Over the course of the past full year, I’ve been able to post virtually daily to my blog. It’s only been for about the past week, since I got a case of pinkeye and bronchitis, that I’ve been cheating a little. During the time I spent writing daily posts on WordPress, I learned that it’s hard for a blogger, no matter how frequently he posts, to build up a significant following. I also found out that a wide variety of people online can be counted on to be just as outspoken about their ideas, however eccentric and controversial they may be, as the people I’ve met in person. Blogging regularly has given me an insight into how many different points of view there are about religion, politics, history, pop culture and anything else that can possibly be referred to. It’s so difficult to come up with fresh new ideas each day to write about. A daily blog gives me a significant chance to hone my writing skills and to remain as articulate and as well informed as possible about things. There’s a major danger, though, with all the amateur opinions available, of missing out on a chance to get a legitimate understanding of things. The news media, of course, always tend to distort things anyway. Although blogging can be quite an exceptionally interesting experience it also leads to the risk of predictability. I try to avoid platitudes, repetition and other bad habits. It pays to be articulate.
The small town of Willoughby was exactly the kind of place that any clean cut American would want for his hometown. People there took great pride in their wholesome lives, and God, country and family reigned supreme. There was only one somewhat obnoxious catch though. Life in Willoughby was somewhat silly and off kilter.
At the center of town, at 300 Mulberry Street, was Mr. Quackenbush’s Barber Shop. In most ways it was quite an entirely traditional barber shop with a red and white pole proudly displayed at the front entrance. The inside was well stocked with all sorts of lotions and gels, including Vitalis, Aqua-Velva and Witch Hazel. Mr. Quackenbush’s shop was a bit different than those in other cities though. There was always a live cow, named Bessie, in his.
To the folks in Willoughby, Bessie was everyone’s pride and joy. The kids in Sister Rose Eugene’s first grade class at St. Gabriel’s Elementary School, a few blocks away, were especially fond of her. They were always wandering in and out of the shop at the oddest times just to say hello to her. Sometimes, a visiting stranger from out of town would come into the shop for a haircut and shave. Inevitably taken aback by the sight of such a creature in such a place he would be greeted with a hearty: “G’wan ‘n’ pet ‘er, Misther. Bethie’th tha thweet ‘n’ purty!” from at least one of Bessie’s young friends.
Tommy, Ralph and Mabel Dingle’s little boy, was quite especially fond of Bessie. He even tried to carry on conversations with her. After school each day, and on Saturdays, he’d spend as much time as possible telling her all about his life and about anything he thought might interest a cow that lived in a barber shop. Conveniently Mr. Quackenbush was quite a patient gentleman, especially with cows and kids. “Hey I was young once too, don’t you know?” he’d exclaim. “I wish my barber would have been willing to let my friends and me get to know his cow.”
Of course Bessie most certainly had her share of attitude problems and mood swings. Doesn’t every cow? She was quite compulsively addicted to soap operas and there was simply no living with her whenever she lost a game of canasta. In general though, she was quite thoughtful, considerate and a perfect lady. Compared to all her good points her character defects were slight.