Friday, March 26, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 111:
alone in the dark


emily flew back to amurka durin the furst week of july 1980. i figgerd i wood git a lot of ritin dun n jes enjoy the chants to be alone fer a while. whenever we wuz gittin her thangs packed up n belly-achin bout how twuz a sad thang how we wood spend our furst weddin anniversairy apart, all i wuz really thankin bout wuz how twood be almos lack a lil vacayashun to have sum time alone. taint that i dint luv her, but i nursed this lil thought bout how twood be nice to git to do whutever i wonted without wurryin bout ifn emily wonted to go long with it.


that summer, the phillies wuz good. fack is, they ended up winning the worl series later on that year. i had been a phillies fan frum the age of 8 when i wuz home watchin a game twixt the phillies n the cubs. up till then, i had been a fan of the new york yankees on a counta twuz easy to root fer winners. i member how it seemd to me i wuz always rootin fer winners n eli fer losers. when we wood play civil war, i wuz in blue, he in gray. when it cum to sports, i lacked the yankees, he the white sox, jes lack daddy dun. but then cum the series in 1960 n that famus home run by bill mazeroski to give them pittsburg pirates the win over roger maris n mickey mantle n whitey ford n yogi berra n elston howard n the res: one of the gratest teams ye could magine.


i dont reckon ill ever fergit the mornin after that home run. bof daddy n eli ackted lack i had throwd the losin pitch. daddy even sed sumthin lack, tiz so easy to root fer the top dog that ye cant take the lease lil upset. corse, he had dun been hopin to see his white sox in the series fer so long that he knew whut twuz lack to watch the perpetchul winners beatin his team. i wood later larn that lesson overn over agin frum bear bryant.


innywho, whut thay sed stung me so i deecided not only how i wood git my own team but i wood pick it frum the nashnul league, witch fer sum reason, daddy made it seem lack the murkin league wuz fer publicans n the nashunul fer dimcrats. that mighta held me back, but then cum that saturdy afternoon when twuz rainin outside n the phillies wuz playin the cubs on tv. so happend that i had a colleckshun of baseball cards, n in that colleckshun i had cards frum more phillies n cubs than inny uther team. i member how i wood watch games n try to see could i lay out my cards in the posishuns of the players. turnt out i gut to countin my cards n had a equal number of each team.


so i made a fateful deecishun whar i wood be a fan of whoever won that game. ifn ye know much bout baseball, then ye know twuz a lucky brake fer me when the phillies won. i had always lacked the wurd philadelphia fer sum reason, sumthin bout how smooth it rolld offn yer tung, sumthin bout howt used the 'ph' combinayshun twice to make the 'f' sound. so i reckon by time that game wuz near over, i had dun started rootin fer em.


as ye mite member, pete rose had cum over to play fer the phillies in 1979. whenever he dun it, he sed he wuz gonna turn mike schmidt into the mvp n hep them phils win the worl series, witch tiz rare fer a person to make such a perdickshun n then git it to cum true. innywho, by july twuz purty clear they had em a good team.


so one of the furst thangs i dun as quick as emily wuz gone wuz to stay up till i could listn to the afn broadcast of a baseball game, witch since them phillies wuz winnin, they gut to be on sevrul times. since we wuz six hours ahed of the east coast in amurka, them games wood cum on roun 1:30 am ifn they wuz a 7:30 game on the east coast. i wood stay up readin till the game cum on n then listn to git as much infermayshun as i could on the phillies. ever sports fan knows whut i wuz a'goin thru ifn they have been in the situwayshun whar they caint hardly git no news bout thar team.


as ye mite know, a game of baseball lasts sumwhars tween a hour n a half n three hours, generly speakin, witch that ment them games wood be endin not long befor the sum cum up, durin the darkes part of the nite. i wood turn off our lil radio n roll over to go to sleep n bout as quick as i shut my eyes, i wood git a asthma attack.


furst time it happent, i dint hardly wont to add mitt twuz a'goin on. after all, ye mite could thank i wooda had asthma attacks rite reglar lack when emily wuz aroun on a counta all the tubacka smoke, but i dint hardly have nun whenever she wuz aroun. n quick as she wuz gone, i give the place as cumplete a cleanin as i could do, keepin the winder wide open long a nuff to make shore thay wuznt nuthin but frische luft in it. so i know twuznt on a counta sumthin i wuz a lergick to. lucky fer me them germans had em a medicin name of columba fer asthma that wuz sum of the bes i ever had, so i wood take a pill n listn to whutever i could git on the radio fer a lil while till i could breath easy agin.


but i wuz puzzled by whut wuz a'happenin. wuz i lonely? wuz i missin emily? could asthma be jes a trick the mind played on the bidy till the bidy fell fer it? wuz i afraid of bein alone in the dark?


i hated to thank that but truth wuz, i missd emily lack she had been my lef hand.


corse, frieda wonted to do her bes to keep me frum bein too lonely, so she invited me here n thar. i gut to go to the home of a rich frien of hers over in sachsenhausen durin this time. i member it well on a counta how ye almos never gut invited into sumbidys home. turnt out the parents wuz in mexico so thar oldes son wuz havin him a lil party, witch seemed to me i wuz invited mainly to brang my amurkin ears to hear bout how awful amurkins wuz. they even give me a hard time fer cumin to west germany whenever i traveled. i member that rich kid with his purrfeck english n purrfeck german sayin i had wasted a opportunty, that whenever he traveled, he lacked to go to the thurd worl.


