Bunk Lumm of Agnos, Arkansas
As some readers know, I've been assisting Mr. LeRoy Tucker as he reworks several of his stories about the quasi-fictional Ozark town of Climax, Arkansas, political center of the even more imaginary La Clair County, located on the border of Fulton and Sharp counties, both of which it overlaps, if that might help the cartographically oriented fix the place more securely. Anyway, over at his blog, which he had neglected of late due to time spent reworking old stories, Mr. Tucker has publicly thanked me for my efforts:
I have been seriously remiss. It is not my fault. Blame Dr. Jeffery Hodges who edits some of my work. He has kept me busy on older stuff trying to get it neat and respectable.Since I'm being so helpful to an appreciative Mr. Tucker, I might as well send interested readers over to his blog, Folk Liar of the Ozarks, to enjoy one of his stories still in process, but which I've already spent considerable time editing, a task that primarily entails my suggesting punctuation, for Mr. Tucker needs no assistance in composing his stories. The story is "Hoops," a fictional tale about the time in 1937 that the Climax Wampus Cats won the State Tournament for high school basketball in Arkansas. Here's a teaser, a radio interview in which Little Rock sportswriter Missioner Cox poses some questions to Wampus Cat supporter and authentic backwoodsman Bunk Lumm, who's not the sharpest tool in the shed but who has a certain charm:
During his pre-game show, Missioner Tox, a sportswriter and radio personality, while asking around for someone from Climax, happened upon Bunk Lumm, who proudly proclaimed that he lived in the Climax area. When asked to comment on the area he complied. "Hit's dusty up home. Cars throws up dust, dust high'ern the trees. Trees up there is red with dust."The very real Ozark town of Agnos, Arkansas exists only a few miles southeast of my hometown, Salem, and one can also find the towns Glencoe and Possum Trot. As for Climax, it might or might not have existed sometime in the past, but it very much exists in the growing tales of Mr. LeRoy Tucker.
"That's interesting. Mr. Lumm. Is that spelled with only one 'm'?" Bunk stood staring blankly into the distance, unconcerned, until at last Tox saw the problem and moved on. "Mr. Lumm -- Climax, the town of Climax -- people out in radio land are eager to know about the town that produced the Wampus Cats. Could you describe Climax for the folks out there in radio land?"
"Hit's ugly, real ugly. Every store built outa rocks, ugly brown rocks," said Bunk.
"A nice town though?" asked Missioner Tox.
"No, I wouldn't hardly go that fer," was the reply.
Then Tox, warming to the task asked, "Bunk, all right if I call you 'Bunk'?"
"Who me?" asked Bunk.
"Yes Bunk, you. May I ask exactly where you live."
"Shore, shore, I'm from Agnos."
Tox was loving it. "Would that be Agnos, Arkansas?"
"Hit shore ain't nowheres else," said Bunk.
"Alright then. Bunk, tell the folks exactly now -- where is Agnos?"
"Why, Agnos is out west of Climax, yon side of Possum Trot 'fore you git to Glencoe. I thought ever body knowed that."
"Bunk, thank you so much for sharing your valuable time with me and a special thank you from the folks in radio land. I thank you, I and all my friends out there appreciate you for just being yourself. Good luck to you and good luck to the Wampus Cats of Climax . . ."
"I'll never find another one," thought Missioner Tox. "Damn, he's a classic, better than Lum and Abner."
Back in Climax, the boys in Ab's barber shop were delighted with Bunk's performance. They told and retold it to all who would listen. Regrettably it lost a lot in the telling but everyone was proud of Bunk.
Anyway, if the teaser has interested you, then go read all of "Hoops," which gives a starring role to a great big old Huber steam tractor . . .