News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 10, 2011

REDNECK QUAKER: The morel of the story: Blame mushroom-related pranks on a fun guy

Kenny Bayless
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — I am looking for the right words to describe the person that told me this mushroom story. He directs about 35 redneck mechanics at his work and he does not do it by yelling, screaming, threatening or using any other ill manner. He doesn’t come across as a boss, but as a friend. He listens to your problems and ideas while leading with inspiration. He will come out of his office to take a break with the guys and be one of them. He truly cares about his people.

You could see the twinkle in his eye as he threw his head back laughing while telling this story. At the time of this story, he worked as an appliance repairman and had an office on the south side of Terre Haute associated with Ben Harlan’s house trailer sales.

Jack had returned to the office after doing some service calls and was sitting at his desk when Ben Harlan and Tom Wilbur came back from a day of golf. Of course they bragged on how good of golfers they were while taking different items, such as golf tees, out of their pockets and placing them on Jack’s desk.

Well, they had found a few very nice mushrooms also, which they laid on the desk. Jack got busy taking phone calls and while talking on the phone, without thinking he shoved a golf tee into one of the mushrooms with the hole from the tee closing up in the mushroom after it went all the way through, so when you shook the mushroom it rattled around inside.

There again, not thinking, Jack just set it back on the desk, and off he went to another service call. After Jack returned again, Tom Wilbur met him at the door all excited, saying Ben Harlan was going to be famous and was about to go on television with Court McCord (local broadcaster) about the mushroom he found with a golf tee inside. It was a one of a kind, and he was going on the air in about 10 minutes.

Well picture this, Jack hits the ground laughing with Tom Wilbur thinking he just lost his mind. After Jack confessed to Tom on how the golf tee got into the mushroom, he wanted to leave town. Jack said let Ben have his day in the light and it will be their own little secret but Tom being the true friend that his is he called the television station and diverted the story of the day.

Jack said Ben was so upset at him he is just starting to talk to him again and that happened years ago.

OK, you’re saying who is Jack? Jack Roberts is the guy, so if he can pull a prank on someone it makes his day. He is an avid horseman and devoted to his church and family, a one of a kind.

Kenny Bayless can be reached by e-mail at