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Month: February, 2016

WATERMELON BLUES

1998-01-07-232

ESSAY Personal  #011

WATERMELON BLUES (year 1959)

One summer night in 1959, my brother Danny spent the night with Johnny Stubblefield. I was 13, and my brother was 15. When he wasn’t home for supper the next night, my mother said she knew where he was anyway. But by the third day, and Danny still hadn’t shown  up, she called Johnny’s mother. His mother was shocked to find that the boys weren’t at our house, as my mother was shocked to find that they weren’t at her house.

Was my mother ever mad! It was not good to be caught by my little mother when she was mad. At 5’2″, when she came at us boys, who towered over her, with a switch we knew we’d pushed her too far. She couldn’t hurt us, but just knowing we had caused her to cry was punishment enough for us. This was one of those times. I felt sorry for Danny when he got home.

Later that night a police officer from Seminole called. They had caught three boys stealing watermelons off a grocery store porch. One of them was Danny. It was then we found out that they had been staying at a third friend’s house. He was sixteen and would be charged as an adult. Danny and Johnny, however would only be charged as juveniles, and, since neither  one had a record, the police thought it would be a good idea for them to spend the night in jail, before the parents came to pick them up. The charges would be dropped at that time.

Mother thought a night in jail was the perfect punishment for Danny, and she told Kiddo that when he came home, to leave him alone. She was very firm about this. He had enough punishment, and she had an agreement with the policemen. She knew that Kiddo looked for any and every chance to whip us. He used to wait until we’d gone to bed at night, and wake us up by spanking our bare bottoms with a belt because we didn’t wash our feet before we went to bed.

Mother took off work at the Jean Factory the next day long enough to drive from Wewoka to Seminole to Pick Danny up, back to our house at Ong, then back to Wewoka to work.

Kiddo had also taken off that day. He was watching from Highway 99B as mother turned into the gravel road that led to Ong and our house.  Danny was telling me what had happened during the last three days when Kiddo burst through the door. He had left his car on the gravel road, hidden from view by our blackberry bushes, and walked the few hundred feet to the house.

Danny and I usually tried to get away, but this time he had us. Kiddo began hitting Danny in the face with his fists. I had to help my brother. While Kiddo was hitting Danny with his fists, I’d hit Kiddo in the back with mine. When He’d turn around to hit me in the face with his fists, Danny would hit him in the back with his. There was a brand new Morton Salt Shaker by the stove. I took it and smashed it on the back of his head. It took us six months to get all the salt out of the kitchen. The fight took on a furious turn as Danny dropped his guard and Kiddo landed a nasty blow to the side of Danny’s head. Then Danny turned and ran for the door, with Kiddo a half-step behind.

I thought if Kiddo caught him, he’d kill him, so I frantically looked for a weapon. I found the hammer, and threw it as hard as I could.  It hit Kiddo in the small of the back. He staggered, turned and gave me a hateful look as he went down on one knee. Then he struggled to get up off the floor to pursue Danny.

While Kiddo staggered, it gave Danny the head start he needed to run away. He was a good twenty feet in the lead, and would have gotten away, but he suddenly stopped and turned around. Kiddo was on him like a tiger, smashing Danny in the face with his fists. By the time I came running up to help, it was all over.

I asked Danny later why he didn’t keep running. Because, he said, he wanted to protect me, and besides, Kiddo would just catch him sooner or later, and he just wanted to get it over with.

A few hours later I heard someone screaming. When I walked around the barn, Kiddo was just throwing down the garden hose he had used to whip Danny. Danny motioned me to not interfere. It was over. To be sure, Danny never touched another watermelon. Mother never found out that Kiddo came home that day. If she’d known how he treated us, she would’ve gone into hysterics. Thus due to our own code of silence to “protect” our mother, we were perpetuating further abuse. Before a year had passed, Danny had run off to Dallas for good. And Kiddo has had back trouble ever since.

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the wordmaster says:
❝Another true story. Some tense moments.❞

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LOST IN THE CROWD

1998-11-10-273

POEM #098

LOST IN THE CROWD

Alone with no name

You are a faceless, nameless entity.

