Monday, October 11, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 128: them wurds, them papers

thangs had been a'brewin fer a while by the time i herd much bout em. twuz rite befor christmus of 1981 that the story gut out n tiz a painful one to rite even now. taint lack nobidy died, but twuz the end of bein able to bleeve thangs wuz how ye had been razed to thank thangs orta be.

dont mogit me rong. twuznt nuthin a bidy couldnt have figgerd wood happen sooner or later. fer one thang, mama n daddy wuz frum differnt worls. she wuz a flatlander frum strawberry plains who dint make it to hi skool n he wuz frum a hillbilly fambly that bleevd nuthin wuz more important than gittin ye a good educayshun. fer a nuther, ye couldnt hardly find ye two folks that wuz more differnt in how they wonted to live.

daddy lacked simple thangs lack wurkin in his garden or mowin the lawn or fishin up on the obed river or chasin his ball round a golf corse or pitchin horse shoes or jes sittin of an evenin readin books or magazines or newspapers while drankin beer n eatin cheezits. he bleevd in the power of habits lack gittin up at furst lite n makin shore he did at lease three thangs everday: take a dump, brake a sweat n larn sumthin new.

the way mama lived her life ye mite could say she bleevd twuz a reepeat of mark twains story bout the prince n the pawper: shorely sum miss take had been made whenever she wuz born, shorely sumbidy had switched babies at the hospitull, shorely she wuz spozed to have been born into a royal fambly or ifn thay wuznt one handy, at lease a rich fambly. fack is, she dint git a new pair of shoes all her own till she bought em herself, probly on sum kinda easy credit, long after she had dun lef home whenever she wuz 11 year old to go live with aunt ruth. this dint stop her frum wontin to live lack royalty n wear the bes cloze n go to the bes parties n know the bes folk.

fer the mos part, mama gut her lil taste of the hi life by wurkin at dress shops. she wurked in one or nuthern round oak ridge frum as long ago as i kin member. that meant she had to dress the part, as she lacked to say, on a counta why wood her customers buy frum sumbidy that wuznt the kinda image they wonted to portray? daddy lacked to say twuz good to have her wurkin and he dint lose too much money on it. she lacked to say she made money on the deal, tho fack wuz, she spent more fer cloze than she made in wages.

as ye mite magine, money wuz one of thar mane reasons fer fussin n fitin. minnys the mornin we wood wake up to find mama n daddy lookin lack theyd dun been up all nite. ye could tell twuz time to figger out them bills on a counta they wood have em long lists of numbers n bout as quick as we wood git into the kitchen, mama wood ast eli or me to add em up to make shore. twuz a hateful duty on a counta whut she wuz a'wontin wuz fer us to add em up sum kinda way whar they cum out differnt than they dun whenever she had added em up.

so ever now n agin, daddy n mama wood have em a lil ritchul whar they wood cut up them credit cards, witch ever sangle time, mama wood cunvints daddy to keep jes one of em, say the one frum sacks fifth avenue or sum such on a counta how she wood say twuz only fer havin it not fer usin it that she gut it in the furst place. frum that one, otherns wood sprout, generly on a counta them needin sumthin they dint have money fer, n why pay moren twuz wurth by buyin it at sacks? witch that mite mean gittin thar j.c. pennys card back or a sears one or even a visa or a mastercharge. dint matter whar thay started, all them othern cards wood cum back, more dangerous than ever on a counta how them credit lines wood git a lil longer. twuz lack prunin a tree as much as innythang n only seemed to stimulate futher growth.

thay wuz a nuther big differnts twixt mama n daddy n that wuz how mama wuz verr emoshunull n daddy dint bleeve in showin no emoshun atall ifn ye could hep it. he sed twuz a sine of weakness fer men to be huggin or sayin 'i luv yew,' or whutever. mama couldnt say it a nuff. she also cride easy, witch seem lack me n roena may picked thatn up too n it made life a lot harder on us. he dint thank a man should ever cry n twuz minny a year before i saw him doot fer the furst time. twuznt that ye doubted how he felt, but he jes had truble a'sayin it. bout thonly time inny of us had ever herd him say it wuz whenever uncle buster died.

