2022 – Daniel B. Lohnis
“The list price of my new car was so high, I was able to use the cash back rebate to purchase my first home.”
2021 – Gerard Vail of Chicago, Illinois
“Our old dog swallowed a bunch of scrabble tiles today. Our vet said the x-rays spell trouble!”
2020 – Daryl Lockwood of Waupaca, Wisconsin
The first at-home Covid test:
“. . . Take a glass and pour a decent dram of your favorite whisky (gin or rum) into it; then see if you can smell it. If you can you are halfway there; then drink it and if you can taste it, it is reasonable to assume you are currently free of the virus. I tested myself nine times last night and was virus free every time, thank goodness.
I will have to test myself again today though, as I have developed a headache which may also be a symptom.”
2019 – Daryl Lockwood of Waupaca, Wisconsin
“I went to the bank yesterday and asked the clerk to check my balance. She came out from behind the counter and pushed me over!”
2018 – Chuck Goldstein of Janesville, Wisconsin
“I got my DNA tested by Ancestry and found out that I’m 1/16 German Shepherd.”
2017 – Dennis A. Mueller of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
“I worked all morning building the best ground blind of my life. When I went out in the afternoon to go bow hunting I couldn’t find it!”
2016 – Ed Gillmore of Bristol, Wisconsin
“Grandpa went to a big fancy hotel for the first time in his life, he said the bed was so big he had to use his GPS to find Grandma!”
2015 – Gene O’Brien of Rural (near Waupaca), Wisconsin
“I grew up in a family with 16 children. I never got to sleep alone until I got married!”
2014 – Sharon Eaves of Kenosha, Wisconsin
“This morning, my husband shaved so close that he shaved 10 years off his life.”
2013 – Daryl Lockwood, Waupaca, Wisconsin
“My new health insurance plan contained so many clauses that Santa is considering suing for defamation of character.”
2012 – Rick Schaaf of Devils Lake, North Dakota
A boss told his secretary that the fax machine in one of the company’s branches was out of paper, so she faxed some blank sheets to that fax machine to restock it.
2011 – Gary Gitzlaff, Kenosha, Wisconsin
The Ground Hog Day 2011 snowstorm was so severe that by the time I dug my car out of the snow, I had to put antique plates on it.
2010 – David Milz, Bristol, Wisconsin
I almost had a psychic girlfriend, but she left me before we met.
2009 – Larry Legro, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
I just realized how bad the economy really is. I recently bought a new toaster oven and as a complimentary gift, I was given a Bank.
2008 – Gareth Seehawer, Oconto Falls, Wisconsin
My grandson is the most persuasive liar I gave ever met. By the time he was 2 years old he could dirty his diaper and make his mother believe someone else had done it.
2007 – Greg Peck, Janesville, Wisconsin
The Wisconsin River was so low this year that the local government started taxing us for more property on our riverfront lot.
2006 – James Wilberg, Franklin, Wisconsin
There are three kinds of people in the world; those who are good at math, and those who are not.
2005 – Bill Meinel, Burlington, Wisconsin
My son’s high school grades went from all A’s to all D’s. This happened right after he had his wisdom teeth extracted.
2004 – Mardy Nersesian, Kenosha, Wisconsin
We had so much rain during the spring and summer seasons, there were puddles on our lake.
2003 – Bill Meinel, Burlington, Wisconsin
My wife is so indecisive about choosing paint colors, our 1800 square foot home in now 1000 square feet due to all the coats of paint.
2002 – Sandi Weld, Sorrento, Florida
When I moved to Iron Mountain, Michigan, I brought my pet sheep. It grazed on the mineral rich grass. When it came time to shear it in the spring, I ended up with nine pounds of steel wool.
2001 – Maxine Christenson, Exira, Iowa
I have a 1979 Dodge car that has over 200,000 miles on it and is so old that the license bureau now issues upper and lower plates for it.
2000 – Gordon Zwicky, Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Gordon and his wife had never been more than twenty-five miles from Oshkosh during their fifty years of marriage. Then they won some lottery money and decided they could afford to go to Florida. Their neighbor, who had traveled extensively, advised them to obey the road signs and they would get along just fine. Thirty miles from home they saw a sign stating “clean rest rooms ahead.” Two months later they arrived in Florida. They cleaned 450 rest rooms, used 267 rolls of paper towels, three cases of bowl cleaner and 86 bottles of Windex. They were so tired, they left for home immediately.
