Sheriff decries eviction notice, misleading headline

Jolene Butterworth, Education and General Assignment Reporter (wife of Sheriff Butterworth)

(edited for profanity)

In the wake of an eviction notice served on the Clarke’s Mill County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday, Sheriff Robert “Bud” Butterworth has vowed to remain in the former Donut Queen Donut Shoppe until a suitable new location can be found.

“That was a [heavy-handed] move by (landlord Horace B.) Crumbpacker. He could have told us months ago if he didn’t want to renew our lease instead of making Jimmy (Deputy James Barnes) serve himself,” Butterworth said. “You’d think he would want to be a better friend to law enforcement.”

In an exclusive interview with this reporter, Butterworth also took issue with the Post’s headline about the eviction notice, Sheriff Removed from Office.

“They made it sound like I was impeached or something, when the truth is they ain’t got [nothing] on me,” he said. “And we’re still in the office space, so even saying we’ve been removed is [incorrect]. I mean, [come on].”

A new location for the sheriff’s office may be hard to come by. There has been a dearth of other office and retail space on the Puddlegulch town square since Dollar Colonel and Dollar Bonanza moved in last spring, and a bond issue to build a new Sheriff’s Office to replace the one that burned down failed last month. Moreover, the current location has been retrofitted to include jail facilities.

“It was [no picnic] to retrofit the Donut Queen’s proofing cabinets as holding cells, but they work [like a charm], especially if I heat them up a little,” Butterworth said.

Proofing cabinets before jail cell conversion
Proofing cabinet retrofitted for jail cell

Sheriff Removed From Office

Jack Studebaker, Reporter – The Clarke’s Mill County Sheriff has been formally served an eviction notice for the office located in the Cedar Creek Shopping Center according to the property’s landlord, Horace B. Crumbpacker.  Papers were served by Deputy James Barnes on Wednesday, but since Sheriff Robert “Bud” Butterworth was unavailable at the time, the Deputy accepted the papers on the Sheriff’s behalf.

The Sheriff’s office has been located in the Cedar Creek Shopping Center adjacent to Sonshine Tanning & Christian Bookstore since last year when the previous office on State Street was fumigated for weasels and subsequently burned down due to faulty wiring. 

The current location was previously occupied by The Donut Queen Donut Shop whose owner, Ben Pomeroy, wants to return to the property.  

Crumbpacker, who owns a number of properties in Puddlegulch and Standing Rock, chose not to renew the lease with the Sheriff’s Department which ended the first day of this month.  “I’ve got a hankering for some donuts,” Crumbpacker said. “Besides, Bud will probably be there more often after he’s evicted than he was before!” he added.

This is just one incident in an ongoing feud between Crumbpacker and Butterworth.  Some have expressed concern that since Pomeroy is Crumbpacker’s son-in-law, the entire issue was orchestrated as a strike against the Sheriff after he arrested Crumbpacker’s dog, Sadie, for disturbing the peace this summer.

“The idea that any of this was intended as an opportunity to embarrass the Sheriff and his fine department is absurd,” Crumbpacker commented.

Sheriff Butterworth was unavailable for comment.  Deputy Barnes however was available for comment.  “I like donuts,” Barnes said.

If the Sheriff refuses to vacate within 30 days, it is unsure at this point whether he will be required to physically escort himself from the property or not.

An Advent Admonition

pauline3Pauline Pritchard, pastor of Douglas Gulch Presbyterian Church

The Christmas season has become so predictable these days. We see the first signs of the season sometime in mid-October with a Christmas-themed commercial. And then the talking heads begin to cite signs of the perennial so-called “War on Christmas” shortly after. By November we are in a huge debate about which corporation or government institution has now crossed the line in their malevolent attempt to strip Christmas from the culture.

Right after Halloween is when Hallmark and Lifetime begin their two months long Christmas movie marathon, which I admit I have to restrain myself from jumping in headlong, but I usually wait until Thanksgiving evening.

The first signs of Christmas lights are seen in our neighborhoods the weekend before Thanksgiving. Got to get them up before the Puddlegulch Thanksgiving Day Parade to qualify for the “Spirit of the Christmas Possum” home decoration competition.

And then we are on full-on media alert for the true holiday for much of America: Black Friday, which in Puddlegulch we call “Trampled Possum Friday”. Rather than Santa landing on rooftops and sliding down chimneys, hundreds of savings-thirsty Puddlegulchians stampede through the town square where several papier mache possums are laid out in front of the downtown storefronts for the ceremonial “Trampling of the Possums” (each filled with red licorice for the kiddies).

But then for some of us things get a little weird. Or it must seem weird for much of Puddlegulch.

