Wednesday, May 05, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 115:
memries fadin in n out

whut i dint know whenever i wuz the last student to make it to that literary research class wuz that the folks in that class wuz my peers on a counta how ever new student in the graduate skool of english had to take that verr same class. after that, everbidy tuck whutever they wonted as long as twood hep em git thar degree. i member verr well walkin into that class n wunderin why dint nobidy take tuther seat at the end of the table, witch i had dun larnt frum my years in the corprut worl how it makes a differnts whar yer a'sittin whenever thays a meetin a'goin on. twuz a sea of faces, all of em yungern i wuz. fer weeks, i couldnt tell ye the differnts twixt bud, who i dint lack atall, n inny of tutherns.

by the time the class wuz over, i knew the names of everbidy n could tell ye a lil about em. twuz as if they had dun cum into focus. one of em, a woman name of brenda who lived out in west knoxvull, had her a party whar everbidy in the class wuz invited to cum. by that time, i could put names to bout half the folks in the class. by the time i wuz dun with grad skool, i knew em ever one n figgerd thay wuznt no way i wood ever fergit em. but i caint tell ye the names of moren half of em to this day, n sum of em i git cunfused. tiz as if thays too far away in time fer me to git a good focus on em.

but thay wuz a few that stood out. corse thay wuz bud, witch he kep me n emily bord fer the longest durin that party on a counta how he figgerd we wuz a'hangin on ever wurd he had to say since we dint say nuthin back. twuznt lack i could blame nobidy sides my ownself. whenever he ast did i wonta go out to his car n burn sumthin, i anserd yes quickern i could ritely tell ye who wuz a'astin. twuz one of them situwayshuns i hate to add mitt i hepped brang about: me n bud wuz passin the joint while emily n n his wife virginia smoked marlboros n sipped on thar beer. virginia wuz wurkin n dressed the part with a business soot n lots of makeup, witch that rite thar rubbed emily the rong way. but she had no tolerunts fer bud atall.

we had rid over to the party with shawn, tuther feller frum mississippi, who i cant member his name so im a'callin him shawn. by time we wuz reddy to go, he wuz so drunk he couldnt walk strate. twuz a ruff moment whenever he wonted to drive. he dint wonta add mitt he wuz too drunk to git behind the wheel, so i gut to astin him could i drive on a counta i wonted to see whut his car wuz lack, witch twuz one of them lil pinto thangs n he could barly fit into the back seat, witch twuz ok on a counta he wuz asleep bout as quick as i sussed out how twuznt a stick shift. we tuck him home with us n fixed him up on the couch. thang wuz, he wuz never real cumfterbull with us ever agin after that.

i wisht i could member them otherns in that class. seemd lack thay wuz rite importunt to me at one time. thay wuz the one name of rosemary who everbidy sed wuz the spittin image of yer southern belle only fer my taste she wuz a lil too plump. but seemed lack mos ever uther feller in the class wuz after a chants with her. i thank bud wooda tuck a chants ifn rosemary hadnta made friends with virginia. rosemary turnt out to be one of them muthern types of folk n she always seemd to know whut everbidy wuz a'doin to whar folks wood call her up to find out who wuz free on a given evenin or even how to git in touch with em.

thay wuz a nuther woman who seemd lack she wurked on the same pome the entire two years of grad skool. i cant member her name, but she had the thickest glasses ye ever saw with a skinny face n long bangs that practicully coverd up her eyes. she wuz skinny all over but in a sexy way n lots of the fellers in the class talked bout her breasts on a counta how they seemed to be set off nice by her skinny frame. but i cant hardly git a pitcher of her that dont suggest that shaggy dog in the disney movie. but i aint never fergut a sangle line of the pome she wuz a'trine to git jes rite: the click n clack of the railroad track as the train rolls by the munth of july. whenever i wuz a'gittin the group a'goin, i ast her did she wonta cum. she sed she did n splained how she wood jes as soon as she gut her pome jes rite. we never saw her at group even once. far as i know, that pome never gut writ nor nuthin else she planned to rite neethur.

