass of orange juice. I went to do my morning constitutional, took a shower, drove down to Earl's to get my tires rotated, picked up some corn syrup at the B&B mart and stopped in and got the mail at the post office. When I got home I went straight to the paper. I opened it up and there splashed on page one was a picture Rev. Monstedt and Father Stevens at the non-demoninational prayer service and way in the background getting ready to deliver the opening prayer was one Buford M. Pickleberry taking a nip out of what plainly could be seen as a pocket flask. At a church service! Even if it was outdoors at the city park it still was a church service!!!

That photo also was accompanied by a rather lengthy articler personally written by Ol Harley Wilmot himself detailing out the entire "Pickleberry weekend" It included everything from the after-party lawn dart incident, to the community skinny dip, to even a chronicle of an alleged late night visit by Miss Allison to the Pickleberry homestead that were NOT part of her official duties. Apparently there was a spy in the midst!

Well the tongues were waggin, the cafe was crowded and the Ambassador Disaster was the talk of the city. At 12 Noon in his usual ceremonious fashion Harley Wilmot rolls his Ford truck into Ol' Buford's drive, walks up to my door with a smirk on his face and says. Pickleberry you are undeserving of the Bearded Ammbassador and I demand the button back. I informed him he could have the title back. That I had somewhere along the line lost the button when the little pin broke and that realistically beyond yesterday I guess I was unsure that there were any additional future duties anyway? He left feeling vindicated, I left feeling some gas pains from the cinnamon roll at the cafe and in my opinion the town was left with a little less freedom. It was only years later did I come to find out that the lovely Miss Allison 1976 Helen Debnerski was actually a result of an "every Thursday afternoon tryst" of Ol Harley Wilmot and Mrs. Sallie Faithas who, along with her husband, ran the implement dealership in town. Ms. Debnerski's frequent visits to Buford were more than Harley could take. Thus, the humilitation and character assasination attempt on Ol Buford.

Well, my advice to Ms. Carrie Prejean is hold on for the ride. I think you'll be surprised at the opportunities that all of the publicity will be bringing you. I know it will open a lot of doors for you. Let me say that the "publicity" Mr. Wilmot provided to Ol' Buford back in 1976 led to more open doors than I could handle. I had no idea that town had so much "pent up energy" but the publicity sure expanded Buford's social life!

Good luck kid! I'm sure it will end up great for you. Gotta go. Someone's knockin on my door!


  1. Sounds to me you did a find job, assuming of course the ambassador's duties included "livening up" the town!

  2. what a great story! you remind me of Lewis Grizzard and Jerry Clower... too funny!

  3. Great stuff. You sound like bloggingpoet or is it he sounds a lot like you. Hell you might be kin both being writers and such but that's not like west virginia kin...is it?