Doc Adams sat at a table with Deputy Festus Haggen, in the Long Branch Saloon. Doc was going through a dictionary, trying to look up a word.
"Whatcha readin' thar, Doc?" Festus asked, before taking a swig on his glass of beer.
"Well Festus, I'm not actually reading anything." he answered, as he looked up at the deputy. "I'm trying to look up---
"Well Doc, iffin you ain't a readin' that thar book, whatcha keep flippin' through the pages fer?" Festus said, as he slowly sat his beer down on the table.
"I'm flipping through the pages and trying to find a word, that's what I'm trying to---
"Why Doc, thars words rit down on ever page, iffin ya haven't noticed." he said, pointing to the dictionary that the doctor slammed shut.
"I know that, dang it Festus!" the doctor stormed. "Haven't you ever looked in a dictionary to look up a . . . never mind, you probably don't even know what a dictionary is."
"I shar do know whut one is Doc, I just never trusted one of 'em to be right." Festus said, as the docs eyes shot upwards.
"Never trusted a dictionary to be right, never trusted a---
"Just think about it Doc." Festus said, before he took another swig of his beer. "How do you know if the feller who rit down them thar words writ 'em right?"
Doc Adams mouth gaped opened wide and he was momentarily speechless as he rubbed his chin with his left hand.
"Well I've never . . . in my life . . . ever heard such a thing!" he stammered, as he gazed over at Miss Kitty who was standing behind the bar with Sam, trying awful hard, not to laugh.
"Why don't you see, Doc." Festus said, as sat his beer back down on the table. "The feller who writ them thar words could have writ them down all wrong, and you or I'd never know it."
"How do you figure that Festus?" the doctor asked, as he looked down at the dictionary, and then back up at Festus, not really wanting to know.
"Well, he writ the city slicker vershun Doc." Festus answered, and Miss Kitty dropped to the floor with tears in her eyes.
You mean to tell me that there's a country version, Festus?" the doctor asked as he rubbed his chin again.
"Well Doc, that's why I don't trust a dictionary to be rit right, causin iffin it whar to be rit right, it'd be filled with contry words the way us contry folks says 'em." Festus explained, as Sam helped Miss Kitty to get back up on her feet.
"Is that right?" Doc asked, as he looked over at Miss Kitty who had been crying tears of laughter and still couldn't stop.
"The feller who rit them thar city words can't be to edgykated Doc, causin he never rit down one word in that thar book that I can understand."
"Tell me something Festus, say I'm wanting to spell alligator, how would you spell---
"Well Doc, thar you go again." Festus said, as he finished off his beer. "Why would us contry folk, here in Dodge City, want to spell alleygateher fer?"
"Just spell the dang word for me Festus, it dosen't matter why I want you to spell---
"You ornery ole scutter!" Festus blasted. "Then why do ya want me ta spell it fer, iffin it don't matter---
"Just spell it, that's all I want you to do Festus, just spell it!" Doc Adams blasted back, as Marshall Dillon walked into the saloon.
"Well, that'd be easy nuff to spell fer ya Doc, let's see, eye tea, it." Festus said, as he smiled and dipped his head in satisfaction.
"Why do I even bother with you." Adams said, as Matt sat down at the table.
"What's up Doc, Festus?" Matt said, as Sam came over to take his order.
"Math-Hew, Doc is a havin' truble spellin' the word it." Festus spoke up before the doctor could answer.
"Why don't he use a dictionary, Festus?" Matt asked, as Sam stood by his side.
"I asked Festus to spell alligator for me and he couldn't even---
"Now lets see Doc, a.l.l.e.y.g.a.t.e.h.e.r. alleygateher, thar ya go." Festus said, as Miss Kitty dropped once again behind the bar. "And I bet it's not even spelt like I spelt it, all contry like."
"You sure got that right." Doc Adams said, as he arose from the table and snatched up the dictionary.
"And I was looking up the word alzheimer's, for your information." the doctor said, as he started to turn from the table.
"Thar ya go again, trying to use the city slicker vershun, when it's as plain as the white hair on yer---
"Alright dag nabbit, spell it for me then, if you're so dad blamed educated---
"I done spelt . . . it . . . fer ya Doc, a while ago, eye tea." Festus said, as he looked up at poor Doc Adams. "Are ya hearin' okay today?"
"Festus, how would you spell alzheimers for the doc?" Matt asked, as Miss Kitty leaned over the bar while Sam decided to take a seat at the next table.
"Well Math-Hew, first off, a feller'd need to know how many hammers Al has?" Festus answered, as Miss Kitty hit the floor, laughing again.
"See Matt, see what I've got to put up with!" Doc Adams thundered, as he left the Long Branch in a huff.
"Somethuns mighty wrong with the doc, Math-Hew." Festus said, as he gazed over at the marshall. "This makes the secont time he asked me ta spell . . . it . . . fer him. He's a gittin awful fergetful now days. No wunder he's a carryin' that thar dictionary around."