We Christians of the liturgical variety go to church the first Sunday after Thanksgiving and the pastor reads a confusing passage about the end of times. And a season, most of the world has thankfully left untouched begins: Advent. A mysterious season, celebrated with songs in minor keys.

Advent stands today as a quiet protest of the insanity of this time of year. In advent we prepare, not with shopping, Christmas parties, or possum tramplings but with reflection on the final coming of Christ, when persons with color vision deficiency (CVD) will be treated with respect and equality. 

Happy Holidays!

Rev.* Pauline Pritchard

*The religion editor wishes to express that the use of the title reverend in this case does not represent the views of this here Bible follower.

Review: The Whispering Possum Inn and Tavern: The original sixpie?

June 3rd, 2020 – The Whispering Possum Inn and Tavern is Puddlegulch’s fine dining experience.  Established 1955 in one of the oldest and grandest houses in Puddlegulch, it was built in 1895 by Puddlegulch royalty: Thadeous Felcher.  He owned Felcher’s Butcher Shop in downtown Puddlegulch which went out of business during the depression.  There is no relation to the current Feltcher’s Butcher Shop (with a “T”) and don’t let Floyd tell you otherwise.

There is a question of which Puddlegulch restaurant holds the original legendary sixpie recipe.  A sixpie is a Puddle Possum Pot Pie with savory persimmon pudding (a six “p” pie).  The owners of The Whispering Possum, the Caldwell family, claim to have found the original recipe from the Felcher family in a coffee can in the cellar.

Last Saturday night, I visited The Whispering Possum to try this pie.  I was greeted by a grieving Denise Caldwell who had just lost her mother, Lorretta Caldwell.  The inn was a tribute to squirrels that Lorretta had cared about deeply.  There were many stuffed squirrels, paintings of squirrels, squirrel miniatures, and a magnificent squirrel quilt hanging in the foyer with real squirrel tail worked into the pattern.

Persimmon Pudding


I would describe the dining room as quaint and intimate.  Denise sniffled through the specials, but I already knew what wanted, and her face lit up when I ordered the sixpie; their specialty.  When the waiter came, I asked him what a good wine pairing would be.  He recommended a Sauvignon Blanc with a shot of local moonshine to chase the possum.

The pie was a small, individual-sized pie with a rustic flaky crust served with a small molded pudding which I worked into bites of the pie.  The filling was surprisingly sophisticated: glazed huckleberries, a hint of country moonshine, sliced carrots and cabbage, and a creamy possum gravy.  The possum itself was tender and not at all gamey.  The persimmon gave it just the right balance of tart.

But I do not think this is the original recipe.  Huckleberries are in no way indigenous to Puddlegulch.  I mentioned this to the ever-weeping Denise when she came to check on me, and her grief exploded into fury.  Her younger brother, Seth, grabbed me by the collar  and dragged me through the foyer where the squirrels seemed to glare at me.  It was quite traumatic.

I give 4 stars to the food, but only 2 stars for the service.  I’ve been thrown out of many restaurants, but the squirrels have continued to haunt me.

Alexander Preston is an occasional guest food and entertainment columnist of The Puddlegulch Post.  He attended the Clarke County Food Handling prep class and has performed in the last three performances of A Christmas Carol at the Whistlestop Theatre. He’s traveled to all of the neighboring counties reviewing local restaurants and school/community theater performances.  He ended his travels after his controversial review of Tompauk High School’s performance of “Once Upon a Mattress” which he inappropriately described as “a glorious ode to horizontal recreation”

TMI: Parents decry eye-opening zoo trip

Jolene Butterworth, Education and General Assignment Reporter – Several parents spoke out at Tuesday night’s Puddlegulch School Board meeting against the recent fourth-grade field trip to the Russellville Zoo.

“What those kids saw was not in the approved biology curriculum,” said Susan Fornier, a parent chaperone for the trip.

Just what the students saw was not discussed in open session due to the delicacy of the situation, but fourth-grade teacher Mabel Haskins sent a letter of apology home with her pupils last Friday.

School Board President Fred Hobson said Miss Haskins was not aware that the zoo had made some “controversial changes” to the educational displays outside the primate enclosure. Noah’s ark had been replaced by some sort of “Darwinist tract.”

Inside the enclosure, Mr. Hobson said, several bonobos were “behaving inappropriately with each other.” 

“I tried to pull my Jordan away, but he was riveted,” said Connie Temple, the other chaperone. “There’s no end to the questions now.”

The board voted unanimously to prohibit trips to the Russellville Zoo until further notice.

A response to corruption in the mayor’s office and an ill-gotten brown betty

Dear Puddlegulch Post Editor,

There comes a time when a man has got to stand up for what he believes in and that moment was when Elsie Hightower’s brown betty was used for ill-gotten gains with our dear Mayor Townsend.  That’s right ILL-GOTTEN GAINS.

