NEWS

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.”

obituary

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.

Possum pride shines at the Thanksgiving Parade

Bonita Mae Hogwallop, Society Columnist – Puddlegulch should be mighty proud of their annual organized constitutional down Main Street this Thanksgiving Day.  The entire experience reeked of Possum Pride and Pomp.

Leading the way was the Pride of Puddlegulch High, the Marching Possums Band.  It seems this year they were able to find a trumpet or two and we could actually tell what song they were playing.  Last year the 12 tuba line was awe inspiring but the Holiday Spirit seemed to get lost in the Oom Pa Pas.  Taking on the task of drum major pro tem was our very own mascot, Perry the Possum.  Besides the fact that he played dead forcing the band to go around him, he did very well on his maiden voyage.  I’m sure you all remember the band’s regular drum major, Tina Scroggins, was injured earlier in the week by that flukish, flying bowling ball.  Where did that come from, anyway?

 Next we were able to to take a gander at our Thanksgiving Day balloons, the Possum and the Turkey, and their wranglers.  I know some are disappointed that the balloons are only a 20th of the size of those in New York and that there are only two of them.  But we have to remember that they were designed by the original Mr. Macy’s grandson’s, uncle’s roommate, Doug Mersaphat.  We must hold our heads high at tradition like that.

The only kerfuffle at the whole event was the moment when the Turkey balloon was unleashed by a sudden gust of wind.  Within seconds that Turkey was flying high and we could see our wonderful helium masterpiece disappearing into the wide blue yonder.  It was then that Earl Musgrave with the Civil War Renactment group drew his AR 15 and shot it down.  Luckily only a couple of rounds hit the balloon and I’ve heard it should be able to be repaired by next year.

The winning entry was Joe Whistler and his dancing Possum Poodles though they did get in a tussle with the Coyotes of King’s Valley Chapel, the float ahead of them from Standing Rock.   Since the coyote float was then disqualified, the trophy went to Joe.  You may all remember my sister Wanita June predicted the coyote float would take top honors this year.  Shows what she knows.  Though you didn’t hear that from me.

Of course, the end of the parade brings the man of the hour, the person that all the kiddies shout for that signifies the beginning of the Christmas Season – Wilson the janitor from the Elementary School and his buckets of Candy Canes!  I was able to actually catch one this year before it hit the pavement and shattered.   It was delicious!

After the parade, we all went to Possum Disco Night at the Bowlarama and bowled the night away.  Good job Puddlegulch and happy Thanksgiving!

Welcome to The Puddlegulch Post

This is what happened. Possum’s honor!

The Puddlegulch Post was established on December 15th, 1869 by Nathaniel Puddle, who delivered the famous “Possum Address.” The speech saved the lives of every resident of then Douglas Gulch. The town voted unanimously to rename itself Puddlegulch after Nathaniel Puddle.

Puddle, although not a man of letters and only 22 years old, was deemed “the voice of sanity and wisdom absent any pride or valor in a world of imprudent sacrifice.” His first edition was a forthright account of the day the entire town of Puddlegulch pretended to be dead, at his suggestion, in order to avoid certain massacre at the hands of rogue Civil War war soldiers who had never received their orders to cease fighting though the war had been over for four years. No one knows what side they were fighting on and many have suggested that they did not know either. The article was entitled “This is what happened. Possum’s honor!” which has become the slogan for The Puddlegulch Post. He was the first editor in chief.

With the help of Thadeous Felcher, Puddle acquired a small printing press. Felcher credited Puddle’s possum idea for a lucrative spike in possum meat sales. The town’s official dish, now the center of the Possum Day celebration, became the Puddle Possum Pot Pie served with a side of savory persimmon pudding. The dish is commonly referred to as a “Sixpie” for its six p’s and it being a pie. “Feltcher’s” Butcher Shop is still a sponsor of the paper and still provides quality possum meat and, as always, “All meat – all the time! .”

Through the years, the title of “Editor in Chief” was passed from father to son, starting with Nathaniel Puddle, Jr. and ending in 2003 with Nathaniel Puddle, IV after he died eating an off deviled egg. The title passed on to the current Editor in Chief, Gordon Geary; however, the family tradition is still minimally carried on by Nathaniel Puddle, IV’s son, Douglas Puddle who writes the obituaries and the classifieds.

Although the paper still circulates in print to many of the 988 Puddlegulchians, the successful launch of thepuddlegulchpost.com has brought in many tens of readers from around the state and also three from Somalia. Look for more international news in the future as we become a global news source!

PUDDLEGULCH CELEBRATES THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF POSSUM DAY

Perry the Possum

Gordon Geary, Editor in Chief – On a blustery December morning in 1869, word came to the town councilmen of Johnson Gulch of an encroaching army of rogue civil war soldiers who had not realized that the Civil War had been over for four years. No one knows which side they had been fighting on, and many suspected that they could not remember.

Mayor Sowser gathered the men of the town to come up with a plan to avoid a massacre. A young man named Nathaniel Puddle talked at length of the amazing properties of possums, know as the Possum Address, and a plan was quickly devised to “play possum”. Puddle and the other men went from door to door advising the residents to create scenes of death for each household in an attempt to convince the soldiers to pass on. Thinking that the town was already massacred, the marauders did pass on and massacre the neighboring town of Taylorfield (aka Bloodfield). Johnson Gulch has since been known as Puddlegulch in honor of the legendary Nathaniel Puddle, and the day will forever be known as Possum Day.

Festivities will be held in the town square on December 6th. The judging of the most creative family death scene competition will begin at noon. Bundle up and bring your possum pride!