but ye kin magine how good a fuss n fite they could git a'goin once they dun added up all the bills n seen how they wuz a'cummin up short on a munth. purty soon the sarcasm wood fly, witch mama give as good as she gut n even ifn she dint have as much educayshun as daddy, she wuz still verr smart. but they wood keep on till finely daddy had made mama cry n then theyd git all quite till finely mama wuz a'sittin on daddys lap n he wuz talkin bout how they wuz a'gone have monte carlo nite purty soon over to the elks n who knew whuther they mite hit it big n solve this hole mess all at once, witch that seemed to calm mama down purty reglar.

so we wuz in fer a sprize whenever me n emily gut back frum thanksgivin in looseburg in 1981. mama had been a'drankin a lil too much n the hole immediate fambly wuz thar. whenever we cum in, she give me a big ole hug n tole me she luved me n held on a lil too long talkin bout how wonderful i wuz n all. twuz a lil on the creepy side on a counta how ifn ye dint know no better, ye mite could thank she wuz a'cummin on to me, witch i reckon she wuz trine to make daddy mad n he wuz fitin back by not noticin nuthin. but purty soon a fuss n fite gut to brewin twixt em that led to mama announcin how she had a nouncement to make, witch once she gut our tenchun, she sed, 'i'm leavin yer father after the furst of the year.'

twuz anserd by a mix of questchuns lack what? why? where? how? n everthang but who? frum most of us n daddy goin back to a plite argument bout ronald raygun he had been a'havin with roena may. but the mane thang stuck with us all n we wunderd wood innythang ever cum of it. mos of us figgerd mama wood cum to her senses once she soberd up agin, but it dint turn out thataway.

corse, me n emily wuz so busy with skool to whar we couldnt sit wundern ifn thay wuz innythang to mamas threat n we figgerd the same as everbidy, that she wuznt crazy a nuff to thank she wood ackshly move on a counta how could she ever pay her own way? she lacked to say how twuz daddys fault they had money problems on a counta how he dint ast fer razes even tho she splaind bout how valuabull he had to be to y-12, witch thats whar he wuz a'wurkin. then she wonted to say twuz all his golfin that dun it, but she dint fool nobidy on a counta we all knew how she had dun filled up ever closet in the house with her cloze n still needed more room fer em.

at the time seemed lack her mane cumplaint wuz how she wonted to sell the house n git em a partment sumwhar sos they could live better. i reckon part of whut she wonted wuz a chants to pay off all thar bills n start overn n i reckon sellin the house wuz the best way she could magine doon it. but daddy dint wonta sell the house, even ifn it did have four bedrooms n more space than they needed fer innythang sides mamas cloze.

me n emily gut back to knoxvull n purty soon we wuz too busy to hardly thank. thang bout graduwait skool is how seems lack they lode ye up with so much wurk to whar ye have to figger out whut part of it could ye git by with not a'doon. i figger its a way of teachin ye to figger out the rite priorties. innywho, seemed lack no time till one thursdy evenin in early december, roena n maisie n roenas sister-in-law eunice cum over after a moody blues concert. i had dun gone to bed. i dint even know they had been thar fer a cuple days till emily tole me she had sumthin to tell me, witch turnt out roena n maisie had tole her the rest of the story with mama.

turnt out she had made her a conquest of sorts out of a feller that sold cloze wholesale. by then, mama had wurked her way up to whar they let her do lots of the buyin, witch seemed lack ever step up cost em more on a counta once she wuz the buyer, she had to make trips to atlanta n she sed she orta make one to new york, only she wuz afraid to go alone n daddy dint wonta go to no new york. i couldnt hardly git whut emily wuz splainin n figgerd sumthin musta gut lost in translayshun.

