Dallas Dave

Rich walked in with his brother and one of his sisters; the other sister was going to meet them there.  Rich’s brother, Clyde, had gotten kind of increasingly sentimental of late.  When any family event came along he was all for it, maybe because of his advancing age.  Clyde was 82, but a young 82; the accompanying sister was 75, and Rich was a spry 70.  They walked into the large room where the Cannon girls, Sherry and Marion, were standing.  Rich was taken aback when he saw Sherry, for she was the spitting image of her mother Naomi.  They exchanged pleasantries; it had been at a reunion years before that they had last seen each other. In a few minutes the other sister, Rose, joined them and they began reminiscing about bygone times.   They were all first cousins and had the same grandmother.  “Granny”, as she was known, actually had lived with the four of them all during their growing up years.  Other people were drifting in, some known to the quartet and some not.  Staying in line with the current trend of never dressing up, even for church, a few rolled in that looked like they had been at the bar and had suddenly remembered the event.  Rich thought he even caught a faint hint of beer from one of them; he was all dolled up with a holey nascar shirt and wrinkled Bermuda shorts.

The four siblings circulated a little and came across a second cousin, a pert little blonde who was Rich’s age.

“Are you still riding horses, Karen?”  asked Rich. 

“Gave it up 25 years ago, after I fell off and broke my collar bone,” she replied.

Rich launched into a recollection of their childhood; Karen’s daddy and Grandpa used to come up to Rich’s house and play a game called “setback” with Clyde and their father Russ.  When the game was on Karen and Rich would spend the daylight hours “riding sticks”, which consisted of putting a stick between your legs and pretending it was a horse.  When that got old the two kids would come in and get a butter and sugar biscuit. 

“Karen, do you remember that time when we decided all we wanted was some light bread and you put it down on the kitchen floor and growled and ate it like a dog?” Rich asked.  Karen was laughing and nodding in agreement. 

“And I remember one time when we were scooting around under the kitchen table and ran smack into each other and both our noses got bloodied,” she said, still laughing.

As people came and went Rich and Clyde started reminiscing about a long gone by the favorite story of their daddy’s.

“I remember it was over at Uncle Ruben’s house and there were several of momma’s sisters and their husbands; I think it might have been Thanksgiving, but the occasion is not important,” Clyde said.  “In the words of our late mother, Uncle Ruben was a red-hot republican and Uncle Wilbur was just as hot a democrat.  The conversation got around to something controversial in the newspaper and Uncle Ruben said ‘Wilbur, you don’t know that’ and Uncle Wilbur said ‘I damn sure do, it was in the paper.’”

“Well, that got it started, and before you know it those two were cussing each other an’ fixing to tangle when daddy said ‘come on down to the hog pen, Ruben, and let’s look at that big ‘ol Poland China of yours,’” Clyde said.

“Yep, that sounds just like him; he was a conciliator and didn’t get overly excited,” Rich agreed.

The remembrance was interrupted by the entry of an old man in a wheelchair; he was being attended to and pushed by a teenage boy.

“That looks like Lee Smith,” Clyde whispered.  “I didn’t even know he was alive.”  The young boy pushed the old man in the wheelchair up to one of the tables that were in the room.  The old man started acting like he was taking things out of a basket on his lap and placing them on the table.  He was furnishing a constant monologue regarding the imaginary food: “Now I betcha ain’t nobody brought no meatloaf like this here,” he was telling the young boy, and then went back to unloading the imaginary bowls.  While the old man was busy with the “dishes” Clyde called over the wheelchair attendant and asked, “Is that Lee Smith?”  The boy nodded yes and said “ya know he’s got that old timer’s disease,” grinning and exposed rotten teeth when he said it. Clyde and Rich looked at each other in a moment of recollection; “You remember that time he was up at the house and told momma he could raise a pumpkin as big as the kerosene heater and any color she wanted?” Clyde asked.

“Sure do, brother, he was Aunt Essie’s brother-in-law from over there in Stanley, and they all said he would rather climb a tree and tell a lie than stay on the ground and tell the truth,” Rich said, laughing.  “Momma told that story for years; the funny thing about it was I think she thought he was serious.”

Apparently, Lee Smith was finished getting all his “food” on the table and turned around and looked at Clyde and asked “Well, where is Naomi?” speaking of Sherry and Marion’s mother.

“I don’t guess we will be seeing her today, Lee,” Clyde replied. 

“Well, I will be, I thought I brought a big box but looky yonder at that one,” Lee said, as he pointed at the large box being wheeled through the double doors.

As the line of cars went down the Mount Holly Road all of the cars in both directions pulled over to the shoulder, and as they approached Mountain Lawn Cemetery and Memorial Park a Gaston County Deputy Sheriff was standing at the entrance, his blue lights flashing, and his hat in his left hand as he placed his right hand over his heart.

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