I’m calling this “Part 2” as if there had actually been a part one.  I like it that way.  I’m doing it.

Yesterday I mentioned that this is one of the funniest stories ever.  It is.  And like Welty’s “Petrified Man,” another of the funniest stories ever, it all comes down to the dialogue.  The woman just had these people pegged.

William Wallace Jamieson and his friend Virgil engage in a steady flow of lines like “What she knows ain’t ever killed her yet” and (in reference to why Hazel might have drowned herself after her husband stayed out all night) “she was waiting to take advantage.”

Even innocuous lines like “I was always scared of the Malones…too many of them” had me laughing. There are a lot of Malones around here, you know.

Then there is the wise doctor who, when Virgil notices that William Wallace is enjoying dragging the river for his potentially drowned wife, says, “The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.”  And there it is…our nugget of meaning we’re left to ponder in the wake of the humor.

Maybe we’re even meant to ponder like Edna Earle of Welty’s Ponder Heart might.  She enjoys a sidebar moment in “The Wide Net” when Virgil says, “She’s a lot smarter than her cousins in Beulah…And especially Edna Earle, that never did get to be what you’d call a heavy thinker.  Edna Earle could sit and ponder all day on how the little tail of the ‘C’ got through the ‘L’ in a Coca-Cola sign.”

Good stuff.  Funny stuff.  As previously suggested, read it!