1999 – Mike Herman, Madison, Wisconsin
While discussing farm acreage prices in our northern Wisconsin county, my cousin told me the going price was $600-$800 per acre. I replied that an acre of land in Madison would easily cost $35,000 or more. We stared at each other for 60 seconds or so and then began planning.
Ever since then we have hired heavy equipment, contracted with a convoy of dump trucks and have been digging up northern soil, by the acre, and selling it in the Madison area. The state map makers have had a fancy time having to remap the two counties every month, but we have enjoyed a flourishing business.
1998 – Frank E. Simo, Kenosha, Wisconsin
Recently I bought a new car. As usual, they filled the gas tank. My wife and I decided to take a trip to California, so we took off heading west. Our first stop was St. Louis where I thought of filling up with gas. Checking the gas gauge I saw it showed full so we went on. We continued west and at all points along the way the gas gauge continued to indicate full, so I didn’t buy any gas. We spent ten days in Los Angeles and then returned home. I was bewildered as to why I could go so many miles without adding gas.
Upon getting home I took the car back to the dealership where a mechanic soon found the problem. The gauge was stuck on full. He fixed it, and now the gauge drops toward empty when I drive, like everyone else’s.
1997 – Anna Hallin, Sollentuna, Sweden
In Sweden, where I live, the summers are so cold that you can pick the blueberries deep-frozen directly from the bushes.
1996 – John Bertschler, Lakewood, Ohio
There is a kid at my son’s school who is the smallest kid for his age I have ever seen. If he is ever reported missing, his picture will start showing up on cartons of half and half.
1995 – Bill Taylor, Jr., Westbrook, Connecticut
A fellow was eating corn that was so old one of the ears had a hearing aid.
1994 – Donald Theisen, Appleton, Wisconsin
My grandfather could hone a kitchen knife so sharp that grandma could slice off a piece of bread so thin it only had one side. To put butter on, you had to fold it first.
1993 – Curtis Biggar, Appleton, Wisconsin
It was so wet this spring that cattails grew in my son’s pickup. The DNR spotted him parked in a highway rest stop one afternoon. After careful consideration, they declared his truck a wetland and impounded the vehicle. A court injunction allowed him to drive the truck, under the stipulation that it be clearly identified with 12 inch lettering on each side and both ends as a moveable wetland, with the condition that he could not fill his truck box unless he received a variance from all districts in which he could drive the pickup truck.
1992 – John Hilgers, Middleton, Wisconsin
We built a house out of green lumber that was so wet and green it caused the nails to rust and the house fell apart before it was finished.
1991 – M.F. Hannan, Newark, New York
For Thanksgiving this year, I told my grandfather that I wanted frog legs, not turkey, for dinner.
“All right,” Grandfather said, “but you have to help me catch them.”
So, shortly after breakfast the next day, we loaded a burlap bag and the lawn mower into the pickup and drove to a nearby pond. There we sat until the sun began to set.
Grandfather said, “Only here can the weather change so fast, warm one minute and freezing the next – that’s the best time to catch frogs.
Soon, spooked by the dark and the cold, frogs started jumping into the swamp. All of a sudden the pond froze, with the bodies of the frogs stuck in the water and their legs sticking straight up in the air.
With the lawn mower we sheared off the legs, filled the burlap bag, and had the best Thanksgiving dinner ever.
1990 – Monique Barry, Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania
Your sister is so thin, she plays hula hoop with a Cheerio.
1989 – Mary B. Lathrop, Garden City, Kansas
My mother gave me a slow cooker for Christmas. It cooks so slow, the bean soup sprouts.
1988 – Roy Griesbach, Appleton, Wisconsin
The weather was so dry this past summer that the only water you could buy was dehydrated in 16-ounce packages.
1987 – Ed Boyajian, Cape Coral, Florida
Some years ago, I was given a phonograph record as a gift. I found the music so enjoyable that I kept playing that side for hours on end until the record became so thin, I could hear both sides at the same time.
