On Friday, Aug. 2, at 1:30 there will be a “Bert & I” storytelling shindig at the Rockland Lobster Festival. Because I hope to participate, I have scraped together several things — some proven chestnuts, some original — that I have on hold for consideration.
Would you please let me know if there are two or three stories here that would evoke at least guffaws from a family-oriented audience? These are only the punchlines, and any one of these stories can be embellished and tortured for three or four minutes by coughing, nose-blowing, strutting, scratching, L.L. Bean suspender-stretching.
If you plan to be there, please laugh heartily and forget that you are privy to my script.
Although I met the great Marshall Dodge when he was hanging out in St. George several months before he made his first famous “Bert & I” record, I only had the honor of sharing a stage with him once: a fundraising auction at the Portland School of Art. Were you there?
• One evening when I was reading the paper, I looked up at my wife and said, “Here’s a man up in Rangeley who was shot for a moose.” And my wife said, “Any man who can be mistaken for a moose is better off dead.”
• My neighbor shoots wild turkeys. I’m surprised there’s any left. One time I asked him, “How often do you shoot a turkey?” He says, “Until it falls down.”
• Two lobster catchers from Beals were talking: One said, “If I were to have an affair with your wife and she had my baby, would we be related?” “No, but we’d be even.”
• Ever been to the Common Ground Fair? I went over to the endangered species booth and there was no one there.
• Earlier today I was talking with a woman over there by the shore when I suddenly looked down at the scratches in the ledge and said, “Look where the glacier went through here.” The woman said, “Recently?” And I said, “No, no. Years ago.” And she said, “Well, I wouldn’t know. I live over in Friendship.”
• When you go into a restaurant here in Rockland, the waitress will take you to a window overlooking the harbor so you can see all the lobster boats coming in with their catch. Up at the Oxford casino, the waitress takes you to a window overlooking the loading docks so you can see all the Brinks trucks leaving with theirs.
• The wheel was invented when man needed to transport material over a great distance. Fire was first utilized when man moved north out of Africa and needed to keep warm at night. Bills evolved when Maine innkeepers started charging people from Massachusetts so much that they couldn’t look them in the eye when it came time to squaring accounts.
• Have you picked up any souvenirs to remind you of your visit to Rockland? Look them over very closely. If you have one that says, “Made in the USA,” you might want to keep it as a curiosity.
• You might have read that during a typical deer season in Maine, about a dozen hunters die with heart attacks. That little furry head sticks up out of the brush, and grown men get so excited that they drop right over. Shock from the unexpected can kill — which is why no Maine man who loves his wife would risk coming to supper the first time she calls him.
• A common piece of junk mail asks if you are interested in his or her background. They claim to be able to find your old friends, lost loved ones, deadbeat parents or your debtor’s assets. They claim to be able to find safe deposit boxes, Social Security death records, nonpublished numbers and driver’s license records. They will search vehicle records and pre-trial comprehensive reports. They will verify education, employment and professional licenses.
One of the most curious things about this service is that although they claim they can find out anything you want to know about anyone else, they also claim to be able to change your records so that people can only find out good things about you.
• There was once a religious commune in Tenants Harbor. It was a friendly commune and everyone got along very well. But one day a young man fell and hit his head so hard that he didn’t wake up that day. Nor did he wake up the following day. The members of the commune prayed for him, and every day two or three people stood by his bed singing hymns — all day long.
Then, one day, after 16 weeks, a miracle. The young man opened his eyes and he looked at the people standing by his bed. He raised his hand and they could see that he was going to speak. And he said, “Please turn off the music.”
• You young people don’t know nothing about moderation. Back when I was a kid, we had neighbors who were moderate. One day Alva Harris was lying on his back greasing a car in his garage when he saw some boots walking around.
So Alva hollers out, “Is that you, George?” And George says, “Yes, you awful busy today, Alva?” And Alva says, “What you need?” And George says, “My house is on fire.”
The humble Farmer can be seen on Community Television in and near Portland, heard on WMPG Community Radio and visited at his website: