Monday, November 10, 2003

life of buddy don, chaptur 72:
beerds of a feather


one of the mos sprizin thangs that happened in the fall of 1977 wuz randy fox gittin marrd. he had dun disappeared, falln right off the earth as far as we could tell, n we hadnt seen im in munths. then one day he cums over n woodnt take a toke with us n sed he wuz gittin marrd to a woman name of jenny skinner frum over in harriman. his bruther wuz a'gone be bes man, witch we dint know he even had a bruther till then, n he wonted me n virgil to be ushers in the weddin party, n corse, we wuz reddy to hep innyhow we could.


i wuz happy fer my frien whenever he tole us bout gittin marrd, tho it did seem to be a bit of a stretch frum whar he wuz las time i had seen im. ye mite coulda thought he wooda been ded by then, but tiz one thang to lode yer gun, a nuther to stick it into yer mouth n pull on the trigger.


we pesterd him with questchuns lack whar had he met her n had he known her befor n such lack, but the ansers dint stick with me. seems now lack it did then that he musta met her one evenin proposed the nextn. turnt out he had been a'knowin her frum roane state communty collidge n we tride, but couldnt a one of us member who she wuz, witch twuz on a counta her not bein a smoker of theevil weed. n she wuznt yer flashy type, so twernt lack sum of them 'church women,' as sum of us called em whenever we wuz talkin bout the purty gurls that got all dressed up to go to skool n dint lack to drank nor smoke nor do much of innythang we thought wuz fun. we mite speckulate on how twood be to git a date with one n show her how to have a good time, but nobidy never dun nuthin bout it.


ceptn fer fox, n he had dun started makin eyes with this jenny skinner woman, n thang bout randy fox wuz how he had these green eyes that women jes luved lookin into. he wuz a big boned fella who looked bout rite when he weighed in round 230 lbs. he walked with a limp, witch twuz sumthin we shared whenever the weather wuz jes rite on a counta how my lef laig, witch thats the one i broke in that motorsickle acksident, wood git to achin n make me walk a lil funny too. but he never did nuthin but limp on it, n the thang i member mos bout im is the way he wood seem to lif up his lef shoulder n swang his laig roun in frunt n then take a step. n thay wuz plenty of times he wood carry a walkin stick n put it down on the groun n kindly jump his right laig roun in frunt of im.


turnt out this jenny skinner wuz a nurse practishuner, witch thats one that aint ritely a docter but knows bout as much n kin practice at bein the real thang, or sumthin lack that. i never really gut it figgerd cumpletely, n i thank god i dint half to spend a nuff time in hospitals to figger it out. but fer randy, twernt nuthin that could be better fer im on a counta he had moren more medicin he wuz takin all the time n he wood go under the knife bout once or twice a year, sumtimes jes to let his docters take a look, sumtimes to git a new piece of plastick put in to ack lack his femur. he used to joke bout how he oughta have a zipper installed, n in summer time he lacked to wear shorts now n then so he could make everbidy look at how awful them scars wuz.


innywho, he sumtimes gut into thankin bout how he wuz a loser at life on a counta how he wuz dependent on drugs n couldnt hold a job past the nex surgry n all, so he always figgered thay wuznt no way no woman wood wonta git hitched with him.


but i wood always tell him bout how women wood talk bout his eyes n how he mite seem lack a hells angel or sumthin, but his eyes wuz gentle as a baby lambs n it made women wonta see could they fix him up. tiz a rule i wooda added to my rules on how women wurks ifn i had knowed it back whenever i wuz puttin them rules down, witch women luvs to take on a projeck in a man to see kin they fix him, witch thats why sum of em lacks to marr gay men n sum of em lacks to marr outlaws n sum of em lacks to marr drunkerds n sum even lacks to marr them that beats em up. i cant splain why this should be, but i have seen it many a time.


jes to show ye how sorry we had becum as fans of them vols, he gut marrd on the thurd saturdy in october n dint nobidy say twuz a bad day on a counta twuz the day alabama n tennessee played football, or as folks mite coulda sed in them days, twuz the day bama wood give tennessee thar annual whuppin, on a counta lack everbidy knows n cant seem to fergit, twuz durin the darkest days of that rivalry when bear bryant wuz still alive n luved to tortcher tennessee. he wood say thangs bout his team to sports illustrated lack, 'we aint gut much this year,' n then cum n whup us with his furst n secunt n thurd strang players, n i mean knock us over n even hep us git back up, a horrbull thang that lasted fer eleven strate years.