but later on, eli cum over n splaind it all. 'see bud, mamas dun fallen in luv with a man name of fred, witch he cums frum nashvull n has dun been marrd fer 26 years n has im two teenage daughters n -- kin ye bleeve it? -- hes bof relijus n rich. aint it sumthin how a relijus seeker lack that kin deteck in a cuple of meetins with mama the sinfulness of his marrg n mamas too fer that matter? corse, ye caint hardly git no more of a failure than mama n daddy on a counta how they jes been marrd the 31 years. tuck im only three dates. i aint trine to be unfair to the gentlmun n no doubt hes gut im a side of the story to tell. but thats it, marrg over.'

now the sprizing thang bout that all is how at furst, i jes dint wonta ackcept mama n daddy havin no truble of that kind. twuz one thang fer me to be out in the jungle n fer me to have dun gut a deevorce, but they wuz mama n daddy n dint that mean nuthin? fack is, i felt even wurser on a counta how twuz the fack that i wuz tempted all the time by all them beeyootiful women over on the utk campus n now that i wuz a'teachin, the temptaysuns wuz even harder to resist than befor. thay wuz a woman in one of my classes, bout as purty n sexy as a woman kin git, who rote on one essay how she wuz a nymfomaniack who woodnt be happy till she had finely seeduced her sexy english teechur n made wild pashnut love to im all nite long.

i wuz halfway wonderin who twuz she wuz ritin bout till she cum fer a confernts n made it purt obvious who twuz she meant. i eggscaped frum doin rong but had to add mitt to bein mitey tempted n wunderin whut it meant. i tole emily bout it n pointed out the young lady, witch she thought she wuz hot. all it dun wuz git her to havin fantasies bout whut if sumthin did happen? after the quarter wuz over, of course. but that wuz jes her way of dealin with it n makin it sumthin we could talk bout or even sumthin i could use fer a story i mite tell her whenever she wuz in the mood.

so i dint have no ground to walk on far as sayin daddy or mama wuz a'doon nuthin rong. i had dun dun all the rong ye could do n seem lack i wuz tempted to do more.

but sumhow, it seemed lack it orta been differnt fer them. they wuz mama n daddy n i gut to realizin how i had dun made my own mytholgy frum the time i wuz jes a lil boy bout how thangs wurks in life. daddy wuz the oldest of four, three boys n a gurl. i wuz the oldest of five, three boys n two gurls, but everbidy knew bout how maisie wuz a 'acksident.' so ye couldnt have no deevorce twixt them two on a counta them bein together wuz how lifes spozed to be. children mite mess up n do rong, but not mama n daddy.

but thangs kep progressin till one day i wuz over to mamas n only daddy wuz thar. wuz i ever sprized whenever he wonted to talk bout it n we wuz bout fifteen mints into it befor i real eyesd he wuz lookin to me fer add vice on how to make it thru brakin a marrg by gittin a deevorce n then how ye gut yer life back together n all. twernt a duty i wonted n i tole im i dint thank twuz wurth it to deevorce lessn twuz the rong woman, witch he sed he dint thank the rite woman wood fall in luv with no wholesaler frum nashvull who had dun been marrd fer 26 years.

then he ast me wood i read his diary fer the las cuple munths, witch it only tuck me bout half a hour to doot on a counta mos ever entry wuz the same: weather (cloudy, sunny, rain), golf, fishin, gardenin or whutever, n a menchun of how mama wuz sick, witch seem lack thay wuz always sumthin rong with her, eethur sinus or die jestchun or my grane or sumthin simlar. i dint hardly know whut to say, so i ast him ifn he wonted to read whut i had writ while i wuz a'goin thru my time of trubles with darlene, witch thats jes whut he wonted. i member tellin him mine wuznt lack his n how he wuz a'gone read a bunch of thangs that he dint know bout yet, but he red em n thanked me n never once tride to make nuthin outta sum of the thangs he red thar, witch i know thay wuz a lot he dint lack readin n dint agree with. but he thanked me innyhow.

seem lack the hole event brung us kids a lil closer together. i gut brew to cum git me n take me out to the farm, sposedly on a counta how we needed to do sum wurk, witch we went down into the woods n cut up sum windfall fer the wood stove n talked n even hugged n tole each other, 'i luv yew.'

