Joe’s Joke

The old blue tractor scared my mules when it passed me on the gravel road. Right behind it, the black and white dog in hot pursuit. The next hill over, the tractor was parked by the road and a man climbed out of the cab. He had a grin as big as a round bale and so did I. That’s how I met Joe Stoll and his dog.

Joe, his tractor and the dog.

He spoke first.

Joe: “I was getting stiff and needed to stretch my legs so it was good you came along so I had an excuse to stop and get out.”
This is big open land where a man picking up round bales alone can go sorta crazy. And if that doesn’t hurt him, his cramped tractor cab will.

Joe asked me where I was going and I told him and he told me about he got the dog. It was pestering an old couple and they told him to come pick it up.

Joe: “I picked him up and when I got him home I was going to shoot him. But I didn’t get around to it that day. He started following me around and of course then I couldn’t do it. Goes everywhere with me now.”

The dog was lying under the old tractor.

We talked some more. Real comfortable. One of those people you swear you spent 6 months at sea with or maybe you fought a grain bin fire together or spent a summer installing roof together in the heat.

Joe

The talk rolled on to moonshine and flat bottomed boats and then Joe asks me, “know any good jokes?”

I loved that. That a guy on a tractor who’s supposed to be picking up round bales asks another who’s supposed to be heading toward Idaho on a mule if he knows any jokes.

How two men navigating alone under the open sky and one asks another for a joke. It’s that interchange you’d expect from an era when folks asked, “where’s the salt mine?”, or “can I water my horse from your trough?” or “can I borrow a cup of sugar?”

Really. When’s the last time someone asked you to tell a joke?

Maybe that’s why none came to mind. I’m out of joke telling shape but that’s okay. It just thrilled me that some dude on a tractor picking up hay bales would stop, walk over and ask me for a joke.

I will always savor that timeless question.

Post Script

In case you can’t tell, Joe wasn’t really going to shoot the dog. Joe, like me, likes a good yarn though. Ask me about the day Cracker crushed my top hat with his mule foot. I was gonna kill him….

Where This Post Was Written

I post from hay fields, barns and the occasional gas station. I typed up this post at the Burlington Junction Saddle Club.

During the day, the blanket I sit and type on serves as a pack saddle pad. That’s Brick grazing on the other side of my tent. I use the hot spot on my phone to connect my lap top to the internet. It amazes me that all this gear weighs less than 80 pounds and fits on a mule.


3 Responses to Joe’s Joke

  • I have a few “tell anywhere” jokes which I can pass on to you. If you want them of course.

  • As someone with first-hand knowledge of the situation, please let me state for the record that the “shoot the dog” comment was said in jest. Joe has loved that dog since he brought him home.

    • Let the record show that Joe loves the bejeesuz out of his dog. Also let the record show that Joe’s a bang up citizen with a great sense of humor and very, very kind heart. Oh, and will take the time to visit with a stranger traveling through the land in a stranger way. I would be thrilled if all three of our paths crossed again. Hopefully by the then I’ll have a joke for Joe. I may have to get up with Todd who’s already offered (see comment above). Bernie

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