by then my german wuz good a nuff to argue, but quick as i wonted to say sumthin, twood git turnt frum a argument to a fuss n fite till i finely told frieda i felt lack i needed a lil walk. she run out with me to make pallgies bout her friend, witch i tole her it dint bother me on a counta i had to agree we wuz usin way to much oil in amurka n acktin lack twuz our rite to use up as minny of the worls natcherul resources as we could. i sed i wuz even a'gonna vote fer john anderson on a counta him having the idee of puttin a 50¢ a gallon tax on gasoline, witch twood still have been a lot cheaper in amurka than twuz in west germany.


innywho, i gut to walkin n made my way over to die zeil, witch thats a long walkway thru town that tuck ye rite past good places to shop in all. as i wuz walkin along thar, a cuple fellers cum up to me n ast me did i have inny matches. i dint notice rite away how they wuz speakin english on a counta how by then, german dint sound all that forn, so i anserd em in german, witch they sed, spreksy english? then it hit me how they wuz amurkin soljers n i gut to speakin english agin n twuz rite nice. i tole em i dint have no matches, but i knew whar we could git sum, witch they dint know the lease thang bout whut they calld livin on the economy since they wuz livin on the army base in darmstadt.


i gut em sum matches frum a kiosk n they ast me did i wonta git hi. i almos laffed out loud. i hadnt been hi in near a year ceptn fer one time when marketta frum finland had a lil bit of a joint she had gut frum a boyfrien she had, witch twuz a nuther murkin soljer who give it to her, only twuznt inny good. but these two fellers had em sum hash but no pipe, witch they sed they couldnt use no pipe lessn they wonted to throw it away on a counta whar wood they put it whenever they went back on the base?


but they knew bout the cocola can trick whar ye make a lil indentayshun near the tail end of the can n poke ye a few lil holes in it n set ye a lil piece f hash on them holes n then suck thru the openin that ye drunk the coke frum while litin yer match toot. twurked ruther well, so they give me a lil piece to take home.


ye caint hardly magine how hi i felt. fer one thang, whenever ye git hi after goin without fer a long time, seems lack ye git higher than yer customd to. i gut blown away by it n the walk home wuz a purty add ventchur. seemd lack i wuz seein beeyootiful thangs bout frankfurt that i hadnt hardly noticed befor.


whenever if gut back to that lil apartment on ginnheimer strasse, i set myself down n gut to thankin bout the hole trip in west germany. it hadnt been nuthin lack i wuz specktin, but i had larnt a lot. i knew i dint wonta try to be no flossofer, even ifn i did lack studyin the subjeck purty good. in sted, i wonted to larn more bout literchur. but i also had larnt sum thangs that seemd to stick with me.


fer one, emily had tuck a class in 'amerikanisch,' witch twuz a study of how amurkins used the english langwage. i shoulda tuck it my ownself, but i wuz too busy makin a big deal bout how we shouldnt be readin n talkin n studyin thangs in english on a counta we wuz thar sos we could git good a german. as ye know, i wuz rong bout that.


innywho, that perfesser she had sed sevrul thangs that stuck with me. fer one, he showed how the folks that settled in the mountain hollers of appalachia, witch thems the ones i thank of whenever i thank of hillbillies, how they wuz purty much isolated fer the longest n turnt out he figgerd they wuz speakin sumthin close to shakespeares english. they wuz mainly frum scotland n ireland n the west coast of england n ifn ye studied how they talked, ye could trace em rite back to the counties thar ancestors cum frum.


i wish to this day i hadda tuck that class. i caint member much of nuthin bout all the good thangs emily larnt. she tride to tell me thangs she wuz a'larnin but i wonted to fuss n fite bout how we should be studyin german thangs. i wish i could member them four counties in england whar she sed most of them folks that settled in middle tennessee cum frum. turnt out she could splain thangs lack why they sed 'let me carry ye to town' whenever they meant they wonted to give ye a ride in thar car n other thangs lack that. but i wuz too pighedded to git it.


but a nuther thang that perfesser sed to her stuck even more n turnt out to be a grate hep to me in my futchur life, witch he tole the hole class that the way amurkin english wuz a'goin, in 200 years, english wuz manely gonna sound lack whut folks calls 'black english.' he splaind how over time, langwages gits simpler but more eggspressive. by n by ima gonna cum to sum eggzamples of that, but fer sum reason, i couldnt stop thankin bout all the thangs emily had larnt in her classes. mayhap twuz on a counta me bein hi fer the furst time in so long, but it  seemd lack she had gut more out of the year than i had n whenever i wuz trine to thank whut had i gut frum it, the mane thangs that cum to mind were thangs she had studied.


innywho, by then twuz bout time fer the game to cum on n i wuz in luck on a counta twuz the phillies n steve carlton wuz pitchin. bout halfway thru that game, i pored out the contents of one of emilys leftover coke cans n made me a lil pipe out of it sos i could lite up a lil of that hash. carlton wuz on his game n i wuz hi n feelin grate, almos lack i wuz back home.


thang wuz, i kep thankin emily wuz about to cum home or cum out frum the bathroom. seemed lack she had to be thar. twuz a trick of bein hi i reckon. twuz a shock to real eyes how much i missd her.


it tuck me a long time to fall asleep on a counta how i couldnt stop thankin bout emily n how much i wishd she wuz thar. i hadnt writ nuthin since she had gone home. i hadnt enjoyed bein on my own. fack is, the mane thang i larnt frum them three weeks of freedum wuz jes how much i missed her.


i wuz smart a nuff by then to take me a columba tablet befor turnin off the lite.

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