1986 – Clarence Klott, Hermann, Missouri
A man bought some land in a distant state, and the next spring, he went to look over his holdings, which were quite dry. On his way back, he stopped in at his nearest neighbor and asked the elderly man, “Does it ever rain in these parts?” “Sometimes,” replied the neighbor. Some months later, the man again went to inspect the property, and it was still dry. He again stopped at the neighbor’s and asked, “Does it ever rain here?” The neighbor responded, “Did you ever read in the Bible where it rained for 40 days and 40 nights? Well, that time we had a quarter-inch!”
1985 – Mary Marie Weatherly, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Here in Oklahoma, we have very high winds, but 2 years ago they were higher than usual, and the tomatoes in my garden couldn’t get ripe because the wind kept blowing the sun off them.
1984 – George M. Covington, Clinton, Louisiana
I honed my hunting knife to such an edge that when I removed it from its scabbard, the shadow of the blade lopped off two kitchen table legs and a ceiling fan blade before I could reach the light switch.
1983 – Charles Dunlap, Phillips, Wisconsin
After recently moving, I started playing golf on a different course and had to get longer clubs as the course was 2 inches lower than the one I previously played on.
1982 – Dean H. Hesselberg, Winter, Wisconsin
We had a terrible wind storm here in northwestern Wisconsin on July 4, 1976. The velocity of the wind had telephone lines stretched out so far that when I called my neighbor across the road, I was charged $17.60 plus tax, for a long-distance telephone call.
1981 – Dale C. Carlson, Kenosha, Wisconsin
One day last summer when my son and I were erecting a stockade fence in my backyard, we had a lot of difficulty digging post holes. The clay soil was very hard to dig in, so we went to the store where they rent things and rented a gasoline-powered post hole digger. We went home and dug more holes, but it was still difficult because we hit large stones and the post hole digger would bind up. All of a sudden we got it stuck so bad that it turned my whole lot around, and now my house faces west instead of east, and my front yard is in the back and the backyard is in the front.
1980 – NO CONTEST
1979 – C.A. Laurie, Eckland, Missouri
It was so cold in Missouri last winter that I saw a politician standing on a street corner with his hands in his own pockets.
1978 – Winfred A. Herberg, Mayville, Wisconsin
Talk about inflation; my wife and I built a house we could afford. But we couldn’t live in it. It was so small my wife didn’t have room to change her mind.
1977 – Charles Porter, Odon, Indiana
It was so hot that you could take a frozen hamburger patty out of the freezer, toss it into the air and when it came down, you had one cooked well-done.
1976 – Sidney E. Boyum, Madison, Wisconsin
During a recent cold snap, I saw a nightcrawler steal the fur coat off a caterpillar and crawl back in his hole.”
1975 – Ralph May, May’s Insurance, Burlington, Wisconsin
My pointer dog Sam and I went pheasant hunting. The birds were so thick my dog had to back up so he had room to point.
1974 – Robert E. Regent, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
We were so poor in our youth that our parents couldn’t afford window shopping.
1973 – Melvin Cohen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Aristotle Onassis is planning to give Jackie a plant for Christmas. The name of the plant is General Motors.
1972 – Charles M. Hatch, Mile City, Montana
Among those valued things I lost in a fire was a plaque awarding me for working out a formula for making longhorn cheese out of shorthorn milk.
1971 – John Woolley, Racine, Wisconsin
The Green Bay Packers kickoff return specialist ran back punts so fast he often drew roughing-the-kicker penalties.
1970 – Brother Gregory Havel, Green Bay, Wisconsin
The floods in northern Minnesota were so bad last spring the turtles climbed out of their shells and used them for boats.
1969 – Danny Tomorich, Rosemead, California
Our town is so strict about litter laws that anyone will be fined $50 for telling a dirty joke.
1968 – Charles V. Wilson, Ethel, Louisiana
Our town is so small we had to extend the town limits to have room for a phone booth.
1967 – S.A. Schilz, Seattle, Washington
We live in a rugged part of the country. Last year was very bad, hardly any feed. Result, our hogs were so thin, we had to fry bacon in butter.
1966 – Earl Fox, Colorado Springs, Colorado
The food at this school is so bad that if it were not for the salt and pepper, we would starve to death.
1965 – Lester Connally, McGregor, Texas
This man was such a liar he had to get his neighbors to call his dogs for him.
