HUNKER DOWN: Little less talk, lot more action
I watched part of the presidential debate. Boy, you talk about some fun! I hate that I missed the beginning where the ring announcer said, “In this corner wearing the black trunks, trimmed in white …”
I couldn’t follow the logic of either. Or what they were fussing about. And I didn’t have time to digest it. That’s how quickly my mind drifted back to the elementary playground and third grade recess.
We fought and yelled at each other over who got to play on the swings first, who climbed the monkey bars the fastest, who got to be “it” in the tag game.
Miss Belle had to separate me and Joe Galloway every day. He was a might bit smaller than me so I’d jump on him from behind hoping I could land a knock-out blow before he could defend himself.
I tripped and pushed Vicki Fields down every chance I got because she could out run me. Sometimes we just divided up into teams and fought each other because it was a Thursday morning in April.
You know, third grade reasoning is not always confined to the third grade.
I got myself focused back on the debate at hand just in time to hear one of the speakers call the other guy a liar. That sent me right back to where I just was.
Well, almost. It was a year past the third grade. George Sexton lived on a little rise overlooking the big ditch where we’d go exploring. George and I were best friends.
Sometimes you get carried away with a story. You don’t mean to … it just grows a mite as you’re telling it. Elvis once stopped by the Dixie Coffee Cup for a bowl of chili. That was well documented. The whole town went out to see him. This was back in 1956 or ’57.
I got to telling George how Elvis took me out and showed me his new Cadillac, sang a few lines from “Don’t Be Cruel” and invited me to come down to Memphis and visit him anytime I wanted to.
George called me a liar. He was exactly correct. Of course, I lied. I never even spoke to Elvis!
But the point of no return had passed. We did a little of the accusing dance, “I am not!” “Yes, you are!” “Am not”, “Are too!”
I hit him in the face. He punched me in the stomach. I grabbed him by the neck and we rolled toward the ditch. We fought till we both ran out of breath.
Thankfully, Mrs. Sexton ran down the hill and separated us. His shirt was torn completely off. Mine wasn’t much better. I could feel a trickle of sweat, or maybe blood, easing across my chin. And my ear was ringing so hard I couldn’t hardly hear Mrs. Sexton fussing at us!
There is a thin line between defending your honor and abject stupidity!
The rising temperature of the presidential debate called me back. It was fairly evident that both were not unfamiliar with the accusing dance. I wondered if either had an Elvis story.
I turned my good ear toward the TV hoping to hear at least one encouraging word from anybody before this thing quit but the frequent interruptions sent me on another “field” trip. The Skyway Grill was located about half way between McKenzie and Henry. We took to riding out there my senior year for the cheeseburgers and music.
Rollin Trull was telling us fairly loudly one night how much better life was in McKenzie than it was over in Henry. The girls were prettier, the boys smarter, the dogs more faithful.
One of the Henry guys told him to shut up. Rollin let it pass and got off on how the sidewalks rolled up in Henry right after lunch. The same guy interrupted again.
A man can only take so much. Rollin hit him high upon his forehead, kinda in the white spot where his cap bill had shaded him from the sun. He dropped like the earth had opened up beneath him.
The jukebox was playing George Jones’ “Why Baby Why” when the fight broke out. I heard glass breaking as I dodged a flying chair. Somebody tackled me from behind. I crashed to the floor and went to crawling for the door.
There was no reason to hang around any longer. Rollin had made his point.
Someone asked what I thought about the presidential debate the following morning. I pondered a brief second and replied. “All they did was talk. It was crystal clear that neither candidate grew up in West Tennessee!”