For the millions of us who live in towns the size of county seats and larger, much of life is taken daily in large gulps. The tiny numbers of folks who’d never willingly give up living away from it all often have different perspectives. For them, news oozes into the thicket like sorghum syrup from a cold jug.’ They pick the news bits that strike their fancy. They choose their own pace, many perhaps not knowing of ‘one-hour photo processing.’ They still call all cameras ‘Kodaks,’ and remember as if yesterday the many times they mailed rolled film out of state for processing. Weeks passed, fruitless trips were made to the mailbox and prayers went up that photos shot during the holiday season would arrive before the next holiday’ * * * * * Digression is a slippery slope, but maybe can be forgiven if admitted within three paragraphs. The longer we live, the more side roads beckon. I promise to try to stay on the paved ones this week, but keep in mind that one relative doesn’t. He’s Uncle Mort, who lives down in the thicket. His call during the weekend was a bit different.’ He was breathless, explaining that he had just three minutes left on his calling card, so he’d need to ‘do all the talking.’ Dominating conversations is nothing new for my old uncle’ * * * * * ‘I’m going to ‘home in’ on Texas Tech Basketball Coach Bob Knight, Texas Governor Rick Perry and a pun contest I didn’t win,’ Mort began. I had no clue where any of this was going, but was semi-eager to learn, and Mort was totally eager to enlighten. This was to be the most random of topics’ * * * * * He asked if I had read about the Big 12 brass coming down with a reprimand on Coach Knight for berating a game official. Uncle Mort allowed no time even for a simple ‘yes’ answer, but rolled on as if he was certain I knew, and he was right. ‘Reprimanding Coach Knight is like adding another quill to a porcupine,’ Mort laughed’ * * * * * Then he zeroed in on the Texas lottery, explaining it this way:’ ‘If I wanted to win the lottery, I’d just raise the window,’ Mort said.’ ‘The odds of buying a winning ticket and one blowing in through the window are about the same.’ He doesn’t figure that Governor Perry has much chance of gaining public support for his new proposal to sell the lottery operation to a private concern. ‘I understand that the odds of winning the lottery jackpot in Texas are one in 26 million,’ Mort mentioned.’ ‘And I’d say the governor faces about the same odds in getting a majority of folks to buy into selling the lottery.’ * * * * * His calling card was about to self-destruct in less than a minute.’ We both knew it. It had already crossed my mind that if the call ended too soon, my wife and I might have to drive down to the thicket to find out about the pun contest Mort didn’t win. I didn’t even know that my uncle liked puns, much less ever composed any.’ We live and learn’ * * * * * Mort’s speaking pace went from a ‘southern slow’ to a ‘yankee hurry.’ ‘Heard about this pun-writing contest,’ he said.’ ‘And they were giving away nice prizes, like shot guns, fishing gear and camping equipment.’ He said he ‘put on his thinking cap,’ and followed instructions carefully. ‘They said folks would have the best chance if a minimum of 10 puns were entered, so that’s how many I wrote,’ he added’ * * * * * With just seconds left, Mort’s voice dropped off in sadness. Hurriedly, he explained how he had spent the better part of a week, coming up with what he thought were ten good puns.’ Aunt Maude helped him ‘smooth ’em out,’ and they thought surely one would win. ‘But no pun in ten did.’ (He was registering a ’10’ on the laugh meter when the card expired.) * * * * * Dr. Newbury is a speaker/author/columnist in the Metroplex.’ He welcomes inquiries and comments. contact him at email@example.com or 817 -447-3872. His website is www.speakerdoc.com.