Sunday, August 03, 2003

life of buddy don, chaptur 31:
ye aint born all grown up

uncle buster wuz the one taught me that sayin, n it has stood the test of time. i reckon he wuz a sayin it since ferever, but i dint notice it till we tuck that vega up to wartburg n sold it to his car lot. he give us $1500, witch twernt wurth half that only he fixed it up n sold it fer more n im glad he did. he n ant josie let us in n fed us cake n coffee n give us a check. i sed twuz a miss take to buy that car, n  uncle buster allowd i wuz rite bout that. then he sed i ought not wurry much over it on a counta ye aint born all grown up.

uncle buster wuz dads next younger bruther n they had em a relayshunship lack eli's n mine on a counta they wuz the furst two n born close tugether. uncle buster wuz a lot lack eli in other ways. they wuz both quick to anger n quick to make ye laff. fack is, uncle buster wuz the funniest man i wuz ever around. thay wuz times my ribs wood be achin frum the thangs he wood say n the stories he wood tell.

he had a red face on a counta he wuz always nursin a bottle of jack daniels n they say by time he died he had been a'drankin more'n a quart a day. i never noticed so i cant rightly say. whenever he n ant josie cum over to the house, he n daddy wood generly have a drank, beer mosly. he also had im a bisness, car dealership n he wuz known to everbidy in morgan county. he give $5 dollars to everybidy that stuck in skool long a nuff to git thar hi skool diploma. they wood see im n holler out 'got that five.'

tuther side of uncle buster wuz he dint lack jews, cathlicks or black folk, witch he called em 'nigger' only not round dad. n corse he wuz a publican lack the res of the duncans.

i always git uncle buster n my furst deevorce mixed in tugether on a counta he died bout a munth after darlene n me had dun seprated. fack is, i wuz in the mental health clink whenever it happened, n they had to git speshul per mishun fer me to go to the funerul.

how i cum to be in the mental healt clink wuz one weekend darlene sed she wood meet me out at the ranch n we could ride. point is, we wuz spozed to be spendin weekends tugether only it never seemed to wurk out. she had homewurk n who knows whut. i wood call the dorm, but she wuz never thar, n it gut me feelin blue. by then i wuz happy fer inny chants to see her n she wuz plannin on comin home with me.

then here she cum n theres a man holdin her hand n felt to me lack i dun been punched in the stumach. i wuz cleenin the stall n saw em walkin cross the yard twards the barn. n when they cum in to the barn, they let go thar hands n she called out to lil dude northfleet n then she saw me in the stall with him, witch i gut sos i would keep im in thar with me sumtimes while i wuz cleenin on a counta he lacked bein close to me.

twuz awkward to say the lease. i wuz hip deep in horseshit n here wuz this perfersser william striecher fer me to meet, n he cummenced to sayin i should call him bill but never dun it. i did cum out n leaned the shovel agin the stall n shuck his hand n ast whut did he teach n ackted lack i cared bout economix, witch it seemed lack everthang economix had in it wuz obveeus innywho. he had on a brand new cowboy hat n new boots n i could see he wuz much more serious bout bein a cowboy than me n i reckon that mint sumthin to darlene.

she tuck the horse n off they went. later on i seen him ridin that old blind mare they call whitey n he wuz sittin purty good till they gut em into a trot, n then he fell off n i half to add mitt it felt real good n poked a crule chuckle out of me. whitey stopped in waited while perfesser william streicher gut back up n they went off a gin. i wurked on the stall n waited n then put a saddle on a mare name of carla n rode up to the ridge n sat on the tree n waited fer em to be dun.

after an hour maybe a lil more i cum down. i knew darlene couldnt ride too long without gittin sore n she hadnt been out fer a while n shure a nuff, i seen em pullin the saddle off as i rode up. i tuck care of carla n had her brushed by time they had gut one of lil dude's back feet picked up sos they clean out his frog. lil dude aint used to em, n they wuz strugglin with him, witch that jes makes it wurse.

i wuz fixin to offer to hep em n had jus rounded the corner when i heard sumthin that stung me harder than a hornet wooda dun, jes a scrap of a sentents, jes perfesser william streicher a'astin her ifn she wuz a'gone be home that nite. twuz so cashul n so reglar, n thats whut hurt so.

darlene saw me a'cumin before she anserd n seem lack she wonted to shush im, n then he saw me n ast how wuz i.

