When I lived in Washington State, it seemed that people on the surface were nice enough, but it was common for people to divide up into opposing groups and cliques--conservatives and liberals, pro-lifers and pro-abortionists, traditionalists and modernists, etc., and we'd find ourselves out protesting on the sidewalks, receiving violent and obscene responses. You could almost feel the vibrations of destructive politics in the otherwise clean air, yet people in general there would be polite and considerate. Political correctness was the norm...or else.
Then we moved to the Ozarks, where people are not only friendly, but will wave a howdy to you from across the street. When we first got here and went into a library and happened to tell the librarian our names and that we had just moved here from Washington, an overhearing man we hadn't noticed before went and opened the door for us when we walked out, and with a sincere smile said to my wife several feet in front of me, "Mrs. Lund, welcome to the Ozarks."
The people here are generally much friendlier than in the politically-correct Northwest, and it's not hard to get used to. And people are more honest here. If they don't like you, they're not afraid to tell you so; and if they do like you they're not too shy to tell you why. They're open and instantly familiar, and although the air here is swarming with allergy-producing pollen, the absence of destructive political vibrations makes it seem pure.
Enter Billy. I transferred here in the postal service, from a Washington workplace where things were relatively quiet, to an Ozark workplace where there was Billy and Brent. These two guys worked next to me and were constantly bickering and commenting back and forth and were a lot of fun to listen to. Things they said would have gotten them fired in Washington, and between times they'd come up with some great lines like, "He'd miss the water if he fell out of a boat." Frequently they'd turn their attention on me, and run me down with all sorts of criticisms in lines so clever that I'd get a kick out of it.
When I slid off our road in an ice storm, who should come with his truck and pull our car back up onto the road but Billy? Yelling at me between the kindnesses, he was always willing to help. When our bathtub drain got clogged up, Billy came over to fix it for us. While there, he cussed so much at me, calling me names, that my kids shot looks at me to see what my reaction would be, and were surprised that I only smiled. Once when a new supervisor transferred in, who didn't know Billy, he overheard Billy threatening me and so gave him a letter of warning, but this is another story.
What Billy did for me was to give me a tougher skin. Over the years I became very used to being
For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.