Two sisters, Southern Belles, inherit the family ranch. Unfortunately, after just a few years, they are in financial trouble. To keep the bank from repossessing the ranch, they need to purchase a bull from another part of the state to breed with their own stock.
They have only $600 to make the purchase. As she is leaving, one sister tells the other, “When I get there, if I decide to buy the bull, I’ll contact you to drive out after me and haul it home.”
The first sister arrives at the stockyard, inspects the bull, and decides she wants to buy it. The man tells her that he will sell it for $599, no less. After paying him, she drives to telegraph office to send her sister a telegram to tell her the news. She walks into the telegraph office and says, “I want to send a telegram to my sister telling her that I’ve bought a bull for our ranch. I need her to hitch the trailer to our pickup truck and drive out here so we can haul it home.”
The telegraph operator explains that he’ll be glad to help her, then adds, “It’s just 99 cents a word.” After paying for the bull, she has only $1 left, so she realizes that she’ll only be able to send her sister just one word.
“Wait just a minute,” she says, as she steps away to figure out what the telegram should say.
After a few minutes of thought, she steps back up to the counter and says, “I want you to send her the word ‘comfortable.'”
The operator shakes his head. “How is she ever going to know that you want her to hitch the trailer to your pickup truck and drive out here to haul that bull back to your ranch if you send her just the word ‘comfortable’?”
“We’re from the south, sir. We don’t rush things. She’ll read it very slowly: ‘com-for-da-bull’!”