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And I'll Call Rusty

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

Earl Fowler

Dear Rusty, you old Rhode Island Red cross-breeder, you:

How’s it hanging? The old seed pecker, I mean.

For a change, I just poked my head out of (instead of into) one of the Renaissance crenels here at the Whistling Pines Vertigo Retirement Village for Even-Toed Ungulates.

Clacked my teeth in pleasure while recalling some of the old war stories involving you and the Big Guy. Looked up, waaaaaay up, and spotted a cloud that reminded me of that dubious "got my dancin' boots off, doffed my Sunday best" swirl at the bottom of the chalkboard after Percy Saltzman and Madame Benoît got into their "civil defence drill" on top of Gordon Sinclair's poor squashed bowtie at Elwy Yost's retirement bash.

Certainly put a whole new spin on taking thirty. How the hell you smuggled Norman DePoe and Bruce Marsh into the book bag I'll never know. Whole bloody castle stunk of ham and Kraft American Slices for months.

Anyway, I wonder if your feathers were as ruffled as the felt on my ossicones when this year’s Juno nominations were announced, once again omitting any mention in the posthumous barnyard category of the 1965 Two Pipes and a Bassoon Concert for Ogre and Hand Puppets. Angie and Fiddle were never in finer feline fettle. Patty and Polly Piper (double-reeded raccoons to the bone; well, to the papier-mâché and pliable latex) never blinked once.

Speaking personally, I certainly enjoyed a good gavotte back in the day. Me and Susie had so much fun, holding hooves and skimming stones. Louise was smoking hot, to be sure, but ma p’tite Susie was the only one I could ever make head or tail of on Chez Hélène. Oh, lawdy mama, those Friday matins when Susie wore her pinafores tight!

Still can’t believe that she left me for that gormless goober from The Forest Rangers, but I hear they both got fat after her failed Les Plouffe spinoff. Her first clue should have been getting involved with a guy named Chub. Guess she didn’t understand English.

Must go. It’s toenail-cutting time at Abandon Hope All Ruminants Who Enter Here Manor and they’re breathing down my neck.

There’s that big boot,

J the G

Dear Jerome, you great speckled turd:

I don’t know if it’s the thin air up there or because your brain is so far from the rest of your body, but you have the retirement bash story as crinkled as a Knowlton Nash elbow on a rolled-up sleeve. It’s a classic example of why Fred Davis “misplaced” your application when the Toby Robins spot came open on Front Page Challenge.

I was half in the bag myself that night, but I remember vividly that most of the "hot stove" action involved Ward Cornell and Gerda Munsinger (succeeded by Tommy Common and Debbie Lori Kaye) in the chair for two more to curl up in, with Laurier LaPierre off to the side, rocking to beat hell.

At least, I figured that was what he was doing. Now that I think of it, there must have been a reason Mr. Big and Stupid was forever hurrying over first to go in the back door. I always found that story about letting the drawbridge down and opening the front doors for people who never showed up a bit sketchy. (As Finnegan once ruefully nodded, they didn’t call him Friendly for nothing. Maggie Muggins upped the ante to Over-Friendly.)

The night of the party, I asked strong-and-silent-type Don Messer about this, but as ever he just stood in the background, smiling and fiddling. Then all Eddie Shack broke loose as Charlie Chamberlain gave Sweet Daddy Siki a good caning after the grappler made that off-colour joke about Hitler wanting his moustache back.


Pinsent swears to this day that the barb was actually aimed at the redoubtable Marg Osborne. Probably a good thing for Sweet Daddy that Charlie got to him first. More lurch than lucha libre (speaking of being half in the bag).

Can’t believe you’re still pining over Susie. But then, I was always more of a breast fowl than a leg man, as you know, and must admit that I never fully recovered from my own split with the widow hen just before she hooked up with Foghorn Leghorn.

Still gives me goosebumps when I think of the cocky Brahma bastard handing her that flower: “Ah say. Take it, Prissy. At the pace you’re going, it’ll take you 50 years to get a bouquet … and you’re runnin’ out of time.”

Well, it’s been more than 50 years since those fateful words and here we both are, waiting for the moon to come up, the harp to thrum, the credits to roll and the cow to make that fateful leap. Remember how she used to get briefly stuck partway through the sky?

Keep Looking Up,

Rusty Chicken-Scratch

222 Tickle Trunk Surprise Way

If the Good Lord’s Willing and the Crick Don’t Rise Retirement Home for Henpecked Homies


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