Stony people care not for your pain.

Your scream is like a pebble in the ocean

unnoticed, unseen, unfelt.

 

Lost in the crowd

A silent groaning beseeches

For a Mollifying paregoric that never comes.

Screams only echo to the top of your head.

Knots battle for control of your stomach.

 

You speak to a patron of stone:

Having heard does not want to hear;

Having seen, does not want to see;

Having felt, does not want to feel;

Having sensed, does not want to perceive.

 

Like they, you become seared and stony

You see the young person beside you:

A faceless, nameless entity.

His cry is like a pebble in the sea

unnoticed, unseen, unfelt.

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the wordmaster says:

❝So many people, and yet so many people feel as if they don’t have a friend in the world.❞

AnnieOakLeaf says:

❝Flea23 – Whatever you do, Larry…don’t ever give up on the fact that your heart and your soul tell you you’re a writer. It’s hard to hold on to that faith in yourself. Take that brave heart of yours and attain…be what you wish to be…be what you are. You have a lot of power in your pieces, Larry…it is Larry that writes and the Flea that plays…and laughs and giggle and plays hide and go seek. Write..Larry. I know you can. You leave kernels of truth…and rings of drama and the depth of perceptions all over the place. You are NOT lost in a crowd…in fact..you’re something of a stand-out.❞

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Questions

Questions

Questions
To be answered of humanity
Why am I here?
What am I doing?
Why?

If only I knew.
The circle of life
Life imitates art or
Art imitates life.
Does any of it matter?

Like the throwing stars into the sea,
“I saved this one”
I hope the one that was saved
May just have been
Me.

Larry M. Binion
(March 2015)

SUZANNE

SUZANNE

CARICATURE #023

Drawn 1997-06-14-221

With a flourishing script, she wrote into my yearbook. I gaped at her, the most beautiful girl in school was signing my 1962 yearbook because I asked her to. I couldn’t believe it. She was two years older than I was. She was a graduating senior while I was just a 10th grader. I hoped she didn’t notice how stupefied I was. She was way out of my social order. She was of the elite society, very pretty, and highly intelligent.

Then, abruptly she asked “Where’s your brother, Danny?”

“I haven’t seen him in the past two years. Where is he?” she queried.

“He moved to Dallas two years ago”. I said.

“I’m sorry to hear that”, she said. “I always wanted him to ask me out. I really liked him. Do you care if I sign your yearbook for him?”

“I don’t mind a bit”.

“You promise you’ll show it to him”.

She signed for Danny as well, and turned to the mob who was begging her to sign their yearbook. I was stunned. She had wanted to date my brother, and he had the nerve to move to Dallas. I couldn’t wait to tell him. She could easily have been a movie star queen. She was that pretty.

It was six months before I saw Danny again. I told him about the incident and showed him what she’d written. Naturally, he wanted to move back to Wewoka to find her, but he was now a High School dropout, and she was already in college somewhere.

Danny would later finish High School with a GED, but for now his only comfort was to stare at the words she had written to him: “Love Always, Suzanne.”

the wordmaster says:

Wish I had been her age.

CIDER MANIA (1954)

1998-06-04-267

ESSAY Personal #030

CIDER MANIA (1954)

Sometime in the summer of 1954, Kiddo had gotten a lot of apples. He decided to make apple cider out of them. He put them is a rain barrel and let them rot. After smelling that awful rotting smell for a week or two, he put some of the juice in a gallon jug. He took the sample and put it in the refrigerator. When my mother and Kiddo went to town, seven miles away, my curiosity got the best of me.

Now, I liked apple cider, having had some several times before. I looked forward to it with delicious expectation. At last, it was here in the refrigerator.

There were two jars in the refrigerator, one directly behind the other. The one in the front had little pieces of apple floating in it and tasted pretty good. The one behind, however, was a lot clearer and tasted much better. I vaguely wondered how two completely different textures and tastes could come from the same source, but I shrugged it off. I was pretty ignorant at eight years old.

