Jun 4, 2011

Tearful Lamont Area Shocked, Grief-Stricken Upon News Of Tragic Passing Of TV Icon

Flags were immediately lowered to half mast amid the sounds of wailing sobs and gnashing of teeth when word leaked out that one of the mainstays of the local culture, a true American icon in his own right, James Arness, died comfortably in his sleep at 88, and not somehow defending the decidedly tarnished honor of Miss Kitty or getting his somewhat malodorous sidekick Festus out of one of those scrapes he got himself into in almost every episode. Arness, who appeared in 34 films, 12 television shows and five Gunsmoke made-for-TV movies, achieved an even more vaulted status in the Greater Lamont Metropolitan Area (GLMA) where his portrayal of the towering Dodge City lawman with a heart of gold (and a six-shooter always at the ready!!) served as some sort of transformational influence and manly role model for area farmers/ranchers to revere and idolize, for whatever reason, given that he is just a fictional character.

“Dang it all, where was Doc when the Marshall was laid low? Where was that infernal saw-bones when the big man needed him to work his feeble magic?” shouted Goober Snopes, 56, an area rancher and co-chair of the Greater Lamont Bovine Association (GLBA), an area social and cultural organization. “I always knew that man was too weak and fumbling to come thru in a clutch! Oh, and poor Miss Kitty! I bet that poor fallen woman is just beside herself! I am sure she is driving herself into the poor house by giving away free shots of whiskey to every two-bit wrangler, thieving outlaw and no-good cattle rustler in a vain attempt to assuage her crushing grief - even though the Marshall never married her and made her an honest woman, although any dern fool could sense the romantic tension between the two of them! Oh, and I just know that Festus has gone back to the bottle again! He won’t live out the week, not with the good-hearted tomfoolery he manages to get himself into! Oh, this is just terrible! Oh, does this mean that those Gunsmoke marathons are going to decrease in frequency now that the best actor in the history of the stage has gone to the Pearly Gates?? If so, all I have to say is “Marshall, I ain’t far behind ya, brother!” he stammered tearfully, obviously suffering a broken heart and a somewhat misplaced sense of reality in the modern media age. “Oh, and what am I supposed to do with those three cases of pork rinds that UPS delivered to my single-wide just last week? It would be dang disloyal to partake in the delicate yet savory treats while watching any other show! I would feel like I was doing the Marshall and Miss Kitty dirty if I consumed my usual 3-4 bags watching ‘Big Valley’, ‘Bonanza’, ‘Wagon Train’, ‘Rawhide’ or ‘The Rifleman’! I just can’t soil the man’s memory like that!! Oh, what will I do with my life now? Now all I have is just sitting around the house, listening to the wife jabber on about how much she hates Lamont and to listen to all her insane plans for undermining the town so that they don’t ever have to use fire hydrants after all, their roads decay faster than expected, and that dern library with all that fancy book learning don’t ever get built! What sort of life is that for a rugged individualist battling the elements in the great American frontier, anyway? Oh, this is a dark day for all humanity, indeed! The end times are really upon us, just like my preacher at the area Cattleman’s church says! Oh, may the Lord have mercy on us all!” he whispered, gazing skyward with a look of a decidedly guilty man being unceremoniously frog-marched to the waiting gallows.

Those were not the only tears to be shed on the passing of this great man. At the American Pork Rind Association headquarters in Pigeon Forge, TN, ironically also home to that rancher vacation paradise “Dollywood”, gallons of moonshine were being sloshed around and several people were reported to have thrown themselves out of headquarter's windows (Thank goodness the building is only a single story!!!) because well over 90% of the nation’s pork rinds are consumed by farmers/ranchers in the Lamont area – and market research indicates that 90% of those are scarfed down during episodes of Gunsmoke! “Oh, we are ruined! Our once proud fried pig skin industry is going to the dustbin of history!” said a national pork rind spokesperson. “Darn you Marshall Dillon! Why couldn’t you live forever? Oh, what will we do now - especially since the Chinese have too much sense to eat fried pork skin?” she sobbed uncontrollably.

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