thay wuz a nuther woman who wuz a communist n bleeved the revolushun wuz about to happen. made me recolleck lots of thangs i had dun herd over in west germany, so i kndly knew how to talk her talk. she lacked that n wood go on n on bout how thangs could be better in the usa. whnever i hear sumbidy talkin thataway, i generly dont take no offents toot on a counta (1) tiz true that our cuntry, lack inny of em, kin git better n (2) ye dont hardly larn nuthin ifn yer trine to make yer own points. but i could only keep quite so long n to this day, i member one main thang, witch twuz wuz how we gut in a argument when i tole her brezhnev luved cadillacs n had im a fleet of em. twuz a friendly argument, witch ye could even thank she wuz trine to flirt with me a'usin it, till i proovd my side of it n seem lack she dint hardly trust me no more after that.

thay wuz a feller in the class who wuz so earnest n serious twuz scary. he had the kinda face that looks lack tiz in the middle of a blush n ye dint have to do much of nuthin to git the full blush a'goin. he wuz purty relijus n tride to put 'context' to everthang we wuz a'studyin, witch that led him to sum difficult moments on a counta he dint always git his reglar research dun. he wood mentchun the wheel of fortune, fer instunts, n try to splain how ifn ye wuz in the center, ye wuznt stuck with the rise n fall of cruel fortune n then he wood splain how christ wuz the center. fer sum reason, this brung out the cruel in folks n thay wood see could they make him blush moren he wuz alreddy a'doin. he wuz marrd to a verr fat woman even tho he wuz skinny as a rail. i caint member much else bout him ceptn tords the end of our secunt year, gossip went roun bout how he had dun left his wife to take up with a man he had met at a gay bar. i spotted his name minny years later in the obitchuwaries of the knoxvull news-sentinel. he had died of aids down in new orleans, whar he had organized a gay mens health center n run marches n dun as much as he could do to fite the illness. whenever i red that, i knowd fer shore knew i hadnt never rilly knowd him atall.

thang wuz, ye dint have to hardly git to know nun of yer classmates on a counta how thangs wuz run. ye dint have much time fer nuthin ceptn studyin n gittin to classes n gittin reddy to take tests n ritin papers n gradin the papers frum the class ye wuz a'team teachin. i dont reckon i wooda gut to know much of innybidy ifn twernt fer theevil weed.

as ye mite member, we had dun razed up a crop or two out at the farm, so ye mite could thank i wood be able to git plenty thar, but by the third year, everbidy in the nayborhood wuz onto how to pick out theevil weed frum a stand of reglar weeds. so bout as quick as ye could git sumthin wurthy of settin on fire, sumbidy wood cum long n harvest it in the nite. ye mite also member how randy fox owed me lots of money frum our time buyin n sellin theevil weed sum years before, but he wuz still stuck in a endless deevorce frum becky n he had dun had two more operayshuns on his laig to put in a new plastic femur n hip ball n socket. he wuz rite generus whenever he cum by, leavin me a lil chunk of hash or a lil bag of sum buds, but i dint see him much.

so i dint have no good conneckshun, witch as i menchuned once alreddy, tiz how i gut to be friends with bud rankin. he mite could bore ye to death with his talk, all of it nuthin but bullshit of the most obveeus kind, but he wuz never without a way to git hi. i felt purty awful bout it on a counta how twuz obveeus he wonted to make friends n i wood do my damndest to git him to leeve me alone. i wuz ritin ugly thangs bout him in my diary. but i wood put up with a lot fer the chants to git hi.

i caint member a sangle line of spencer. caint member the names of over half the class i cum in with. caint member much bout my teechurs, witch they wuz heroes to me at the time, but whenever i look at a list of thar names, i caint hardly put faces to em. corse i kin member my major perfesser, a kindly man name of dr alexander who studied shakespeare. n i kin member verr well tuther shakespeare perfesser, a feller frum england name of dr andrews, but the reason fer that is how he wuz thonly one who dint give me the grade i wonted, witch i spekted to git 'a' marks on everthang n he give me a b plus two times, furst quarter i wuz thar n lastn.

thang is, that class wuz lack a blurry foto whenever i walked in. by time i wuz dun with two years, that foto had dun cum alive n ever face in it had a name n a story. i knew em all purty well at one time. but the years has dun clouded my eyes to whar i caint hardly make out a face in that class n aint nuthin i kin do now to brang em back in focus.

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