“That was close,” HM swears, as the Weener guns the BuckTruck all the way up to a chug.We pull away from Honest John’s expansive backyard, “Almost got caught by Real Work.”
“Where to next?” I enquire.
“Back across the River!” the WeenerMan states decisively, “To the Water-Bridge!”
“Yeah, I left some crates to unload back the Elevator,” I remark.
“More Work?” the WeenerMan is caught unawares, “To the Droll-Bridge!” He exclaims decisively.
We race to the drollbridge. The BuckTruck really isn’t any faster than the RodneyMobile except the fenders don’t go flying off during acceleration.
“Do we even have time?” I ask.
“What’s the risk?” HM WeenjerMan asks, “We listen to one of
Drollinger’s stories, Laugh at a couple of his worn-out jokes, and we’re accros the River,” HM answers, “It’s a cinch, what could go Wrong?”
We bump along, as we approach the Droll-Bridge, the Weener-Man spots a gathering of folks off in the Drollinger’s front yard, right along the banks of the Too-Much Creek, “What the Oscar Myer??” is his only reaction.
Grampa Drollinger almost steps into the middle of the road to wave us down.
“The Master of Ceremonies is Here!” he announces.
Then I can make out some of the people in the Gathering, “What’s the Tribe doing here?”
“So,” the Weenerman inquires.
“The Guest of honor,” we recognize the stentorian voice of Chief Greene.
“Chief Greene,” I greet him, “What got you off your John Deere long enough to come here?”
“Do you remember, today we honor the Ancestors, the Day of the Mound-Building,” Chief Greene answers to us.
Mound-Builders? I ask, didn’t know that your tribe were descended from them? They like disappeared a couple of centuries before your time.”
“Tribes migrate, to the SouthEast, meet other Tribes,” Chief Greene explains.
“And?” I can’t help but to ask.
“What Tribes of Nations were your ancestors,” a calm,even question comes from Chief-tress Woman-Greene.
“I scratch my head, “Some German, Irish, Polish” I reply.
The Chief speaks to his Wife, “You were right.”
“Some things are apparent,” the Chief-tress Woman-Greene smiles calmly.
I shrug, “And there are even stories about a couple of my ancestors being from the Tribes.”
“Can this be documented?” Chief-tress Woman-Greene quiries.
“Not exactly I reckon,” I reckon, “the marraiges were to have occurred just before they started keeping records.”
“Sometime prior to the Incorporation of your Clover County,” the Cheiftress recalls her legal studies.
“There are some tribal legends of the Summer of the Giddy-Moon,” Cheif Greene recalls.
“But without written records, they are only Unofficial Legends,” Cheiftress Woman-Greene reminds him.
“This news is a relief,” Chief Greene nods positively.
There is a possiblility that our forebearers had an unusual sense of humor,” Cheiftress Woman-Greene agrees. She hands me a green five gallon-pail.
“Now Whant’s this for?” I stammer.
“To honor the forebearers of the Tribe,” Grampa Drollinger translates.
“Wha-?” I manage.
“Do It Yourself Mound-Builder Mound,” Grampa Drollinger explains more.
Thee Mound in question was begun prior to the title deed,” Cheiftresse Greene points out.
“Our Tribe retains a residual interest to complete the Indian Mound Cheif Greene “goes on, “so every year to honor the forebearers, we go to work on the Mound.”
“Mr Drollinger, you do have a backhoe,” I pointout.
“We try to do so in the way of the ancestors,” Cheiftresse Greene explains.
“And deerhide bags are scarce, so I supply these,” Grampa Drollinger thumps the bottom of a five-gallon bucket.
Doesn’t look to me that a whole lot of dirt is being moved, I say skeptically.
“Oh that,” Cheif Greene smiles broadly, Mainly this Gathering provides the Tribe to have a day of Feast, Game, and ReUnion.”
“Like a Big Family reunion,” Grampa Drollinger chuckles.
“Tribal in Nature,” Cheiftreese Greene corrects him.
This Tribal Talk is all so good, but doesn’t move a feat of clay,” Chief Greene reminds us of the task at hand.
Everyone looks at me.
I accept the green five gallon pail.
Grampa Drollinger remembers something, “Whnat about the
WeenerMan, “Why I remember when he had the neighborhood kids digging a hole to the middle of the earth.”
“We sure did catch the devil,” I reply with a flinch.
“The guest of honor , performing labor at the Feast-time?” Cheiftress Greene asks.
Mostly, He would stand around, scoop a few shovels of earth, and give orders,” Chief Greene points out.
“Sounds like Honest John,” I scratch my head.
“He can’t,” Grampa Drollinger points out, “He’s mowin’ my lawn this afternoon.”
“But is he American-Tribal?” Cheiftress Greene brings up.