1964 – Philip Strandvold, Pilot Rock, Oregon
There’s a lady back home who was always late for everything. On the day she died, she wasn’t late for her own funeral, but when she arrived at those Pearly Gates, she claimed overtime.
1963 – Richard K. Boutin, Chatham, Massachusetts
Fishing around here was so bad this summer that even the biggest liars didn’t catch any.
1962 – Walter Lewis, Williamsport, Ohio
It was so dry here this year that when my canary wanted a drink, I had to pull up the well and run it through the wringer.
1961 – C.R. Hutcheson, Lubbock, Texas
For years I have been working to perfect a duck call. Satisfied with my laboratory tests, I recently decided to give it a field trial. The first time I blew the call, ducks swarmed in from all directions; the sky was black with them. I cut loose with my pump gun and with six shots killed my limit of six ducks. What is so strange about that you say? Well, when I picked up those ducks I found that three of them were decoys!
1960 – Gy Sgt. Joe Sage, Oceanside, California
As a career Marine with 18 years behind me, I have seen some strange sights, and this one I would like to pass on to you. There is here in the northern sector of Okinawa, a strange bird known as the saccharine swallow. This bird is so named because its song is so sweet that diabetics have to wear ear-muffs to shut out its voice.
1959 – William C. Cook, Wichita Falls, Texas
Last year we had very little wind down here in Texas. I have three windmills on my ranch, and there was so little wind that I had to take two of them down to get enough wind to run the other one. And, if I hadn’t taken down the barbed wire fence that was holding up the wind, I don’t think that would have worked!
1958 – Lou Powers, Ortonville, Minnesota
One morning last winter it was so cold that when I set out a tea kettle full of boiling water it froze so fast the ice was still warm. Cordially Yours, Lou Powers. P.S. the next night it was still colder – WHEN I KICKED OUT THE FAMILY CAT I FROZE MY FOOT!
1957 – Harry Berogan, Mission, South Dakota
We had one farmer out here who has a field so long that he started out last spring with a tractor, a plow and a drill. He was gone so long that his wife drew three widow pension checks; she thought he had got plowed under. But he got back the other day. When he got to the other end of the field he had traded the plow and drill for a combine and harvested on the way home.
1956 – Albert E. Hopkins, Madison, Wisconsin
Out in South Dakota they have a clay-like soil they call gumbo. The gumbo roads are smooth and hard as glass when dry, but when wet the gumbo balls up under the fenders until it locks the wheels on a car. Last year, during a wet spell, this gumbo killed all a farmer’s hogs. First they got a little ball of gumbo on their tails, then as they walked around it got bigger and bigger until the weight of it pulled their skin back so tight that they couldn’t get their eyes shut – and they died from lack of sleep!
1955 – Claude T. Yerkes, Kalispel, Montana
This sheep herder lived in a small trailer house, and had his provisions brought out by the owner of the sheep. On this particular occasion the provisions included a 100-pound sack of flour for which there was no room in the trailer, so the herder drove a couple of stout nails in the wall and hung the sack of flour on them, just outside the trailer door. During the night one of Montana’s justly famous winds swooped down on him. Next morning the sheep herder stepped out of his trailer to find the wind had blown away the sack and left the flour hanging on the nails.
1954 – Shelton R. Day, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The swamp rabbits down this way are so fast that we use high powered rifles to hunt them instead of shotguns. Even then hunters never get any unless they know the trick. To kill these rabbits on the run, you have to aim fast, shoot, and then let out a shrill whistle. When you whistle the rabbit stops – and the bullet has a chance to catch up with him!
1953 – Bee McIntyre, Richmond, Virginia
The strongest wind I ever heard of hit our place last summer, along with a slam-bang thunderstorm. The wind was so strong that it picked up our cast iron wash kettle (about three feet across and two feet deep) and blew it out of the country.
“The wind blew that kettle so fast that while it was sailing across our front yard, the lightning struck at it five times – and missed!
1952 – A/3c Harry V. Cummings, AF18379187, 35th Inst. Sq.
APO 994% P.M. Frisco (Japan) Home address, Dallas, TX
Last September the government sent me over here to Japan on a tour of duty. You talk about big mosquitoes!
