I remember when I felt that summer was a year. It ended though and school began.
I remember when the fall semester was a year. Christmas was the end of it.
I remember spring when green was the most impossible color and I couldn't help but stare at it.
I remember my first girlfriend, Sherry, and I loved her more than anything. Except Momma.
I remember falling into the storm shelter when the tornado was coming and I went entirely under water and came up to see row upon row of pickles.
I remember my first day at school and being late, but loving it after I got there.
I remember the men running across a field to put a grass fire out and the sound of the old gasoline pumping units.
I remember the horror of seeing a cow eat my book off of a fence post just before the bus came.
I remember the sound of the brakes on the bus. We could hear it from a mile away and knew it was ours.
I remember Momma washing my face with a wash rag moments before I was to do, meet, act, on anything.
I remember our old dog Buck and another dog Tuffy. They were absolute equals to me and my brothers and sometimes held higher position. Especially Buck since he was our Squirrel Dog and Dad loved him. If Dad did we did too.
I remember Chester the Rooster. The most lucky rooster that ever lived in our neighborhood on Whatley Road. . He learned to play piano at Randy's hands. That was before he ate a whole box of rat poison. He lived two more years still.
I remember how Danny could hoola hoop perfectly and I could hardly skip without falling down.
I remember asking Daddy what the "Red Light District" was at the end of our street.
I remember Randy being pushed in front of the right tire of the school bus and me screaming and the bus driver crying while he carried him in his arms. He had just gotten his leg brace removed and Momma was terrified for him.
I remember my brothers putting a live chicken in our neighbor's mailbox. Thankfully he saved the chicken. Later he gave us a baby goat. I cried when it didn't survive through winter even though I bottle fed it twice a day in the freezing cold.
I remember Officer Pitts coming to talk to Dad. Again and again.
I remember the three of us going across the street with a hatchet and cutting down a pine tree in our neighbors front yard so we could surprise Dad with a Christmas tree. He was very surprised, along with our next door neighbor.
I remember Dawson, with all her brothers. And her famous Dad. I remember Maurita and her sisters throwing us in the ditch if we passed in front of their house. They had the best plums on earth and they were worth the punishment. We called her Maurita the Mosquito Eater. It kind of rhymed.
I remember the hot tamale man who got in trouble for selling some sort of drugs. He must have been terribly unsuccessful as he lived in a house much smaller than ours. He was not a Mexican so that probably didn't help at all.
I remember a man who pulled up beside me as I walked to the pool on a summer day and asked me if I wanted a ride. He was very persistent. Still, I was told to never take a ride with anyone I didnt know. With time, afterwards, and now after all these years, knowing the heart of my Dad, I know I probably saved that assholes life that day.
I began to feel that life had a charmed edge to it. I had found a sort of religion by then. I knew most of the required words, at least. I asked questions and was verbally spanked. I didnt ask them again till maybe, now.
I was entrusted with guns. I could run with the squirrel dogs with grown men. I began carrying the squirrel bag if it wasnt too heavy. Then I began carrying an ax until I proved myself. Modern children had no need to prove themselves as they were simply given guns like they were equal.
We actually chopped trees down for squirrels in those days. Afterwards, when the sun was down, I held the legs while Dad cut and pulled the hide when we cleaned them. He would pull me all over the kitchen as I wasnt very strong then. I love the smell of the woods and of squirrels to this day. It is home and safety and life somehow. Momma was proud of us.
I remember when I got tired of the woods and aspired for something more. Boy Scouts.
I discovered I could make a camp and swim a mile. And Camp cook which was no surprise really.. Me and my brothers were actually advanced woodsmen due to Dad. We could find wild water to drink, Huckle
Berries, muskiedimes, and wild grapes. We could even survive on sour weeds.
I remember digging muscles from the river bottom and Uncle Donny cooking them on the bank. They tasted like crap. Still we were foragers.
Then black kids were introduced into our school.
We were scared to death. Hereto before, we were threatened with a beating if we should have even talked to a black kid. They were respectfully called negroes by my parents then. My parents didn't bad mouth black people and neither did we.
I was forced into the choir, though I didn't fight really hard. I wanted to take a shop class but I discovered I could sing.
Still I played football for Dad. If not badly.
I wasnt very good, at football. I did however excel at singing. I sung Latin, Italian and German songs that I didnt even know what the words meant. No matter, I went to Region that year and failed in All Area.
That was also the same year that the junior high got air conditioning. The elementary got nothing which was only right.
It was the year that blacks started carrying knives. Or at least they acted like they did. I don't know about the rest of guys but I believed them... They were black after all!
A bunch of buses were blown up near by and we were wide eyed wondering what it was all about.
I remember Viet Nam and us boys being young and wondering if it would still be blazing when we were of age. Sadly, we knew it would be over and we would have no war. Somehow we would miss this great event. We studied war comics and memorized weapons and vehicles nomenclature.
I remember the fear of the war looming up real and mysterious and my family being no safety at all. We were supposed to go to war cause the government said so. I learned my first lesson in how to say no. If only very quietly and luckily since my lottery numbers were very low that year. The next year Nixon was pressured to kill the draft.
I remember not trusting anyone older than me, for a long time. After all, I didn't put them in harms way the way they willing put me.
I remember red lights in a pasture. Me and my girl in the car seat trying to find the keys. It was the cops, and they accused of us cattle rustling. It wasn't funny that night. I owe those old men an ass kicking to this day.
I remember forgiving all the older ones. That was much later. We are all pawns it seems.
I had a great many secrets to keep. Some I had to swallow and digest and some that are still like a rock in my shoe.
I was an actor and singer in high school.
I remember moving away to sing and dance in an outdoor theatre. The money was so bad that I applied to the Marines. The recruiter smiled after I took the test and said I had no business being in the Marines and suggested the Airforce. I wish I had heard of the Coast Guard.
I starved awhile longer.
I found a job with a pizza place and met the mother of my children. She was so quiet yet had her own apt with cat. I met her little sister then running around naked after a bath. One of my fondest memories of those days. I carved my future wife a little guitar out of a piece of found wood. We were pretty poor in those days.
This is ongoing. I will be back. 3/14/11