There were a surprising number of unpaved residential streets in my county in 2004 (although most have since been asphalted). When the roads got too disheveled, the municipality would usually dispatch a grader to scrape and smooth things out.

Dirt roads are kind of neat ... I guess. As long as you don’t live on them, or have to drive on them every day. In advanced stages of disrepair, they can be hard on the spine. Though I guess you could say the same thing about paved roads. You know what, just forget I brought it up.

Anyway, let’s see what Georgia and Loretta are up to. Doodlydoodlydoodly ...

You can’t see it, because I cut out a couple of strips from this sequence, but Georgia’s wearing an Our Lady of Mount Carmel shirt. This is irrelevant to the story, but I figured I’d point it out.

Remember a couple strips back when Maureen got herself a job as a rural mail carrier? And remember at the top of the page when the grader was scheduled to smooth out the road? You do? Great. Prepare for convergence.

And she doesn’t. She eventually makes her way into town, and stops at a diner for some eats.

When suddenly ... MURDER.

The local radio station, to which the diner has been tuned, issues a news alert about a dead body found outside of town. Diner debate ensues.

The “dead body” plot goes no further. Because, really, what else can you do with a dead body? Don't answer that.

Elsewhere, the local school board meeting commences ...

I was really into tracking local political machinations at the time these strips were drawn, even attending public meetings of various governing bodies, figuring myself a sort of gadfly-in-training. It never panned out, but these strips are a relic of that more innocent time when I thought I could make a difference.

Later, the effects of the board meeting are felt by Jerry and Loretta when the first day of school rolls around ...

I can’t think of a way to segue from school overcrowding into the next couple of strips, so ...

Halloween!

Clarification, just in case: Kids who live in rural, sparsely populated areas usually have no choice but to be chauffeured from house to house / neighborhood to neighborhood by their parents or guardians. Lest you wonder why Loretta and Jerry are making such a big deal about planning out their route.

Election day strip thrown in for good measure. Oh wait, it’s also got a sick day theme. Two for the price of one.

This strip was borne of the fact that my co-worker liked country music, and she would tune in a country station at work every single day. To put it as kindly as possible, I could not see the appeal.

Oh hey, it looks like a plot is heading our way. Let’s watch.

Maureen cutting her hair with a bowl still amuses me after all these years. As you can tell, I am easily amused.

Oh my God, I’ve drawn a lot of newspapers over the years. I just realized that.

Anyway ...

And we wrap up 2004 on a Holly Jolly sort of note.


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