“Well, they did find him swinging thru the trees on the Yucatan Peninsula,” Grampa Drollinger recollects, “Living with a pack of Wild Howler Monkeys.”
“The Mayan come form the Yucatan, that should work,” Chief Greene recounts.
I slap the side of my head, “The real storey was that every time the skool took a field trip to the State Zoo, the Weener would always slip away and that we’d find him at the Monkey Island grunting at all the Howler Monkeys.”
“The Storey I have is that he got lost the time he hitched a train,” Grampa Drollinger recounts, “Nobody noticed much him missing for a couple months. Scout, Ernie, and Honest John had to hitch a ride on a trip down with the Mennonites to go own there and find him. In turn, Scout here got the ‘Rescue Party’ lost for a couple days,”
“Suddenly Mr.Drollinger’s version of events take on a sudden validity,” Cheiftresse Greene nods.
“They found him at last,” Grampa Drollinger emphasizes, “In the Jungle, swinging thru the trees!”
“Honest John been known to exasgerate matters,” I point out.
Just then w single limb from the willow tree descends to just over the picnic table. The arm of the Weenerman reaches out and picks out a chicken quarter and a piece of cherry pie. and just as automatically, the limb disappears back up into the tree canopy.
“Summon the Guest of Honor,” Cheiftresse Greene announces.
Grampa Drollinger holds two fingwerrs to his mouth and whistles.
A bough of branches on the willow bow down and out steps HM WeeenerMan, just finishing off a drum-stick.
“Good-Barbecue,” HM WeenerMan remarks.
Chief Greene nudges Grampa Drollinger.
Grampa Drollinger gives two sharp trwo-finger whistles.
Most of the Tribe leaves the picnic tables. and come over quickly to the formative Indian Mound.
“This had better be for the good,” one Tribal member asserts, “You interrupte the horticulture session just as it was getting to the important stuff.”
“Wha-?” I start.
“Our heritage and ancestry,” Cheiftresse Greene explains, and your archaeology she shrugs with a mysterious smile, “The building of mounds was a time of worship, feasting, and celebration,” The cheiftresse smiles wryly, “It was also a time for an exchange of ideas and education.”
Education? I ask, and You got the Weener?
“He graduated with a Certificate,” Cheiftresse Greene assures me.
“And now for the Honrored Guest Ceremony, Chief Greene announces, and hands the Weenerman the shovel.
“This is for?” the Weener takes the shovel , tosses the drumshtick to a nearby cat.
You are the Honored Guest, the Master of Ceremonies, the emcee,” Grampa Drollinger answers,.
The Weenerman is still mystified.
“The ring-Leader,” Cheiftresse Greene translates.
“The RingLeader, Really?” the WeenerMan inspects the shovel, “I’m thinking I’ll really like this job.”
“What about me?” I slip in.
You get the Honor of working on the Ceremonial Mound,” Chief Greene recites.
“Sounds like flunky work to me,” I object.
“Then You stand corrected,” Cheiftresse Greene replies mysteriously, hands me the pail.
“Donn’t Worry You’ll get help-Cousin,”I look over to see a few of the Young Bucks grinning away.
“I scratch my head, I am not sdure if two references made before they kept any official records really make us cousins,” I try and explain.
The cousin who introduces himself as John Greene gives a counter-explanation, “When there is clay to be carried, anybody is a potential-Cousin.”
“He may good at this clay-carrying,” a Younger Buck chips in, “He might be from the pail-faced side of the Family.”
John gives the Younger buck a quick dutch-rub, “Don’t mind Charley, he seems to have a knack for corny humor,” John Greene shrugs, He still cracks up over the Outhouses with the cut-your-Own Hole in the Seat story.”
Thw Weenerman jumpw into action. He leaps upon the mound of clayand starts to give directions. John and Charley are designated as shovlers, the Cousins and I get stuck casrrying the 5-gallon pails over to be dumped wherever the Weener points grunts, and directs.
One of the Cousins growls at the Weener as he gets his pail filled, By the Way, who put you in charge?”
“I’m the Shop-forehead!” the Weener exclaims as he pulls the hair up off his brow.
Sure enough, he has the biggest forehead of any of us.
“Tribal-Legends tell of Great-Confusion,” John Greene confides to John Greene.
“Them Mound-Builders shore got that right,” Grampa Drollinger agrees.
Chief Greene is correct, under the Weenerman has me and the Cousinsall runinning to random points on the compass, scampering back for refills, and running into each other all in one well-choreographed exercise.
HM Weenerman meanwhile is having a blast pointing, shouting, directing, persuading, engineering, “I call it BluePrints in the saddle!” He announces.
“Mr Weenerman sould have kept his blueprints up between his ears.” Cheiftresse Greene observes.