One night in July I had just turned in for the night when I heard the door open. At first I thought it was one of the other guys who slept in the room with me. When I got a better look I saw it was two mosquitoes. They stood nearly six feet tall and believe me, I was too terrified to move, so I just laid where I was and kept still when they approached my bed.
Suddenly I heard one of them say, ‘Do you think we should eat him here, or should we carry him home?
After a moment’s consideration the other replied. ‘Let’s eat him here. You know very well if we take him home the big mosquitoes will take him away from us!’
1951 – Rev. Arthur R. Kirk, Biggs, California
A man living west of town tried to raise watermelons this summer. He had very bad luck. The soil was too rich. The watermelon vines grew so fast that they wore the watermelons out, dragging them along the ground.
One of the boys from town went out one night to swipe a melon. He got the melon all right, but the vines were growing so fast that warm night that the boy had to be taken to the hospital. Before he could break the melon off the vine, it had dragged him half a mile and he was in bad shape.
1950 – Frank J. Goulette, Los Angeles 32, California
One winter, while I was working on a pile-driver in North Dakota it got so cold that one night a member of our crew froze to death in bed. The ground was frozen so hard that it was impossible to dig a grave; in fact, we never did find out how far down it was frozen. But this I do know: seeing we couldn’t dig a grave, we stood the fellow on his head under the pile-driver – and we had to drive on him seven days and seven nights before we got him down far enough for a decent burial!
1949 – “Honest John” Goerlich, Toledo, Ohio
Years ago in Colorado, on my first fishing trip, the guide looked amazed when I showed up weighted down with all the fishing tackle ever invented carrying a long, limber pole and wearing a huge sheath knife on my belt.
“What do I do now?” I shouted when my first fish struck the fly.
“Reel him in,” snorted the guide, apparently disgusted at my ignorance. So I did. Forgetting about the landing nets, gaff hooks and other landing equipment with which I was festooned, I reeled that trout right up to the tip of the pole and heaved the pole out of the water into an upright position.
There I was alone – the guide, wanting no more of me, had wandered off into the woods. The pole was so long I couldn’t even come near reaching the fish. I didn’t dare put him back in the water for fear he would get away. How was I going to get the fish?
Well, I solved the problem, I stuck the butt of the pole into the ground, drew my trusty knife, climbed the pole and stabbed that fish to death!
1948 – L.W. Tupper, Alberta, Canada
Up here in Alberta we really have some wind storms.
Last summer a rancher had just finished digging 2,000 post holes when up came a norwester and blew those post holes clean out of the ground. When found 125 miles away they were a total loss. They were so full of holes from bounding over the cactus that they wouldn’t hold dirt anymore.
1947 – John C. Hopley, San Antonio, Texas
Me and my friend Charley Skorpea were playing that night for the championship of the Boggy Creek Bottoms, and it was his shot. Just as he started to shoot for the 8-ball a fly lit exactly on top of the ball. ‘I am going to kill that fly with this shot,’ he said.
Time stood still while the boys booked bets on whether he would or not. Believe it or not, the fly also stood pat. Everybody in the house was expecting Charley to try to loft the cue ball so it would light on top of the insect and exterminate him.
“When they finally got all their bets made Charley chalked his cue and knocked the 8-ball out from under that fly so quick that it fell on the table and broke its back!
1946 – Antanacio Garza, San Antonia, Texas
I live in San Antonio, Texas, i have been for the last 15 year i like to fish a lot and have seen a lot of peculiar things in my life during the fishing season. i was fishing on one occasion and caught one fish on my hook but he try to get away from my line it took me about 15 minutes to get him away from the surface. Well Mr. Hulett he work so hard that he was sweating.
1945 – M.E. Linehan, Louisville, Kentucky
Very few people knew it, but it was through my efforts that the 1945 Ohio River flood was stopped before it spread out of control. On the day the river reached its peak and was expected to flood half of Louisville, I made a hurried call to the Election Board, had them arrange a special local option election, and we voted the town dry in half an hour.
1944 – Capt. Hope Harrin, QMC, APO 887,
New York, New York
I’ve been a mess officer and have done much work with dehydrated foods in the ETO. With that knowledge of dehydration I wrote my girl, a petite blond, to go to the plant that processes fresh vegetables into dehydrated foods for overseas shipment, and get herself dehydrated. She did. Immediately her mother put her in an envelope and sent her to me by APO.
