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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Brazil Buzz

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Here I am on this beautiful sunshiny Sunday sitting in front of this computer again. I could be outside on the rider chewing off the tall green grasses like crazy, but you come first today.

This aging woods woman has been very busy. I know the mushrooms are starting to pop-up. I have been too pooped to start the search. However, several will surface beneath the giant locust in my backyard and down the path that leads to the woods and I know a popping place, a special mushroom spot that my feet have known for sometime.

Paul and I enjoy several of the edible delicacies every hunting season.

This year I plan to gather some wild greens from my semi-retired pasture.

Maybe, after that I will purchase another gaggle of geese. The geese help keep the vegetation at a manageable level, almost, as efficiently as a piece of mowing equipment does.

Wild onions add a pungent smell to their salad bowl. There is mint if the mated pairs end up with gross goose breath.

After we install new fencing, a Herford might be living in that space as well.

Dad trained many beagles in the enclosure. Many years he planted enough field corn to satisfy his winter stores and feed his livestock and wildlife.

When he decided to retire the field as it were, he housed a little bit of everything on the acreage, including ducks, geese and turkeys.

I was a fence-mending associate from time to time. He raised Cain in there too!

When we acquired the homestead property, over time I brought in a cantankerous llama named Tony, a horse, ducks, geese, pygmy goats, a white goat named Baby and 11 cows that grazed the space and licked the green platter clean.

I am a recovering animal hoarder/herder, lover!

Yes, I am a chip off the old block, when it comes to raising things and Cain.

I look, across the way, just beyond the flagpole and ahead beyond the giant oak on the corner, at what once was and envision the possibilities. It just gets better!

The sky is blue, the sun is shining and I am smiling!

While I am thinking about things that make me smile, this writer must mention a very nice sizable picture featured on the Looking Back page of the Weekender last Friday.

There right before my eyes was a little fellow standing beside Smiley Burnette.

He lived, not far from me on East Hendrix Street, in the day. I knew him well. He was a friend of my forever friend, the late Annetta Lee Young and I.

I will never forget the day in 1949 that Smiley came to town. We saw him at the theater. I had never viewed a western movie or seen a real actor, in the flesh before, neither had she.

My brother talked of Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger, and of a person on the radio by the name of Red Ryder; the Rogers brothers up the street were the cowboys that I admired most.

We were standing not far behind Loren (Corky) Hoopingarner when he received the award for gun shooting.

The little man was so excited. We were too! Cork was a remarkable kid -- a corker and we like him, no doubt about it.

Who was the person in the black floppy hat and the oversized jacket that charmed the children and made the adults belly laugh, applaud and appreciate his presence?

Well folks he was Lester A. Burnette. He added the "e" to his last name later in life.

As a child, the boy read Mark Twain's "The Celebrated Frog" of Calaveras County." Mr. Burnette adopting the surname of a character named Jim Smiley.

Since he wore a generous smile, the name seems befitting to others and me among his followers.

Young Lester learned to play several instruments during his childhood and his talent as a comic was God given.

Paul said that his unique and throaty voice happened because of a childhood injury that involved a stick.

His first film was with Gene Autry and featured Ken Maynard. Smiley became Frog Millhouse and handled it, ably.

His work spanned four decades, beginning in 1933. He was originally hired him to play the accordion, but it is a known fact that he gave much more of his enormous talent.

His movie horse provided a white eye with a black ringed left eye. I am not quite sure if I saw Black Eyed Nellie, Ring Eyed Nellie or a horse that he called simply, Ring Eye.

Smiley worked with Roy Rogers, Bob Livingston and others.

Later, Smiley Burnette became Charley Pratt on Petticoat Junction. The show aired on CBS-TV in the 60's.

My girls and I loved the series and its cast members.

The multi-talented man wrote more than 400 songs. Many of his songs were sung on screen and recorded by top recording artists.

In addition, of those music instruments that he mastered, none could compare to the Jassass-a-phone. He made it happen, beautifully.

I do not know what became of our little friend Corky, but I do know that Lester, Smiley Burnett, with an "e" died, Feb. 16, 1967, at the age of 55.

Lester's works did not receive the attention and accolades that he so richly deserved, but like Andy Devine, Ken Maynard and Will Geer; Smiley earned a special spot in movie and TV history that will live on.

Thanks to the late Stanley Cooper, the children of Brazil, Ind., were able to share, if only for a little while, a piece of Mr. Burnette's wondrously fulfilled life and career.

A special thanks to the person(s) who provided the picture for our viewing pleasure.

I could almost smell the cheaper than cheap delicious popcorn and taste the malt o' milk balls that I consumed that day.

Before I wrap this up, I want to mention the folks in the office of the Treasurer of Clay County.

Last Thursday, Paul Baby and I visited the courthouse and the aforementioned office to honor our yearly property tax obligation. The woman that has waited on us more than once was super nice.

All the employees are always hard at work, fully focused on the tasks, friendly and well trained to serve the public.

I always enjoy my visits there and my husband does too. I conducted business at several offices over the years and served on a jury in Judge Stelle's court once.

We can be proud of our beautiful well-maintained building and the people that work there. They breathe life into the landmark, for us.

I can be reached by phone at 446-4852 or by email at pmlsartor@aol.com.