Dear Puddlegulch Post Editor,

There comes a time when a man has got to stand up for what he believes in and that moment was when Elsie Hightower’s brown betty was used for ill-gotten gains with our dear Mayor Townsend.  That’s right ILL-GOTTEN GAINS.

When I was taking my morning walk down Possum Hollow Road toward town I passed by Elsie’s house and I could smell her betty.  At first, I thought, well then, what a nice day for Miss Elsie’s betty, but I saw something unusual.  I saw Gregory Fiddlestone carrying it out to his shiny Lincoln with a pair of his wife’s gingham oven mitts.  

I knew exactly where he was going.  He’s been wanting that stop sign up ever since he was dumb enough not to yield to Danny Weedlemeyer’s pickup on Possum Hollow and Main.  And we all know what will happen when he gets it. Traffic is going to pool there. 10-15 cars drive through that intersection just at lunch.  Can you imagine what it’s going to do to our traffic flow in the morning and afternoon rush hours?

I followed him right up the street and seen him walk into city hall.  He came out in ten minutes with the mitts tucked under his arm and the next day he had his stop sign.

This was struck down at the last city council meeting.  This was settled law! We are in a constitutional crisis here!

That story needs to be running on your front page, Gordon!  People need to know that WE WILL NOT tolerate corruption in the mayor’s office anymore.

PJ Portermont, Citizen and Driver

Let Sleeping Possums Lie

man10Gordan Geary, Editor in Chief – Many concerned parents gathered at the town square to protest the “gruesome display of violence” at the approaching annual Possum Day celebration, but let’s not forget that this town would not exist if it weren’t for gruesome displays of death none of which were actually violent.

In my youth, when I was elected Possum King of Puddlegulch High, I took an oath before the school and Perry the Possum to uphold the history and integrity of our proud but not-too-proud-to-play-dead Puddlegulch. There is a time for discretion. There is a time for censorship to protect the young and innocent, but Possum Day is not one of them.Our forefathers sacrificed the dignity of this town and everyone who lives here to make a future for their children and for us living today in Puddlegulch. The town motto says it all: “We pretended to lay down our lives to save our lives.”

Parents of Puddlegulch, your children must know where they came from. They must feel what it means to pretend to be dead before the enemy. Plus, they love it. It’s fun. Kids come up to me on the street and say “Mr. Geary? How are you going to die this year?” When I tell them that I’m going to be slashed in the throat, they laugh in good cheer! It is a time for goodwill among all of us o’possums (yes, it is o’possums).

This year, I implore you, concerned parents, to let our tradition continue not just for the sake of this town, but for the sake of the contorted faces of death our children will delight in as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Possum Day.

Puddlegulch loses a bowling legend in bowling “accident”

jedpritchardGordon Geary, Editor in Chief – In 1967, a Puddlegulch native converted the old Second Baptist Christ the Beloved Living Water Church into Puddlegulch’s first and only bowling alley: the Bowlarama.

He built eight lanes of solid Clarke’s Mill maple with a small concession stand which sold burgers, hot dogs, crinkle-cut french fries, RC Cola, Hamm’s beer, and pickled eggs. The burger, with its secret special sauce, is known as the “Jed Burger” after the owner: Jedediah “Jed” Pritchard.

But if you drive by the Bowlarama this week, you will see the Puddlegulch flag flying at half-mast because on November 15, 2019, Jedediah Pritchard died doing what he loved best: bowling and drinking a case of ice-cold Hamm’s.

Deputy James P. Barnes said, “Old Jed, had too many beers and slipped. It is a tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.” But others in town raised suspicions.

An eye-witness, Mory Lockhart, the town locksmith, described the incident this way.

“It was like something was making him woozy–stumbling up to the line. He let out this long, low belch; like a roll of thunder from a distant, deadly storm. Must have lasted a full 30 seconds…possum’s honor! Never heard anything quite like it, and next thing we knew he was on his back, his head- a-bleeding. It happened so quick, no one could be sure. Some say he just slipped. I don’t think so,” said Lockhart ominously. “He weren’t anymore drunk than usual.”

Our readers should bear in mind that Lockhart is the same locksmith who claimed that a government agency had planted a chip in his miniature poodle Chauncy to spy on him.

Perhaps we’ll never know the full circumstances of Jed’s death, but the town can all agree that he will be missed. As Marla Bell Jenkins said, “Every time I take a bite of a Jed Burger, I know I’m taking a bite of him.”


A word from our sponsor : Feltcher’s Butcher Shop

The story of the Feltcher family hearkens back more than 150 years, countless challenges and one goal; to make the best meat in the tri-county area.  