When the letter arrived, I took her out, poured water over her dehydrated body, and quickly restored her to her natural self. In half an hour she was as good as before – and here with me.
(Editor’s Note) Investigation proved that Capt. Harrin was a better liar than we suspected. She was a Captain in the Woman’s Army Corps.
1943 – S/Sgt. Baron S. Fonnesbeck, Dugway Prov. Grd., Tooele, Utah
When I first came into the army they sent me to the state of Maryland. Now if you’ve never been in Maryland you don’t know how bad mosquitoes can be. Those in Maryland were of the P-38 type, and when they landed on you they always filled both fuselages. The first day they completely drained me of blood. The second day I was giving I.O.U’s. In fact, months later, when I was stationed in Alabama, to my surprise the Maryland mosquitoes sent me a card on Father’s Day because they had so much of my blood in them.”
1942 – U.U. Kemp, Gadsen, Alabama
This happened when I was living on Sand Mountain. One day we had the worst cyclone I have ever seen. I was standing in the window watching trees and houses going over the house when I saw a tree go by with a squirrel in it. So I called to Madge, my wife, to bring me my rifle, and I went out into the yard and killed 10 squirrels (which is the limit in Alabama) out of the trees as they went over the house. I could have killed more, but I didn’t want to violate the game laws.”
1941 – R.C. Cross, Wausau, Wisconsin
You should have went fishing with me in the old days in the Unadilla. One of the natives accidentally spilled a bottle of hair tonic in the river one day and all the fish started to grow long beards. All we had to do to catch them was to stick up a red-and-white-striped barber pole, hang out a copy of the Police Gazette, and holler, ‘NEXT’!”
1940 – Howard Anderson, Three Forks, Montana
We have all, at some time or place, come in contact with one of those individuals who are never content to let well enough alone, but hold fast to the idea that if a little is good, more is better.
We were gathering stock off the range and taking them to the valley ranch for winter when it turned terribly cold, which meant extra help. So I hired a young fellow new to the country. The first day he complained of his feet getting cold, so we related to him an old, established practice here on the range. Instead of wearing overshoes or socks, we sprinkle a little red pepper in our boots.
He went over, consulted the cook, came back and we started out. Before we were half way he was kicking his feet against the stirrups; then he got off and walked, and before long he struck out in one of those stomping dog-trots. Noticing his strange action, we rode over and finally wrong the truth out of him.
He said he figured if red pepper was good, chili powder ought to be better. Friction on the chili powder against the ball of his foot as he rode had heated things up inside those boots ’til it had cooked his bunion, popped his corn – and the only reason his toes weren’t hurt was because they had hung themselves on the nails!
1939 – Frank F. Norton, Toledo, Ohio
Raised on a farm, Mr. Norton told judges he came of a musical family. His father built a special “bang-board” for the husking wagon, with planks tuned to the musical scale, and when husking it was not long before he could throw the ears of corn against that “bang-board” with such speed and precision that he could play such simple tunes as “Onward Christian Soldiers,” and “Asleep in the Deep.”
“It wasn’t long,” Norton wrote, “before we had improved enough to play ‘Darktown Strutters Ball’ and fast bugle calls. That fall Paw and I took the place of the town band in the county’s annual band contest, and won first prize with a masterpiece of ‘bang-board’ music, our own arrangement of ‘Chopsticks’!”
1938 – Gilbert Boettcher, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mr. Boettcher wrote that his big adventure came when he was working on a fishing boat out of New Orleans. Having good luck one day and getting in early, they decided to make another trip out into the Gulf. Their luck held, and they had no trouble in filling the hold with fish, but on the trip back to port they ran out of coal.
Boettcher saved the situation by having the crew sort out all the dog fish. When they had a lot of them, he tickled each fish until it barked. The crew gathered up the bark, threw it into the fire-pot under the boilers, and it was only a matter of time until the engineer had steam up, and they were merrily on their way back to New Orleans.
1937 – John P. Zelenak, Jr., Tacoma, Washington
Mr. Zelenak’s story was brevity itself, and dealt with the laziness of his wife, that whom he claimed there was no one lazier. (Investigation proved him to be a single man.)
