Wednesday, June 25, 2003

life of buddy don, chaptur 1:
leevin home

whenever i had jes turnt 18 i figgered twuz time to be leevin home on a counta i had to proov to my daddy that i cud live my own life. tiz one of the oldest reasons in the worl to leev out, n twuz a nuff fer me. heres howt happened.

twuz a cold day in january n i had to go to skool. i knew i wuz a'gonna be leevin that day, but i clumb up on the skool bus with my bruthers n sisters as if i twere any other day. i wuz a seenyer by then n didnt thank twuz cool to hang round with my siblings so twuz easy to pertend like i wuz gone to skool n then skip out. the walk home wuz long n i wuz scairt of bein caught inny mint, but a corse, nobidy wuz pain much tenchun to me. tuck me bout an hour of walking in the rain to git home, whar i tuck a nuther shower n got dresst n tuck my daddys duffle bag n filled it with cloze n books n a box of moon pies. dint leev no note nor nuthin.

the bus stop wuz a fur piece n the rain woodnt stop. twuz cold a nuff that the rain wuz makin ice, so i wuz trine to hitch a ride. thay was a blue car cum by n slowd down, but on it went. i walked n thumbed n purty soon, here cum the same blue car agin, slowd down, drove on. i wuz a'thankin twuz somebidy who knew my daddy or mama n felt sartin i wuz bout to be caught, speshly when the same blue car cum round agin. this time it stopped n the driver sed to git in.

i put the duffle in the back seat n got in the frunt. the driver tole me he wuz a revernd down to the suthern baptist church n he kindly knew whar i wuz a'goin n even tho he musta thought i wuz a'doin the wrong thang, he tuck me to the grayhoun stayshun. he tried to talk sum sense into me, but that had dun been tried n failt. so he give me sum bible trax bout how i wuz the caboose of the train o'life n how i needed jesus fer cunducter or else the train wood git lost. i tuck em n thankt him fer the ride n got out to buy my bus ticket.

by that time in life, i'd saved up $73, so ye kin magine how it hurt to fine out the ticket cost $72.20, leevin me 80 cent to git to californy, which is whar i thunk i oughta be, a followin in the footprints of other famous hillbillies frum tennessee. corse, i wuznt bound fer no beverly hills, not with 80 cent n a box of moon pies to my name. so i give my duffle bag to the bus driver, who stowed it in the baggage bin underneath the bus, n clumb abord fer a 61-hour ride. i stowed the bibl trax in the pouch of a seat next to mine thankin maybe sum one else cud use em bettern me.

we left bout 11 o'clock in the mornin. by 6 pm we wuz in nashvull n i wuz hungriern id ever bin. taint that i never went hungry on a counta i wuznt the eaziest kid to raze, n aint as ifn our fambly wuznt poor a nuff to feel hard times, but no matter how bad thangs got, we could always eat taters n beans, witch my daddy cud grow bout anythang, speshly taters n beans, so we'd never missed more'n a meal fer miss behavin. so i et one of my moon pies. ifn ye ever had one, ye know tiz sweet n sticky n all, witch the main thang it dun wuz turn my stumick sour n make me wisht i had sum reel food.

we made it to texarkana by next mornin. by then id made friens with sum of them other folk on the bus, n one guy who seemt a wee dab too frienly bought me a cup of coffee. twuz the furst id ever had n i wuz so grateful i dint think to ask fer anythang innit. been a'drankin my coffee black ever since. called my mama with my 80 cent n she cried n wunderd why n all that, but twuz the way the worl wurks n she knew it deep down inside so she never yellt nor said inny discourgin wurds tho she did wunder wuther id stole the moon pies, witch funny thang wuz, i wuz tempted to lie bout it but i cum cleen n had to listn to how that mint my bruthers n sisters'd have to do without n bout then my money run out so the conversayshun ended without us a'sayin good bye n all or even i luv you.

spite of the intrest of the one fella that bought me coffee, i jes kep gittin hongrier and hongrier till we pickt up a fella name of jimmy smith in paris texas.

'ye kin call me claude' he tole me whenever he settled in to the seat next to mine. he wuz dressd up lack a army man n turnt out he wuz on his way to veet nam. we rode a while makin the kine of conversayshun ye make with sum one ye dont know n wont see agin till he finely said he wuz so hungry he cud eat a horse. i figgerd he cud use a moon pie so i give him one. he ate it in about a bite n he could see thay wuz more in the box, so i give him a nuthern n tried to keep up even tho my stumick was a'gettin more'n more sour by the bite n long story short, we et up all'm moon pies before we got to dallas.

i wuz feelin sick n wishin i hadnt et all my food n wunderin if i wuz gone loose it by upchuckin, but i hung on. meanwhile, jimmy -- call me claude -- fished out them trax n started a'goin on bout how portant jesus wuz n how messed up the cuntry wuz n how thays women out thar whos on drugs n such lack n ye caint truss em n how he wuz betrayed by one n he wuz a'gettin lowder n lowder till i tuck the trax n ast him did he have jesus fer a cunducter his ownself n he lafft n sed 'how could a train go anywhar but whar the trax went?' n then he was on to unions n how ye dint really need all em wurkers on the train innyways. caint say i wuz keepin up with the finer points of his talk but i let him carry on till he wuz tard n fell asleep.

we got to dallas finely whar thay was a layover for bout three hours so i got off n went a walkin roun till i foun a bookstore whar i lookt thru a few books a hopin to distrack myself frum how hungry i wuz. i member lack twuz yesterdy i wuz lookin at cats' cradle by kurt vonnegut n suddenly, thar wuz claude a holdin out his last $8.35, witch he give me sayin he woodnt need it whar he wuz a'goin n he wuz thankful fer them moon pies i give him n while i wuz a'sayin but, but, but, he walked into a crowd n dispeared ferever.

furst thang, i bought the book. then i went outside to look fer sum food.

twuz a part of town whar everbidy was a negro (later thayd a bin black n even later thayd a bin african amurkin but this wuz 1970). i hadnt ever seen so many folks that wuznt white folks befor but seemed lack thay wuz folks n right away i foun a place that wuz sellin chili dogs n french fried taters so i went in n everbidy was a'lookin at me but i wuz too hungry to care. went up to ast fer a chili dog but thar wuz a fuss n fight a'goin on tween a woman n the manjer bout she couldnt pay all her bill n i wuz so hungry i ast how much did she lack n whenever thay said twuz 35 cent, i paid it n made my order n ate. the lady lef after thankin me till i was embarrsed.

i felt rich the res of the trip. dint go hungry agin. n after 61 hours, the bus let us out in the lost angels bus stop at 3 in the mornin. i dint know it then, but twernt a place to be a'walkin n luggin roun a duffle bag. n i dint know how yung i wuz till i had a 18 year old boy of my own. i dint have no money. dint know whar to go. dint know how much danger thay wuz in the worl. but i wuz glad to be innit finely.

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