Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tonight's Special : Peterbuilt Chicken

There is something really special my Dad has done since I was a little girl. He pulls this special talent out at weddings, family gatherings and when we were kids often, as we would beg to hear it one more time. It's called, "Me and Earl", well at least that's what we called it. The actual title is Wolf Creek Pass, by CW McCall. My dad drove truck for awhile and during all that time on the road he memorized the words to this song and put it into somewhat of a poem. It goes a little something like this:

Me and Earl was haulin' chickens on a flatbed outta wiggins
And we'd just spent all night on the uphill side of 37 miles of hell called Wolf Crick Pass
Which is up on the Great Divide

And we was sittin' there suckin' toothpicks, drinking Nehis an' Onion Soup mix
And I says "Earl, let's mail a card to Mother and send them chicken's on down t'other side"
Yeah, let's give 'em a ride
Well Earl put down his bottle, mashed his foot down on the throttle
And a couple of boobs, with a thousand cubes In a 1948 Peterbuilt screamed to live
We woke up the chickens
We roarded up'n off that shoulder, spraying pine cones, rocks and boulders
And put four hundred head of them Road Island Reds and a couple a burnt out roosters on the line
Now look out below ... cause here we go
Well, we commenced a truckin' and them hens commenced a cluckin'
Then Earl took out a match and scratched his pants and lit up the unused half of a dollar cigar
And took a puff, says "My ain't this pretty up here
And I says "Earl this hill could spill us you better slow down or your gonna kill us
Just one mistake and it's the pearly gates for them 85 crates of USDA approved cluckers
You wanna hit second?
Well Earl grabbed onto the shifter and he stabbed 'er into 5th gear
And then the chromium plated, fully illuminated, genuine ac-cessory shift knob came right off in his hand
I says, "You wanna screw that thing back on Earl?"
He was tryin' to thread it on there, when the fire fell off his cigar and dropped down
sorta rolled around and lit the cuff of Earl's pants and burnt a hole in his sock
Yeah sorta set him right on fire
I looked on outa the window and I started countin' phone poles goin' by at a rate of 4 to the 7th power
I put 2 and 2 together, added 12, an' carried 5 come up with 22,000 telephone poles an hour
I looked at Earl an his eyes was wide, his lip was curled and his leg was fried
And his hand was froze to the wheel kinda like a tongue to a sled in the middle of a blizzard
An' I said, "Earl I'm not the type to complain, but the time has come for me to explain
That if you don't slow us down real soon their gonna have to pick us up with a stick and a spoon"
Well, Earl rared back, cocked his leg, stepped as hard as he could on the brake
And the pedal went right to the floor, And stayed there
Says it's kinda like steppin' on a plum
Well from there on down it wasn't real pretty it was hair pin county and switch back city
One of them looked like a can full of wotms, the other one looked like malaria germs
Right in the middle of the whole darn show was a real nice tunnel, now wouldn't ya know
Sign says cleared to the 12 foot line, them chickens was stacked to 13 9
Well, we shot that tunnel at a 110 Like gas through a funnel and eggs through a hen
An' we took that top layer of chickens off slicker 'n the scum of the Louisiana swamp
Went down an' around an' down an' around, An' we run outta ground at the edge of town
An' bashed into the side of the feed store, In downtown Pagosa Springs.

Everytime I hear "Me and Earl", I get a warm fuzzy feeling in my gut. It's something so special that my Dad does, there's none like it and it makes me proud. It also taught me a lesson a few years back.

As a kid I heard this over and over and each time I did, I had a mental image of this semi truck and all these...chickens. Now to me they weren't any ol' chickens, they were Peterbuilt Chickens. You see, when I heard the line in bold, "1948 Peterbuilt screamed to life, we woke up the chickens.", I understood that was a kind of chicken. Like there are Rainbow Trout and Sockeye Salmon for kinds of fish. I happily went on with this delusion until I met Corey.

You see, Corey was a truck driver too and one of his favorite Semi Trucks, is a Peterbuilt truck. When he was telling me the story of his truck accident he happened to mention that his truck was a Peterbuilt. I almost choked on my Booster juice... a what? He then explained to me what a Peterbuilt was and all of a sudden my world made sense.

See they look kinda similar, they're both yellow.....

Then I started to laugh, we were on our second date and here I was laughing like a hiena while we were driving down the road. You see, I had been thinking of going to a butcher to get a special cut of chicken to make a fancy dinner for Corey, and I thought I'd be so smart and ask for a Peterbuilt chicken...can you imagine what they would have thought? Instead of dinner ingredients I'd probably have received an all expenses paid trip to the local looney bin.

I couldn't wait to get home that night and call my dad - we shared a great laugh and it's only brought more special memories to that ditty. When he did it at our wedding we not only laughed because we were picturing those chickens going flying (imagine it, really. I dare you not to laugh...)but also because of my naivety. I learned what a Peterbuilt was that day and Corey learned that his wife may have a few more blond hairs than she lets on.


Anonymous said...

You and Dustin would sit and listen so intently each time Daddy started to go into Me n' Earl. Dustin has the words almost down pat, how about you? Did you write that from memory or copy it? The first time I heard it was on our second date. He said" if you are going to stick around me you are gonna hear this a lot", then he started. It always brings a soft warm space in my heart, he did it at our reception and it has been a wedding tradition since.
Love ya sweetie... you have a way of bringing memories together.
Love Mom / Grammy

Kami said...

HA! what a great story.... I am chuckling at the picture of you at the butcher asking for a Peterbuilt chicken... that would have been quite funny!

I have tagged you for a meme if you have a chance :-)