"Floyd meets Jimmy"
Don Burhts is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
It is an odd thing indeed what a memory will bring and my memory brings me to a shaded area beneath the crabapple tree where I first met my best friend, Jimmy.
It was the farthest I had ever been from the house on my own. If Charles saw me, I could drop his marbles and run. But by now I thought, if Charles hadn’t come, chances are he didn’t know I had his marbles. When I finished playing with them I’d put them back in his hiding place with him never knowing I’d had them. I set the leather bag on the ground next to me. Then leaning forward on my knees using a pencil size stick I drew a circle in the dirt.
I excitedly loosened the draw string of the leather bag and poured the marbles into the center of the circle, peewees, cat’s eyes, blue dolphins, black panthers, cardinals, dragons and, “The Bomb.” Charles’s prized shooter, the best marble in the world for breaking apart a big gob of marbles. When the bomb struck, marbles went flying. In actuality, the bomb wasn’t a marble at all but instead was a steel ball bearing. I picked up the bomb and rubbed it on my shirt to shine it real good. The bomb fit perfectly in the loop of my index finger, and I flicked the bomb with my thumb into the mass of marbles and knocked three across the line.
I realized I hadn’t been watching for Charles very well when Jimmy suddenly appeared.
“Ca, Ca, Ca, Ca, Can I,” “Pl, Pl, Pl, Pl, Pl,” “Can, Can I play”?
Without waiting for a reply Jimmy sat down on the opposite side of the circle.
“These marbles belong to my brother so no keepsies,” I said.
Jimmy replied, “O, O, O, O, O, k, k, k, k, k, k, k, kay.”
I let Jimmy pick one marble from the pile to use as his shooter.
With the knuckle side of my hand resting on the ground I flicked the bomb into the pile. With the mini sound of bowling pins being toppled, the bomb knocked six marbles cross the line.
Then it was Jimmy’s turn. Instead of leaving his knuckles on the ground, Jimmy flung his whole hand forward hitting the pile, but before he could scoop up his winnings I said,
“No, no, that don’t count, you hunched! You have to have your knuckles on the ground when you shoot.”
Jimmy said,” O, O, O, O, K, Kay."
I let Jimmy take his turn over, but when his shooter made contact with the pile instead of splitting the pile; his shooter stopped its motion and became just another marble in the pile.
“Here hold it like this.”
I showed jimmy how to hold the marble the same way my brother showed me. Jimmy rocked back and forth a couple times then flicked his thumb sending his shooter into the pile with enough force to knock four marbles cross the line.
“I got a lot.” Jimmy said.
In his excitement his words came quickly and no stutters. Then,
“Your, tu, tu, tu, tu, turn, your turn.”
I took my shot, and then Jimmy took his and we continued in progression until all of the marbles had been knocked crossed the line. We hadn’t learned how to count yet so instead of counting I placed my marbles in one line and Jimmy’s in a line next to mine. I had four marbles in my line that Jimmy couldn’t match.
“I won.” I said, “Wanna play again?”
Jimmy shook his head in agreement. Jimmy picked up the stick I used to make the circle and scratched a new line in the dirt on top of the line I had made to repair the places that had been rubbed away. We played an hour or more when Henry, Jimmy’s next to oldest brother walked up and addressed Jimmy.
“Mom said you gotta come home."
“O, k, k, k, k, k, ay.” Jimmy shuddered.
“Ca, Ca, Ca, Can, Can I finish, th, th, th, th, this game?”
Henry replied yes and walked away.
“Why do you talk like that Jimmy?“ I asked.
“Whe, Whe, Whe, When, I was a Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba, Baby they ti, ti, ti, ti, tickled my feet to, to, too much.”
Sounded like it could be true and I was glad they didn’t tickle my feet too much when I was a baby but I didn’t say that. The more we played the less Jimmy stuttered, but then Henry came back.
“Time to go, Jimmy."
“I’m no, no, no, not done.”
“Yes you are JI, JI, JI, JI, JIMMY.” Henry said, mocking Jimmy’s stutters.
Jimmy looked down, his face red.
“Don’t cry Jimmy” said Henry laughing and he smacked Jimmy on the top of Jimmy’s head.
“St, St, St, Stop it. Hennnry!” Jimmy stuttered. “O, O, O, O, O, O, Ka, Ka, Ka, Ka, Ka O, Kay,” Henry laughed.
But then a deep male voice rang out, “Henry, Yo, Yo, You leave him alone.”
It was Jimmy’s oldest brother Douglas, also a stutterer, coming to Jimmy’s aid. But Henry wasn’t backing down yelling out to Douglas,
“O, O, O, O, Kay, Doug, Doug, Doug, las,” making fun of Douglas, who was a good head taller than Henry. Douglas charged after Henry like a bull but Henry didn’t budge. Douglas was almost on top of him when Henry reached down and scooped up a handful of dirt and through it into Douglas’s face.
Douglas was spitting dirt and cuss words out of his mouth rubbing his eyes. Henry was running home. Douglas was chasing behind Henry madder than anyone I’d ever seen.
Henry got inside the screen door and latched the hook. Henry began taunting Douglas by mocking his stutters. Douglas was on fire with rage, pounding on the screen door with the closed palm side of his fisted hand shouting at Henry.
“Un, Un, Un, Un, unlock the door, Hen, Hen, Henry.”
All of the sudden the screen door popped opened and Henry came running out chased by their mother bringing a broom down crossed Henry’s back. Henry kept running but his mother stopped her pursuit of Henry and began beating Douglas on his head and back with her broom as Douglas held his arms covering his head crying,
“I’m sorry momma, I’m sorry.”
Henry stopped and was standing as still as a statue when his mother with her broom hoisted in the air turned and looked at him. Henry with an innocent look on his face pointed to Douglas, which fired Douglas up again.
Douglas started pointing his finger at Henry shouting “H, H, H, H, H, H,” Douglas was unable to complete even the first word of his stuttering sentence before his mother started beating him on the back with the broom saying,
“Get in the house Douglas, and stop that damn stuttering.”
Before the door closed she shouted in a calm voice, “Henry, go get Jimmy.” Jimmy started walking to the house. As he passed me, Henry said,
“Ji, Ji, Ji, Jimmy and wa, wa, wa, sh wash your
han, han, han, hands when you get inside.”
Henry turned to me laughing and said, “B, b, b, b, b, b, b. Bye.
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La Vernia, TX
November 9, 2009 9:51pm
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