Jerry Clower and Tater’s moped

Published 4:19 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2019

just love me some Jerry Clower. His stories are simple, funny, and very relatable to southern people. He was known, professionally, as the “Mouth of the South,” but his popularity reached beyond the Mason-Dixon Line.

Among the things I like about Jerry Clower stories is that they are clean enough for a preacher to retell on Sunday morning. It’s a good thing to make people laugh at church.

“Ever-now-and-then” I get out my double CD of Jerry Clower stories and listen to them as I drive down the road visiting people and doing my business. His stories are better than the Sirius XM comedy channels because they don’t have profane language. I’m no prude, but some of the language in today’s culture makes my ears hurt.

One of the most surprising Christmas presents my brother and I ever received was a Sears-Allstate Moped. I think I was in the seventh grade and lots of kids our ages had them. We had no idea that we would be so fortunate, but there it was. Sitting on our front porch at the big farmhouse where we lived was a red and cream-colored Moped.

We might have been surprised at Christmas more than one time, but, for me, that was the greatest surprise of them all.

One of Jerry Clower’s stories is about Marcel Ledbetter’s son, Tater, and a Moped. Marcel was one of Uncle Versie Ledbetter’s sons. All together now, “There was Ardel, Burnel, Raynel, W.L., Lanel, Odel, Marcel, Newgene, Claude, and Clovis.” I never get tired of Jerry reciting Uncle Versie’s sons’ names.

Marcel made his living by cutting and hauling pulpwood. One day he was delivering a load of pulpwood and his son, Tater, was with him. One of Tater’s favorite things to do was ride the Moped of the owner of the pulpwood yard. He could ride it only within the confines of the pulpwood yard.

However, one day, Tater saw an opening in the fence and decided to rev up the engine of the Moped and jump the fence onto the pavement of the road outside. He wanted to feel the pavement underneath that Moped.

Outside, he pulled up to a red light and stopped. A man driving a very fancy Mercedes Benz came up beside him. If you can remember, insert a “holler” from Jerry Clower here!

Tater leaned over and let his nose touch the window of the Mercedes, looking in at all that luxurious interior. The owner rolled down his window and Tater stuck his head inside the Mercedes and just filled his nostrils with the smell of that rich, Corinthian leather, just like Ricardo Montalban told us about.

“This is some fancy car,” Tater Ledbetter told the owner. “How fast will it go?”

“120 miles per hour,” bragged the owner. Insert another “howl” from Jerry right here.

The light turned green and the Mercedes squealed off showing Tater all that power. The fancy car got up to about 90 miles per hour when the owner saw a little speck in the rear view mirror. The speck got closer and passed him. It looked like Tater Ledbetter.

Then, the speck started come back and passed the Mercedes again. It happened again, except this time Tater splattered into the back of the car.

The owner got out, saw that Tater was breathing and began to plead, “Oh, young man, thank God you’re alive. Is there anything I can do for you?

Tater Ledbetter looked at the man and said, “Yeah, you can disconnect my suspenders from your rear view mirror!” Have a laugh on me and Jerry Clower today! Feel better?