Carl and Raylene #1: World’s Largest Ball of Twine

[Kim’s Note: If you will remember, I introduced Carl and Raylene Schputt a couple of weeks ago.  They will be submitting occasional reports of their travels as they ‘see all the important things to see’ across the country.  They are the owners of Nose Lick Picks, a curio shop that specializes in decorative hubcaps and commemorative spoons, just outside of Nose Lick, Texas (which is in the Northern-ish part of the state, solidly in the middle of nowhere).  You can refresh your memory with the post ‘Introducing Carl and Raylene.’  They travel the company with their inexplicably small pet pig, Bacon Bits, and their Truck/Skamper Betty Jane.  Carl and Raylene send in their reports on audio, so I will be transcribing.]

Raylene: ‘Well hey!!!  Here we are, Carl and I, famous reporters (hooting laugher).  I declare, we are just about having the time of our lives out here on the open road.  We’ve been out and about for a few weeks now, but I’ve been having so much fun I’ve forgotten to keep up with my reporting.  Isn’t that just the way its been, Carl?’

Carl: ‘Yep, sure is.’

Raylene: ‘Oh my land sakes.  Let me start at the beginning.  First, we drove up through Cedar Rapids, Iowa to check in with Kim as we got our ‘official’ travels started.  For some reason, the city has erected a statue of a giant toilet brush in the middle of town.  Bless their hearts, doesn’t make a lick of sense, but does go some way to explain the smell.  In any case, I pulled up to Kim’s house for a little visit (and a sticky bun, because she had them, and it would be just rude to refuse!  Also, I never refuse sticky buns, on principle.)  I declare, they have just the nicest little family.  Her husband reminds me a bit of Carl, so of course I left a big ol’ lipstick print on his cheek – ha!  He did not know quite what to make of me, but I get that a lot.  Carl gave him a t-shirt that reads ‘Been There, Done That, Got the Spoon.’  I think he liked it.  The little guy is as full of questions as a porcupine has prickles.  The little one is just full of sass and vinegar.  I just about put her in my pocket to take along, I think she and I might just be kindred spirits.  Kim – well, she’s a nice girl, she really is.  And she makes fine sticky buns.  But no fashion sense.  Just none, poor kid.  Some day, I’m going to get ahold of her and steal her away for the day.  First some shopping, then I got a box of makeup and a can of Aquanet with her name on it. . . . . Hmmmmm.  Well, I smooched those kiddos too, and Carl and I headed out.

[Note: it took two full days, three showers, a new loofah, and half a bottle of makeup remover to get those lipstick prints off my husband and children.  I am convinced Raylene’s lipstick could be used as a replacement for most industrial paints and dyes.]

Raylene: ‘Well, we drove on up to Darwin, Minnesota to see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine.  Really, it was the first thing on our to-do list.  After all, Mr. Johnson, who built the ball – Carl!  You remember Mr. Johnson!’

Carl: ‘Yep.  Came by the store years ago.  Sold him twine-wrapped hubcaps.’

Raylene: ‘That’s him!  Anyways, he was just a peach, and we always said we’d go see that little ball of twine he started.  Didn’t we, Carl?’

Carl: ‘Yep, sure did.’

Raylene: ‘So anyways there we were up in Darwin.  Just the day before there had been some kind of incident with the gazebo where the ball of twine usually sits.  I didn’t catch all the details, but it had something to do with pickles, maple syrup, and the mayor’s underpants.  In any case, the ball of twine had been moved out to a nice open area, and I do declare I think it was enjoying getting a bit of sun.  Well, Carl and I spent the better part of the afternoon admiring the handiwork and scouring the town for commemorative spoons (and we got some good ones too – for our collection, and for the shop!).  Why Carl!  Why do you look like you just found out that all the world’s copies of ‘Smoky and the Bandit’ had been copied over with lady shows?’

Carl: ‘Well, I just can’t understand why no one in that whole town knew what became of them hubcaps.  Would have really liked to see them again.  You’d think that’s the sort of thing that would have made it into the museum.’

Raylene: ‘Carl, its past time you stopped pouting about that.  I have to tell the rest.  So, we decided to back Betty Jane up to the ball of twine, cause her feelings get hurt if we don’t include her in pictures.  As we were posing, Bacon Bits got all out of sorts, an just started running round and round that ball of twine, and then hid under Betty Jane and wouldn’t come out!  It took the best part of 10 minutes and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to get him out again.   We figured we’d call it a day and pack up.  As we drove off, we were surprised how friendly all those folks were, just calling out and waving.  Well, we waved back and each one and gave a cheery little ‘beep beep’ on the horn.  It wasn’t more than a mile down the road, though, that we realized what had happened.  Somehow, that fool pig managed to untangle a loose strand, and it got hooked on Betty Jane’s bumper.  Bless my soul and bake me a cupcake, but we had unrolled that whole darn thing!  We felt pretty silly, but what was there to do but start rolling the thing back up.  The town people met us about halfway back, and with a bit of help we managed to get that whole thing rolled back up.  Of course, now my favorite lace hanky is missing and my new pink heels are just caked in mud.  But I do not despair.  You can’t clean up the back yard after Bacon Bits and not know a thing or two about cleaning shoes.  Pretty sure the hanky is in the middle of that ball of twine, though, and I’m not sure if I should tell someone.  After all, what if they weigh it, and not all the weight is twine?  Is it still a record holder.  I just cannot abide a falsehood, and I am just beside myself.  Well, nothing to be done now.’

Carl: ‘Wish I could have seen those hubcaps.’

Raylene: ‘For the love of bacon and flapjacks, Carl!  If you mention those hubcaps again I will hide all your belt buckles!’

Carl: ‘That’s just mean.’

Raylene: ‘Well, all, you don’t need to witness our squabbles.  I guess we’ll say ‘bye’ for now.  Don’t tell Kim what I said about her fashion sense, okay?  We’ll just keep that our little secret.  Oh!  Carl and I want to hear lots of ideas about where else we should go across this country!  Ta-ta!’

[Note: Raylene only has a loose idea of how this blog works – so its probably simplest just to add a comment about where you would like to see them go next!  I heard them say something about pickles since they are in Minnesota, but I will have to await their next report.]


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