Lots of excuses flowing at annual liars’ convention

This past weekend was the annual Gathering of Liars down in Drizzle Creek.
No, I don’t mean the participants in the walleye tournament each September, although I must admit those folks are no slouches when it comes to spinning tall tales. They’ll be here this coming weekend—and they’ll certainly have to stretch things a mile or two if they expect to regain championship status.
Nor am I referring to the hopefuls in the upcoming federal election, although they should have been on hand to take a few pointers. After all, whoever is successful in that race will have to spend the next four years—or portion thereof, depending on the whims of the PM obeying laws he has passed.
No, I’m referring, of course, to the crème de le crème of the lying fraternity: giant pumpkin growers (or Lords of the Gourds).
Their leader in Drizzle Creek, Sir Eltjo “Hard Luck’ Whimpering,” has been setting the stage all year about how everything was conspiring against him and his efforts to produce a prize-winning giant pumpkin. By “prize-winning,” I mean the largest. Not the ugliest, not the most misshapen, not the smallest, not the scabbiest, but the biggest.
Over the past 14 years, there have been frosts, droughts, and plagues of insects, marauding Great Beavers, mice, weed infestations, hummingbird attacks, groundhogs, and accidental shootings.
This year, the range of excuses pretty much ran the gambit.
“I’m so disappointed. Not one of those expensive seeds I imported sprouted,” whimpered Hard Luck over coffee early one morning last spring.
“There, there, young fellow. Don’t cry! Don’t cry! I’ll supply you with one of mine … supply you with one of mine,” soothed Archie Archie, patting Hard Luck on the back.
“I’ve got plenty of extras . . . plenty of extras,” he added, reassuring the hapless Hard Luck.
A month-and-a-half later, it was another crisis.
“I finally got a couple pollinated, and wouldn’t you know, it rotted right off during that last wet spell,” Hard Luck explained, shaking his head sadly.
“Look’s like I’ll be shut out of the winner’s circle again,” he concluded.
“But what about the other one. Surely it’ll make it,” I encouraged, trying to lift his spirits.
“Nope. It met with a small misfortune when I was trying to thin out those pesky groundhogs. Direct hit with a 30-06. She’s toast,” he explained.
Two weeks later, it was the hail and the wind that tore up the punkin’ patch. Then, it was the algae bloom on the river plugging up all the holes in his irrigation system. An early frost touched his vines, stunting any further growth.
On the morning of the weigh-in Saturday, Hard Luck sat with the other growers picking at his pancakes.
“You know, I’ve been sitting up nights to make sure the deer stayed out of the patch, but last night I figured I needed a really good rest in preparation for today, and wouldn’t you know it the terrorists slipped in and ate a hole right through my biggest punkin. Ruined it!” Hard Luck lamented, as a tear rolled down his cheek and he set the final stage for another year of defeat.
Around him, all the other Lords of the Gourds echoed tales of woe covering everything from bears and plagues of frogs to crop circles and alien spacecraft beaming up their prize orbs.
You never heard such a professional, pre-race parade of excuses and position jockeying, all entitled, “I didn’t win because. . . .”
When the smoke had cleared after the weigh-ins, Hard Luck took first place, his wife second, and his daughter and grandkids the next three spots.
My entry was disqualified due to squirrel damage. Maybe there’s something fishy about the judges and the scales?
At least, that’s my excuse . . . for this year.

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