'fair to middlin,' i lied. n whenever i gut close lil dude northfleet turnt my way n both darlene n perfesser wuz acktin lack they dun been caught pickin berries on the rong side of the fence, n they couldnt hardly move even, so i tuck the hoof pick n they stepped away while i tuck care of lil dude. n whenever they seen lil dude wuz happy in my care, they walked out twards the perfessers car. n i reckon they kissed good bye only i never seen it.

then here cum darlene jes lack we wuz a havin a date n her daddy had dun dropped her off. n ye kin jes magine how i wuz a feelin but i tole myself i had her cumin with me fer the momint n mayhap i wood git up the curge to tell her off good or to ast her to moov back in or whutever twuz i wuz a'wishin i had the guts to do bout the situwayshun.

but whut i dun wuz drive her out to my place, witch twuz the furst n last time she ever cum over thar, n i showed her roun n made hotdogs n pork n beans n tater chips n rc cola fer a late lunch n then we smoked a lil pot n then seem lack we couldnt find nuthin to say, so we listened to the billy joel piano man album on a counta twuz one of her faverts.

then fer sum reason i couldnt name neethur then nor now we wuz in the bed n she wuz urgin me on n i wuz wunderin how my hart could be so empty of desire n my bidy so swole up with it. but twuz lack that time with magda mruzinski n seem lack darlene couldnt take my not reachin climax fer a anser n it gut so i wonted to pertend, but i startid crine in sted. n she held me n then she wuz crine n then i tole her i knew twuz over n that she wuz a livin with him, witch i dint know nuthin of the kind ceptn i figgered it had to be. n she cride harder n allowed twuz true. n we wuz nekkid n lyin thar still joined tugether n her moovin ever now n agin n ye could see she wuz egcited even spite of herself n her tears.

n then we wuz a laffin at ourself n fer a mint we wuz talkin lack we wuz the worls oldest friends n we knew everthang.

n then we kissed n twuz gentle n i sumtimes wunder ifn i hadnt had to ruin it n tell her i luved her, n wood do innythang to get her back, n that i dint wont a open marrg, n that i luved her, n that i couldnt live without her, n when i started a'sayin i loved her the third time, she put her fanger to my lips n stopped me.

n i could see how twuz n then i knew she n perfesser william streicher wuz a gone marry, witch they dunnit in fack n far as i know they lived happy ever after. n that dont bother me nun now, but then twuz more'n i could take.

i wuz suddenly so angry i bit her fanger, not hard, but she felt it n pullt away. n then everthang wuz cold n she wuz a gittin dresst n then i wuz puttin on my cloze too n then we were in the car. i ast whar i should take her, n she sed the dorm lack twuz as natcherul as innythang.

'but ye dont stay thar nun,' i sed, n she denide it n then fer the furst time in years we gut into a fuss n fite n tole each uther everthang we'd been savin up n twuz devestatin to bofus, only thang wuz, by time we wuz three quarters dun with the fuss n fite we wuz thar so we finisht the altercayshun n i tole her id see her ifn i did n not ifn i dint but she dint say nuthin.

as i wuz drivin home i magined her reackshun ifn i wuz to kill myself. maybe then she'd unnerstan how i wuz feelin, a wontin sumthin that wuz dun alreddy ded.

but i gut back home ok n played peeano fer a bit n then lay down fer a nap befor a'goin to wurk.

i wuz tired walkin in to wurk. by time strang cum by to see me, i wuz feelin so low ye wooda needed a ex ackto knife to scrap me up. n he seen it n he had im a idee whut twuz so he cummenced to pokin round the issue n nex thang ye know i wuz crine my eyes out lack i wuz a lil child that had dun jes lost his mama. n strang tole me i dint have to figger thisn all out by my ownself n that thay wuz peeple could hep, n he tole me bout a speshul progrum they had em thar at carbide, n long story short, whenever mornin cum he tuck me over to the dispensry n purty soon they had dun tuck me over to the oak ridge mental health clinic.

whenever i found myself thar, seemed lack twuz the lowest i had yet dun gone. why i wuz out frum wurk wuz a secret to everbidy but my boss at wurk, but everbidy knew sumthin wuz rong n turnt out i wood be out fer a while.

n that;s when uncle buster died. fack is, eli wuz by his side whenever he passed on.

the story of elis transformayshun is gone half to be tole purty soon, but fer now, i'll jes say he had dun had it n he wuz in a faze of it whar he dun lots of good thangs fer other folk.  him n uncle buster wuz always a lot alike so eli went down to the vanderbilt hospitul, witch thats whar uncle buster went to die. n he red one zane grey or louis l'amour novel after a nuther till uncle buster had dun swole up frum kidney failure, witch they say he died frum that only twuz his liver that give out on him furst.

