* 'TIS A GIFT TO BE FUNNY: Last night I drove to Midway to listen to David Kline, an Amish farmer from Ohio. He came to Utah to lecture, read from his books and answer any and all questions about the Amish communities in America.

He's not an official ambassador for the Amish, but he should be. He was warm, witty, wise - all good things we associate with good people.He even told a hilarious Amish joke - hilarious to the Amish.

Seems a kid left the Amish community to attend college and learn to be a more efficient farmer. Once back home, he was hauling a load of hay along the road when the wagon tipped and hay fell all over the place.

Panicked, the boy ran home, grabbed his textbook and looked under the chapter "When hay falls off wagon." There he read: "When hay falls off the wagon, reload the hay."

The Amish leave school after the eighth grade to learn traditional farming methods from their elders, Kline said. So when he tells that college kid joke to the folks back home, they slap their knees and throw babies in the air.

The reaction in Midway was a little more restrained.

* ROAST BEEF: Last week, the City Art Reading Series held a roast in Salt Lake City to honor my old college mentor, poet Ken Brewer of Utah State University.

Some 25 years ago Brewer took me under his wing and taught me how to put sentences together.

But he has also given me a few shots under the chin down the years.

As a starry-eyed young poet concerned with immortality, I once paid Brewer $10 to write an epitaph for me I could one day use.

He wrote the most disgusting epitaph ever penned in the history of the planet.

When I injured my ear getting out of a car not long ago, he delivered a five-minute lecture on why they shouldn't let big-eared people drive cars. "You never see elephants behind the wheel," he scolded.

So, Ken old friend, here's to you.

You were quite a teacher.

Without you, Ken, I wouldn't be where I am today.

I'd be working for Time Magazine or the New York Times.

* QUOTE OF THE DAY: It's June, and that means a lot of June-moon nuptials.

Needless to say, books of the topic are now filling up shelves all over town. I saw one yesterday, "Meditations of the First Years of Marriage."

I'm not sure newlyweds will take a lot of encouragement from the book, however. It's a bit of a downer. Take this quote from Max Beerbohm:

There is much to be said for failure. It is more interesting than success.

By that measure, I've lived one of the most interesting lives around.