Monday, April 1, 2013


When we first began looking at property in the Ozarks, I saw a sign that sent the mind carbine spinning. The sign read: re-elect Sheriff Butter Reeves for Shannon Co. Sheriff.

Really? Someone's name is Butter? Okay, I'm going to say I chuckled. I 'was' a northern girl after all. I've since had the honor of meeting Butter and his family. But in between the space of hearing his name and actually having the man standing in my kitchen one night, I penned a story for a writing competition. Sadly, this one has never won any awards so I thought I'd share it here... with all of you and especially Butter.

Promise Bridge

Part 1


      The phone rang in the reception area. Within moments, the dispatcher burst into Sheriff Butter’s office. Her bosoms heaved with laughter as she struggled to pass on the message.

     “That was your nephew on the phone,” Bonnie Blue Bonnet gasped, trying to catch her breath.          

     “He’s done it again.”

     “How in tarnation….” Sheriff Butter pushed away from his desk.

     “I swear I’m gonna dangle him over the side of that bridge head first.”

      The young deputy had long since stopped using the county radio when he needed help. There were too many scanners in the area to pick up on his bumbles. The phone was more private for his SOS calls. The sheriff shook his head as he strode to the door, grabbing his western hat from the tree. "Call Charlie…”

     “You’ll meet him out there. I think I’ve got this routine down,” she said, following him out.

     Chortles resounded from one of the cells as he passed through the outer office. The sheriff took note of the town drunk smiling like the village idiot.

    “Any cracks from you, Sam, and you’ll be hangin’ next to him.” The threat fell on deaf ears. The slamming of the door as he left the building only invited the uproarious laughter he heard through the open windows.

    Promise Bridge was a one-lane bridge. The lane was extra wide to accommodate semi-trucks going in and out of Prairie Farms Dairy Company at the other side of the river. However, there wasn’t room to turn a car around once you reached the gates and found them locked. The only way off was to back up the near quarter mile. Deputy Parkay couldn’t back up a vehicle any distance to save his life.

    Parking his car under a shade tree near the bridge approach, Sheriff Butter got out and walked to where the Imperial Police Department’s only patrol car rested. One rear wheel perched off the edge. The rookie sat in the front seat, his knuckles glowing white against tanned fingers gripping the steering wheel.

    Butter couldn’t resist tormenting the boy a bit. Lord knew he had it comin’. He appeared to assess the situation. The back of the squad sat pinned against a cross-section of the railing. The boy was too scared to notice the car wasn’t going anywhere. He walked closer and leaned in the open window.

   “So. How long you gonna sit there?”

   “I can’t move, sir. My weight up here’s the only thing keepin’ the car from goin’ off backwards and me with it.”

   “Yeah, I guess it is. Smart thinkin’. Be mighty serious if that I-beam were to break away.”


   The sheriff motioned towards the rear end. “Solid steel. Otherwise you’d have plunged right down into Land ‘O Lakes Creek. It’s a little shallow this time of year. I don’t recommend diving from this height.” He watched Deputy Parkay hazard a look in the rearview mirror. Relief flooded the young man’s cheeks.

    “Here comes Charlie. You want to get out and let him hook up?” the sheriff asked, opening the door.

    “You okay, son?” Bonnie asked as the two officers entered the jail an hour later. She fought to hide a grin. This boy got into more trouble than her three little butter buds combined. If he’d only learn how to drive in reverse.

   “Yes, ma’am.”

   Bonnie noticed he looked everywhere but at her. Embarrassment wasn’t anything new to Howard Parkay but she guessed it didn’t get any easier.

   “Anything come in while I was gone?” the sheriff asked.

   “Nice and peaceful here.”

   “Good. After all the excitement out at the bridge, I need a little quiet.” Butter ventured a look towards Sam’s cell. The old man was asleep.

   “I’m goin’ over to the garage, Bonnie. Ring me over there if something comes in."

    "You got it."


Tomorrow, I'll tell you the rest of Promise Bridge.

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