corse, he claimt that whut wuz a'killin him wuz a havin to quit drankin cold turkey, n that mite could be fer all i know. they say he wuz deeliryus fer two weeks at the beginnin of the ordeel.

but eli wuz thar the hole time n he wood read n pray over uncle buster n talk n listen to whutever uncle buster had to say. n then uncle buster told eli he wuz a'gone take a lil walk. n then he rolled over n died.

eli cum to git me n drive me home whenever they let me loose fer the funerul, n twuz a humiliayshun at the time fer eli to be drivin me since everbidy knew he wuz the one with the mental problems.

the funerul wuz in wartburg n jes about everbidy ceptn uncle jeffs furst fambly wuz thar. n they played taps n seemed lack i saw a tear in daddy's eye fer the furst time in my life, twuz a awful thang to see.

n the revernd spoke a prayer over the casket n then whenever he had everbidys a tenshun, he startid tellin thangs bout uncle buster.

n one of the furst thangs he mentshunned wuz how uncle buster used to always say 'ye aint born all grown up.' n frum that he made a hole sermun n seem lack it twuz a'hittin home with me. n he spoke bout whut kinda man uncle buster wuz n how he wuz always trine to improov hisself n be a lil more n how he wood add mitt whenever he wuz wrong, n he wood say, 'well, ye aint born all grown up.'

n then that preechur tole many of the good thangs uncle buster did, the peeple he helped, the loans he fergut, the whiskey he shared, witch everbidy laffed whenever the revernd sed that.

n then he sed he reckoned twuz true how ye aint born all grown up, but ye gut to be lack uncle buster n keep a'growin till the day ye die. n mayhap ifn ye do, ye kin die all grown up.

n that gut me headed the rite die reckshun fer a bit. i gut out of the mental health clink n wuz a doin purty good.

then one cold day in december i called darlene n ast could we git a deevorce, n i wonted her to say no we couldnt, but she sed she guessed we oughta but she wuz busy jes then n woodnt be able to do nuthin bout the deevorce till sprang. n that seemed so hartless n cold, so i tole her, only she couldnt unnerstan the big hurry.

n whenever she sed that, i could see how our deevorce wuz jes anuther thang lack goin to the dentist, sumthin she wood half to face sooner or later. n seem lack i gut sadder n sadder n gut to whar i knew she wuz rite n that deevorce wuz jes one more thang to be dun. how i wished twuz over or never had to be.

n then i gut to wishin the same thang bout myself. i could be over or never half to be. n i wuz astin myself whuts the point of bein alive ifn ye cant feel nuthin but pain?

bout then i wuz cumin up on k-25. n whut happened next wuznt sumthin i planned or even knew i wuz a'gone do till the mint i dun it. seemed lack i wuz jes a thankin bout her n how i hurt n how i wonted to hurt her jes as bad. n then i sed i wonted to know whut cums nex after this life. n then i shouted i wonted the pain to be over. n i jammed on the gas n twisted the steerin wheel to the rite n crashed hed on into a tree. n deesurved to be ded, but wuz barly hurt even tho the injun wuz steemin in the frunt seat. twuz a miracle.

or mayhap twernt, but when i had crawled out the window n felt the splash of rain on my face n herd the echo of my voice sreamin fer damnayshun n reelized i had been turnt down, well, i startid into feelin blessed n realizin that life itself is the miracle.

n i felt brand new, as ifn i had dun been reborn.

i walked out in the rain n thumbed a ride to oak ridge. a pickup truck full of miners stopped n picked me up. they saw the blood on my face n shirt n they could see the car steamin next to the tree, so they ast whut happened. i tole em i had lost control of the car in the rain n the driver sed i wuz lucky n i needed to be keerful. i tole him i wuz a'gone to be real keerful frum then on. then i sed i speckted i wood make more miss takes.

n he ast how cum, n i sed on a counta ye aint born all grown up.

n everbidy wuz quite fer a mint, n then the driver sed he allowed twuz true, n he sed he lacked the sayin, n he ast whut twuz n i repeated it. n we drove to oak ridge n i gut out n fainted.

n the driver stayed n when i cum around he sed he reckoned he wood git movin, but he jes stood lookin down at me.

'i lack that one,' he sed, n i ast him witchn. 'ye aint born all grown up. it bears repeatin.' then he lef n i wuz alone. n that wuz the momint i grew up a nuff to know i wood survive frum the pain of loosin darlene.

tiz many a year since then, n i still aint all grown up.

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