Gramps grumbles tall tales, poor puns about farm life

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“Gramps, tell me one of your made-up stories of growing up on the farm.”

The old man embedded in the easy chair yawned. “My yarns are true, every last one.”

The kid clambered into the old man’s lap. “Did you have sheep on your farm?”

“We had bunches of sheep. A wool lot of sheep.”

“How many’s that, Grandpa?”

“I never did find out,” the old man said. “Every time I started to count them, I feel asleep.”


“You know, counting sheep? Falling asleep? Baa-baa? Oh, never mind.”

The kid studied the old man and shrugged. “What crops did you raise?”

“Mashed potatoes.”

The kid giggled. “You can’t grow potatoes already smashed.”

“Sure you can. Pappy plowed the fields with a steamroller.”

“No, sir.”

“Who’s telling the story?” The old man grunted. “Besides, it was a secret. We kept lots of secrets on the farm because we couldn’t say too much.”

“Why not?”

“The taters had eyes, the corn had ears and the beans were always stalking up behind you.”

The kid’s eyes widened. “You grew spies in the vegetable garden?”

“Worse. My mom planted black-eyed Susans and lamb’s ears in the flower bed.”

“What did you do when you didn’t want them to hear you?”

The old man shrugged. “I just honked a cow’s horn really loudly.”

“You’re being silly.”

“You weren’t there.”

The kid sighed. “Did you have milking machines on your farm?”

The old man shook his head. “Didn’t need ’em. I’ve got two hands. I milked ’em myself.”

“Wasn’t that a lot of work?”

“Well, it could get interesting.” The old man settled into the chair cushions. “I remember once I had my stool pulled up to the cow, had the bucket clamped between my knees, and I was almost done milking when this big ol’ horsefly buzzed around my head. I swished and swatted until the ornery thing flew away from me and set off to bother the cow.”

“Did she smack it with her tail?”

“The fly knew better than to get in range of that whip. Nope, it dove right down into the cow’s ear.”

The kid rubbed his own ear. “What happened?”

“Nothing much, right away. The cow went back to chomping hay and I went back to milking. A dozen or so pulls later, that horsefly plopped right into the milk bucket.”

“How’d that happen?”

The old man rubbed his chin. “The way I figure it, that fly went in one ear and out the udder.”

The kid sat up, dug his fists into his hips and glared at his grandfather. “You made that up. And it’s not funny.”

“Oh, I dunno. When I told it to the cow, she laughed so hard, milk squirted out her nose.”

“Grandpa!” The kid dropped off the old man’s lap and stomped from the room. “I’m going to go talk to Grandma. She makes sense when she talks.”

The old man crossed his arms across his belly and chuckled. “And that’s why she’s always pestered by varmints and can’t get anything done. Now where was I? Oh, yeah…” The old man smiled and drifted back to sleep.

— Wake Cole for more tall tales at or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.