in sted, we made plans lack thay wuznt nuthin else of importunts happenin that day, startin with the rehearsal dinner fer the fridy nite befor. i met susannah at her place n tride to git her to move a lil faster so we wood be on time. she gut dressed n reddy quick a nuff sos we culd walk over to randys parnts place. we wuz only bout fifteen mints late, n lack happens when folks is up to sumthin a lil unusual, nobidy wuz reddy thar neethur.


i met randys mama n bruther fer the furst time n rite away i could see whar he gut them eyes. his mama wuz old as mine but she had the purtiest eyes ye ever seen only hers wuz blue in sted of green. she wuz a verr smart lady but she ackted lack her husbin wuz smarter on a counta he wuz a mathmatishun n had lots of advanced degrees n all, but ye could spot her fer the smarter of the two after bout ten mints of conversayshun. she unnerstood her son a hole lot bettern randys dad dun, witch he mosly seemed lack he wuz afraid of his own son.


his bruther wuz mister strate n narrow cordin to everthang we wuz tole bout him. he had gone strate to collidge whenever he graduwaited from oak ridge hi skool n he wuz studyin to be eethur a mathmatishun lack his daddy or a injuneer n he wuz chasin a duble majur to git it dun. he wuz even biggern randy even tho he wuz younger, n he had them eyes but looked a lil on the fat n sof side, witch that wuz sumthin ye couldnt say bout randy ever.


virgil n mj met us at the foxes, n we gut into the car randy wuz a drivin, witch twuz a stayshun wagon that blonged to jennys father on a counta they wuz doin sumthin to his new car, we all smoked a number ceptn fer randy n couldnt nobidy bleeve he wuz really givin up theevil weed, n fack is, soons we wuz outta earshot of im, mj sed the marrg wuznt a'gone last longern a year maybe on a counta ye cant make sumthin strate that gods dun made crooked, witch she figgered thats how god mint randy fox to be, crooked. virgil gut mad to here her say sumthin lack that n sed the lease she could do wuz be postive till the marrg wuz over, n she sed she wuz postive that twuz the rong thang fer randy to do.


furst thang we dun whenever we gut to harriman wuz all the men went to look at the wurk that had been dun to randys new car, witch he had bought him a lincoln town car n thay had put new radial white walled tires on it n tuned it up n changed the oil n dun sum kinda wurk on the injun that we had to bend over to look at n purtend we could see how much better twuz, witch i reckontwuz better on a counta how virgil reackted.


after we had talked over everthang ye kin say bout car wurk, we all went into meet jenny n her folks, witch i dint know that wuz whar we wuz a'goin, but i gut it figgerd out purty quick. once we wuz in thar, the odd thang wuz how everbidy wuz jes as much lack church folk as could be, even susannah n mj, ceptn the ushers n bes man n groom on a counta we all had beerds. n twuz lack a bunch of marshuns had landed the way them church folk carrd on bout our beerds. randys wuz red as could be, n they wuz jokin bout him bein the devil, witch he always lacked folks to tell thatn. virgils wuz on the red side of brown n his bruthers wuz wispy n long n dark brown, n mine wuz black as could be. folks lacked to say i looked lack charles mansun. they made us line up together fer picthers to be tuck n gut the joke goin bout beerds of a feather stickin together.


twuz durin a time i wuz wunderin bout mos everthang i bleeved. i wuz spozed to be ritin a novel n i wuz thanin how i could barely bleeve in the power of wurds to do innythang but pollute reality. dint seem to me lack i could trust em to tell nuthin true, that everthang they dun was lack shadowplay on the wall or sumthin, witch ye kin see i wuz readin too much plato n aristotle n all.


but i member how we cum in n i dint feel lack sayin much of innythang. n i wuz disgusted with susannah on a counta how she jes had to keep talkin n she attached herself to jenny skinners grandma n they gut to talkin lack they wuz ole friens. n while i wuz watchin her n thankin bout how twuz impossibull fer sum folk not to be flappin thar gums whenever thay wuz new folk aroun, i cum to reelize sumbidy had made the offer of coffee. i dint catch who twuz, so i looked out into the room of dressed up church folk n sed to the hole room, 'did ye ast if innybidy wonted coffee?' n thar wuz a old man who lifted his cup n smiled at me, so i walked over to him n rite away a woman started callin out how he should boil the water n how taint everbidy that lacks thar instunt coffee made with hot tap water, witch i tole him i dint mind it thataway, but he had dun put on the teapot.