Well, I was at the house all by myself with nothing to do. I decided I’d just taste the apple cider and report back to them how good I thought it was.

When my mother came back, she had to coax me off the roof. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk. I was totally messed up. I climbed to the top of the tree by our house, leaning out and raving like an idiot, and taking chances I never would have taken otherwise. I kept trying to talk to her, but I couldn’t understand why the words didn’t seem to come out right. I was drunk.

My mother was so mad at me, I thought she was going to kill me. But she began laughing. She laughed so hard she cried. This was the first time in memory Kiddo actually told mother not to spank me. Mother told me later that Kiddo had put some real wine into a jar so us kids wouldn’t know it was wine, and put it in the refrigerator. He thought we wouldn’t find it. Well, I had drunk about two-thirds of a gallon of the wine he didn’t think I’d find. That wine tasted so much better than the cider.

They bottled up the rest of the cider. It took a long time for me to drink any more of it, but when I finally did, with every sip I kept thinking that it wasn’t nearly as good as the wine in the other jug. No wine ever appeared in our refrigerator again. Mother saw to that. For that matter, no apple cider appeared in our refrigerator for many years.

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the wordmaster says:

❝It wasn’t funny to me.❞

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THE BOY WHO LOVED TOM SAWYER

1981-03-31-082

STORY #001

THE BOY WHO LOVED TOM SAWYER

Robert Timothy Birmingham, the rich kid from Highland Park, had just put down his favorite book, HUCKLEBERRY FINN. Downstairs, his father called “Lights out, Tim. Vacation starts tomorrow, 6:00 O’clock sharp”.

At last, a chance to visit the land of his favorite heroes: Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. He knew he’d never be a Huck Finn, or have the same adventures as Tom Sawyer. He was still dreaming what he would do as he fell asleep.

When the family arrived at Sawyerville, Louisiana, confusion was prevalent. They were able to rent a cabin right on the park campground. Tim’s dad issued instructions to help clear away the baggage to the twins, Mary and Jerry, and his mother Susan, and big brother Ben. Little Terri Lynn was too little to help, so she was to keep track of the dog, Shamus.

At last everything was in place. Tim couldn’t wait for dark, for he couldn’t wait to gaze out upon the Mississippi River, just like Tom Sawyer.

“Hullo”, said a voice behind him.

“Hi, who are you”, replied Tim.

“Hank Finkel, what’s yours? Are you on vacation? How come you came here?” Tim smiled at the torrent of questions, for this is how friends were made.

“My name is Robert Timothy Birmingham and we’re going to spend a few days here in Sawyerville because I never get to anywhere to have fun.”

“Well”, suggested Hank, “I’ve got a raft. Why don’t you ride the raft dowhn the Mississippi with me”?

“Yeah”, was Tim’s instant reply, but my dad would never let me go.

“Who said anybody has to know. We’ll be back in an hour or two.”

‘This is heaven’, thought Tim as they floated down river. There was no one to see his extreme joy as Tim, Hank, and Hank’s dog floated majestically along. Somewhere to the right, a streak of light lit up the sky for a split second.

The silence was broken by Hank “It’s gonna rain on us before we get back”.

Tim quickly thought about the trouble he would get into once he got back, then replied “Let it rain, hank. We’re adventurers!”

Soon the wrath of the heaven’s were being felt. The storm was at full strength. It became impossible to hang onto the little raft. There was a small, sandy beach up ahead. If only they could reach it.

Suddenly, they heard someone yell at them from two different directions. A boat with two people in it were coming from one direction, and on the little beach, Tim recognized his dad’s car and the whole family was with him. All the confusion made Hank fall in the water. All Tim could think of was the trouble he was going to get in. He would never forget the wonderful adventure he had on the Mississippi.

“Robert Timothy Birmingham! Wake up! It’s time to start our vacation. It’s 6:30 already! We’ve got to get going. Robert groaned. The adventure on the Mississippi was only a dream. Today they were to leave for Disneyland to have a wonderful, dreary time. At least they could have named him Tom.

Larry M. Binion
3-31-1981

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