“My wife,” he wrote, “is so lazy that she feeds the chickens popcorn, so that the eggs will turn themselves when she fries them.”
1936 – Mrs. Gale Barnhouse, Fowlerville, Michigan
Mrs. Barnhouse, the first woman to win our medal, wrote the saga of the Michigan mosquito. When the particular mosquito she wrote about was small, she said, it ate little chickens. As it grew it tossed off ducks, chickens and turkeys, later taking on calves and grown cows. Then came the day it tackled Old Maud, the family mule.
“When I saw that mosquito swoop down and gulp up Old Maud, I says to myself, ‘There goes the best mule that ever pulled a plow in Michigan’,” wrote Mrs. Barnhouse. “But the mosquito reckoned without Old Maud. Just as it was about to swallow the mule, the critter let go with both hind legs, and broke the darned mosquito’s neck!”
1935 – Jim Jordan (“Fibber McGee”), Chicago, Illinois
“Fibber’s” story related to cold weather. During an extra cold winter, he said, a rat took refuge in his home. He exercised all his wiles, but was unable to trap it. Finally, he hit upon an idea.
“The cold chased you in here,” he wrote, “and the cold will catch you.” So he took one of those big thermometers and hung it in the kitchen with bottom about three feet from the floor. Under it he placed a chunk of cheese. In the morning, sure enough, he had Mr. Rat. The rat had gone for the cheese, and mercury in the thermometer fell so fast that it pinned the rat to the floor!
1934 – Verne Osborne, Centralia, Wisconsin
Mr. Osborne wrote us regarding the exceptional training of his mule, which he rode when hunting jackrabbits. While hunting one day he took out after a “jack” which fled across a mesa, and close pressed, plunged headlong over a 10,000 foot cliff. The mule, trained to follow rabbits, never hesitated, but plunged off after it.
“I thought my hour had come,” wrote Osborne, “but then I remembered how well trained that mule was, so I sat quietly in the saddle until we were about 10 feed from the ground and then hollered, “WHOA!” The mule stopped in his tracks, and I stepped off, unhurt.”
1933 – Bruno Ceresa, Langeloth, Pennsylvania
Bruno wrote, “I think I will challenge Mr. Phil McCarty, of Denver and tell a still bigger lie than his. It is as follows:
“My grandfather had a clock that was so old, that the shadow of the pendulum swinging back and forth had worn a hole in the back of the case!”
1932 – Phil McCarty, Denver, Colorado
McCarty’s tale dealt with a cat which never caught mice until it accidentally lost a front leg. McCarty whittled it a peg leg and it began bringing in mice by the score. Investigating, he found that the cat (this happened in a mill) hid back of the post in the store-room. From trying to look around both sides of the post at the same time it had become cross-eyed, a circumstance which threw the mice off guard, and when they thought the cat’s attention was centered elsewhere, they would venture out of their hole. Still watching the cat’s crossed eyes they would venture closer, and the cat let go a hay-maker with the wooden leg, and clubbed them to death!
1931 – Orrin Butts, Bay City, Michigan
Butts said that as a young man he worked for a farmer who owned a vicious bull. One day the bull got the farmer down and gored him so savagely that immediate and heroic action was indicated. Butts, equal to the occasion, killed a sheep, transferred its entire digestive tract to the farmer, sewed him up, and miracle of miracles, he recovered. However, after recovery he refused to sleep in the house, ate hay, grew a set of horns, and the second year yielded a clip of 40 pounds of wool!
1930 – Police Chief Frank Beller, Burlington, Wisconsin
Judges met at the police station on January 1, 1930, and were just about to award the championship to another man, when one of them asked the Chief if he did not want to compete.
“Me?” replied the Chief, in an injured voice. “Me? Why I never told a lie in my life.” And by unanimous consent, the judges, who had known him for years, awarded Chief Beller the 1930 medal.
1929 – Captain Anton Delano, Burlington, Wisconsin
Captain Delano, who sailed salt water and then skippered sailing vessels on the Great Lakes for years, related a story about a voyage around Cape Horn, when they sighted what they thought to be land – a bleak, barren island, just protruding above the ocean – an uncharted island. Apparently, said the Captain, it was a huge island, for they sailed along its shore for three days before they discovered it was not an island at all – only a whale, asleep on the surface.