we stood thar talkin in bout the same manner i wuz jes critsizing susannah in my mind fer doin n i gut to know him n mos of the fambly, witch they wuz all bout as seryus and strate as daddy n mamas generayshun. he wuz takin sum classes over to roane state communty collidge his ownself, trine to larn ritin a lil better on a counta he had im a lifetime of stories he wonted to tell. he laffed bout it n sed bof he n his wife wuz takin classes, only she wuz gittin better marks even tho she wuz only goin on a counta he wuz.


i ast bout his teechurs n furst thang he sed wuz how mr leopold had dun turnt his thanin round on lots of thangs, n i sed 'shoot the devil,' whenever i herd it n tole bout how he had dun the same thang fer me. we gut to tradin stories over that n i could see he wuz a lot lack me only much older. n he sed i shouldnt tell his wife nor nobidy, but he had dun gut to thankin bout that baptist relijun he had always bleeved in n now he had questchuns bout it n he sed it felt better to live in doubt but to be a'larnin bout the truth, than to be sartin ye had the truth but livin in fear of doubt or inny idees that could lead ye to doubt. n i agreed.


purty soon twuz time to leave out fer the rehearsal n at the church thay wuz a passel of other folk who wuz a'gone be part of the weddin, mainly thar wuz the bridesmaids n jenny, witch she hadnt been at her parnts house on a counta they wuz all makin thar dresses n she wuz lack the rangleader. n them gurls wuz all bout as purty a bunch of cuntry women as ye ever saw whenever thar mouths wuz closed n ifn they had jes tuck care of thar teeth, they coulda been beeyooty queens or sumthin, but fer sum reason, ever last one of em had either a bad cap or a grey tooth or even one missin, rite up frunt. twuz lack one of them bad jokes folks lacks to tell bout vol fans. mayhap ye dun herd one, lack the one bout neyland stadium on saturdy afternoon bein filled with 80 thousund fans n three teeth.


we wuz all amazed by the reheasal. twuz led by a big ole fat lady name of miz patterson n furst thang she dun wuz ast susannah could she fill in fer one of the bridesmaids that couldnt make the rehearsal but suze woodnt half to wurry nun on a counta everbidy wood be thar fer the ackshul weddin. she tuck us thru the hole thang twicet befor innybidy could hardly notice we had dun begun it n long befor we wuz hungry. tunrt out she had been doin weddins mos of her life n could knock out two or three a week. suddenly twuz lack skool wuz out n she dismissed us after remindin us bout our nex class, witch that wuz the weddin its ownself fer nex day.


we et the rehearsal dinner at the holday inn in harriman n fer sum reason, all i could thank bout wuz my own rehearsal dinner when i wuz bout to marr up with darlene.


the dinner wuz roast beef n salad n baked taters with sour cream n fresh baked bread. susannah ast me whut i wuz a'gone do when they put that plate of meat in frunt of me, n i sed whut i wuznt gone do wuz make a scene, so i et the meat lack twuz my favert. it give me the runs afterds, but twuz a small price to pay.


me n randy gut to talkin bout sum of our adventchurs n that kep everbidy entertained durin dinner. we dint mentchun sum of the mos importunt parts, lack how we wuz buyin n sellin takin thangs ye aint spozed to be buyin n sellin n takin, n we wuz able to sugges that we had lived purty wild n young n mr skinner splained how he had dun the same whenever he wuz young, witch that made miz skinner hit im on the sholder, but he jes laffed n winked at randy n me.


the weddin wuz the nex day, n i cant member a thang bout it, ceptn a pitcher they tuck of the beerds of a feather. i member how evebidy wuz sayin how we wuz dangerus men n wuz goin places n all, but i cant member much of nuthin bout jenny skinner or jenny fox once she wuz marrd. cant member how long they wuz marrd befor it cum to the obveeus conclushun of divorce.


but i member how they sed them beerds of a feather wuz all alike n i wuz thankin we wuznt, but time wood show how ifn ye watch thar story long a nuff, even if they dont have beerds, everbidys beerds of a feather.

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