Meat. Not cheese.  Not bread.  Not seasoning or sauce.  Just meat.  The meat that’s been making history since 1869 invites you to make some of your own.  History that is.  Not meat.  We do the meat.  All meat, all the time.

Feltcher’s Butcher Shop.  Floyd Feltcher’s family business since 1972!  Proud sponsor of The Puddlegulch Post. 1200 Main St., DowntownPuddlegulch U.S.A.

Hardwood drought ends

img-0423Chip Chitwood, Sports Editor – The Fighting Possums men’s basketball team defied all odds by winning their annual Thanksgiving Classic. Entering the tourney with little hopes of reversing their 0-8 start season, they faced top-seeded Tompauk High, reigning state champions, in the opening round as 25-point underdogs. As the teams met for the opening tip, the conference commissioner stormed into the gym and announced that Tompauk was being forced to forfeit the game. Three Titans were suspended and banned from future participation because they had failed their drug tests, and their coach, Willie Williams, was arrested on charges of administering banned substances. 

The surprised squad advanced to the second round to face the Willow Grove Hedgehogs. Slightly outmanned, sloppy play and typically cold shooting left the Fighting Possums trailing by 12 points at the end of the first quarter. Coach Chitwood implored his troops to protect the ball better and to slow the pace of the game. The tide slowly turned, and the home team trailed by 4 when the half ended. In the first minute of the third quarter, Tim Hanson, the Hedgehog’s hot-shooting point guard was forced to leave the game with a knee injury. Possums point guard, Blistering Bill Mannford, got hot and closed the quarter with 12 points. The hometown lads trailed by two at quarter’s end. Coach Chitwood drew up the closing quarter’s strategy—Blistering Bill would advance the inbounds pass and the other players would spread the floor. It would be an all-or-nothing one-on-one game. Mannford cooled off, but the Fighting Possums squeaked out a 4-point victory.

The Classic took a one-day hiatus to observe Thanksgiving. In a display of team support, the ladies of Our Lady of Perpetual Complaint hosted a team Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday evening, but Coach Chitwood, Bill Mannford, and Jason Chitwood were the only players who attended. The rest of the boys had gone out of town to visit family or elected to not attend because they were either Lutheran, Baptist, or atheist. The lightly attended feast of turkey, dressing, and all the fixings was enjoyed, nevertheless. Mabel Murphy’s always pleasing deviled eggs were a crowd favorite.

Puddlegulch turned out en masse, filling the gymnasium to overflowing for the championship round. Speakers were set up in the hallways and concession stand to bring the game to those who could not get a seat. No one cared that the Fighting Possums would need a miracle to upset undefeated and second-seeded Travis Switch High. This was the first time that the locals had advanced from the first round of the Classic in its 99-year history. The crowd’s enthusiasm remained undaunted even though their boys trailed the Centaurs by 28 points at the half, thanks to the uncanny play of Centaur point guard Jason Mulvane.

Coach Chitwood was unable to make any halftime adjustments because he and his nephew, Jason, and Blazing Bill Mannford spent most of their time in the men’s room, something that continued for the remainder of the game. As it turned out, the most significant halftime development occurred at the concession stand when Lance Chitwood, Coach Chitwood’s nephew and local Lothario, caught Karen Collins’ attention, persuading her to sit with him during the second half.

As the teams readied for the second half tip, Jason Mulvane noticed the two of them. Seeming more interested in Lance and Karen than he was in the game, Mulvane’s play was erratic from the outset. His first half play, 7-9 from the floor with 4-5 beyond the arc, vanished. Unable to score, he turned the ball over repeatedly and was a defensive liability. As the remaining Centaurs’ grew increasingly frustrated with their star, the Fighting Possums played steady ball with increasing confidence. Mulvane stood outside the team huddle during the quarter break, glaring into the stands. He charged the stands when he saw Chitwood kiss Collins, and he was immediately ejected. The Centaurs struggled to hold a narrow lead, and the steady play of the Fighting Possums gave them a one-point victory when shooting guard Charles Tourney’s three-pointer ripped the nets as the final buzzer sounded.

In his post-game press conference, Coach Chitwood fielded questions about the game and he was asked if he could explain the ejection of Mulvane. He said that he had learned that Ms. Collins was Mulvane’s longtime girlfriend. He deflected questions about his complicity with his nephew’s behavior. After the press conference ended, he quickly returned to the mic for a final statement. He announced that everyone who had eaten Mabel Murphy’s deviled eggs the day before had taken ill. Chitwood seemed surprised when a reporter asked him if he knew that Centaurs coach Al Murphy is her nephew.

The Fighting Possums will go on the road next Tuesday to face rival 3-5 Taylorfield Owls. They will enter the game as 15-point underdogs.