After many more trips and exhortations to work cheaper and faster, Chief Greene looks up to the sun, checks his watch, and then nudges Cheiftresse Greene. She holds two fingers to her mouth and gives a Quadruple-whistle.
All the working Cousins gladly drop their pails and rapidly gather in front of the large reciprocating fans the Aunts and Uncles have run out from Drollinger’s main shed on extension cords.
From his perch in the Willow Tree, HN Weenerman shouts out, “Hey! Where’s everybody going? The Job has just started!”
Charley Greene looks back over his shoulder, “We figure our ancestors were at this 1500 years before this, so what’s the rush?”
The Weenerman slides down off the clay pile and joins us in front of the fans. Charley offers him a glass of ice-water.
“What is this stuff?” the Weenerman asks, “If it isn’t green, it might not be safe!”
Even Charley groans at that remark as someone finds the Weener a bottle of murky green pop.
I wipe my brow and ask John Greene, by the way, do you have any idea what they called this mound?”
John Greene smiles, “We believe they were going to call it Fish Mound. Perhaps because the fish were plentiful,”
Then John Greene takes a second look, scrambles up the pile of fill-dirt, slaps his head and exclaims, “Oh no!”
I follow John up the pile ad take one look, “Opps!” I Grimace.
Charley Greene has scrambled up after us and looks quizzically at the ongoing Indian mound.
John explains to Charley, “The ancestors must have called this Fish Mound, but now the fish is growing whiskers!”
Charley shrugs “So now we have Catfish Mound? Why’s that?”
The elders setting up chairs, pulling out fishing poles and casting out into the pool of water on either side of the Road Bridge, “I’m thinking the name Fish Mound stuck maybe because it gave the Old Farts a place to Go fishing,” He shrugs.
While the Young Bucks confer, the Old Farts start speaking up, “Hey, What is going aon? All that I am catching are joke-catfish!” “Me too!” “Yeah, same here!” and similar remarks. The First Speaker replies, “Drollinger, what is this happening? I akwqays catch many small-mouth bass h in this pool?”
Grampa Drollinger casts a wary glance to where Howler stands in front of the oscillating fans.
The first speaker nods and says grimly, “Oh yes, I understand, The WeenerMan-effect.”
A second speaker nods, “The forefathers tell of the times when this river ran with fish enough, and the Times of the Colonel.”
“You never mentioned having any troubles with the Settlers?” Grampa Drollinger remarks.
“No says the First, “Never any trouble except with your Colonel Weenerman.”
“Colonel WeenerMan?” Grampa Drollinger is surprised, “They say he liked everyone he ever met.”
Yes, but the legends tell, Chief Greene speaks of the times when colonel WeenerMan appeared at this very pool, the only fish we could catch were then your yellow jokeble catfish.”
“That’s why your tribe received such favorable terms on the lease,” Cheiftresse Greene informs Grampa Drollinger.
And then another tribal elder gets a tug on the line, “And the lease continues.” he observes the wiggling little yellow catfish on the end of his line.
John Greene, Charley, and I are standing in front of the reciprocating fan, observing all of this in amusement, when John slqps his head and groans, Oh No, and scrambles up to the top of the pile of fill dirt, “I should have thought of this!”
Charley and I scramble up the pile after John, “That’s funny!” Charley chimes in after only one look.
I manage to say, “Ooops.”
John Greene slaps a hand across his brows, “Funny? It looks like the Fish Mound has grown whiskers.”
“What did you expect?” Charley Greene giggles, “With HM WeemnerMan in charge, all we can catch are Joke-Catfish!”
I pick up the pail and start back down.
“And You?” Cheiftresse Greene challenges me.
“I guess,to fix the whiskers,” I shrug.
Cheiftresse Greene crosses her arms sagaciously, “No need,” she says eloquently, “This mound also serves as an unwritten record of our tribe, and,” even Cheiftresse Greene smiles as the smaller kids set up on the whiskers and fish-lines from cane-polesinto the Too Much Creek, “It gives us a place to put the Grandkids.”
I put my pail back and get ready to leave, “Well sort-of cousin, when we have another mound-picnic, I’ll give you a yell.’
I nod agreeably.
Charley Greene looks dead-serious, “But leave the Weenerman at home, with him in charge…”
Absolute power, corrupts absolutely,” John Greene agrees stoically.
I grin and point over towards the fans.
“Wow, you’re right!” CharleGreene exclaims, The Weener can keep himself entertained!”
We all look over to where the WeenerMan is standing in front of the oscillating fans, watching the fans go back-and-forth, back-and-forth….
I start for the Buck-Truck.
“What about the Weener?” John Greene asks.
“I think that will take care of itself,” Charley Greene motions back to the oscillating fans.
I click open the drivers door and in a streak of dust, the Weenerman is behind the wheel of the BuckTruck, “My turn to Drive~!, Yeee-Hawwww!!!!” he yells.