bout a week later, eli cum over to take a walk n talk, witch we ended up huggin n sayin how we luved each other too. after that, he tuck me out to the farm to git brew n the three of us went to visit daddy, witch seemed lack he wuz home alone a lot round that time.

twuz painful to see daddy the way he wuz. up till then, he hadnt never let nuthin git to im. he dint add mitt to havin no truble with nuthin, always sed ye had to roll with the punch, always sed nuthin wuz ever as bad or as good as ye thank, how, n thisn wuz his favert, 'this too shall pass.' but nun of them wurds wurked to console im nun, so we jes sat n talked bout mama n the good ole days n all. that gut into his a'tellin us whut all he had dun rong.

'tiz true. my treatment of yer mama has been cruel n mean fer all the years we dun been together. i dun tride to limit her spendin to a level i could pay fer. dun torchured her by how i wont watch no tv with her n dont take her dancin a nuff. n whut could be wurse than how i dont wonta sell this here house? or acktin lack i wonta make a garden ever year? or brakin a sweat by mowin the yard or paintin the house? corse, shes got me on the way i keep pertendin how i dont wonta buy no condiminium apartment or even rent one or even live in no place that dont have no yard. shes gut me on thatn n ye boys kin see how it must hurt yer mama fer me to keep pertendin lack i really lack livin thisaway. why wood i wonta do all this wurk myself if not sos i could torchur her? as ye kin see, tiz a solid case shes gut agin me.'

corse, we dint say whut we thought, witch ifn he wood jes pore out his hart to her lack he wuz a'doon with us twixt the sarcasm, seem lack that wood purty much make up fer everthang. corse, that wuznt a'gone happen no how, no way.

so thangs kep on till jes befor christmus mama went to the lawyers n had them papers writ up. i reckon daddy had dun seen em, but i caint be sartin. seem lack twuz all we talked about durin christmus. she kep laffin bout it whenever she gut a chants, but we tride our bes to pay her no mind.

after the furst, turnt out mama had made a date to go spend the nite with fred the wholesaler. aint nobidy knows fer sartin whut happend. i member whenever twuz about to happen, but i wuz too busy gradin papers n researchin fer papers i had to rite n ritin em n goin to the group n yew name it till the furst i herd bout it, twuz all over. fack is, one sundy evenin we gut a call frum mama astin ifn we wonted to go out to dinner with her n daddy that evenin, n even tho we dint thank we could spar the time, we went.

they picked us up in mamas car, witch she always lacked havin her a cadillac, even a ole one, n whenever they went sumplace speshul, they tuck her car. so we knew thangs musta dun changed sumhow n fack is, they wuz holdin hands. we gut in the back n drove over, trine to fill up the time with talk bout whut we wuz a'studyin.

we ate at red lobster, witch twuz always a treat whenever we went thar n we knew twuz a speshul thang. they talked bout everthang but the thang we wuz a'wundern bout till finely i ast bout them papers. mama sed she figgerd theyd keep em, jes in case they needed em. i wuz a lil deepressed by that, figgern they could sprout lack them charge cards dun, but i dint say nuthin.

they drove us back to them laurel marrd students apartments n gut out to walk us to the door. i give mama a hug n she tole me she luved me. i then stuck out my hand to shake daddys. wuz i ever sprized whenever he sed, 'dont i git no hug?' the tears flooded my eyes, but i give im one n blinked lack crazy till he sed, 'i luv yew, son,' witch twuz only the secunt time i had herd im say them wurds n ye kin bet them tears cummenced a'flowin to whar i almos eggspeckted him to slap me one, but in sted he sed he wuz sorry he had gone so long without sayin them wurds.

i couldnt say nuthin n dint wonta show im how i wuz crine, so i sed i luved him too n held on till i figgerd twoodnt look so bad. i pulled away n mama sed, 'why so sad, number one son?' i dint have no anser fer that.

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