Friday, July 07, 2006

"a man who wasn't there..."

Typical Older Ozark Farmhouse
(Borrowed from George E. Hall Photos: #256)

These stories could go on and on, but if I kept on telling them, people would infer that I must have hung around with freaks all the time.

I didn't.

Rather, I grew up in a very small, rather isolated Ozark town, and I knew everybody. Everybody knew everybody. Everybody knew everything (shudder) about everybody. Go read their blogs and see what they say about me.

(I hope that they aren't writing any blogs.)

Knowing everybody means that you know the drug dealers because you grew up playing baseball with them. You know that girl who went to prison for fatally shooting her abusive dad because the two of you used to clamber around on the monkey bars together in the schoolyard. You know the telephone operator who sells her body on the side for pocket money because she was the older sister of the girl who sat beside you in science class. You know that young pastor on fire for the Lord because he used to binge drink with your younger brother before turning to a different life.

And they all know you.

Everybody is always telling stories. Sometimes, I know that I get the tales confused, but I've heard so many versions, and my memory is faulty. Apologies all around.

I don't recall who told me this particular tale, and it's not very long or especially interesting, but it has always stuck with me.

There was one young fellow in my hometown who spent much of his early twenties drinking with his buddies, smoking dope, and generally experimenting with drugs. He still lived at home with his folks but usually slept on the floor of other people's houses or wherever he happened to pass out ... kind of like Johnny Cash in that scene from Walk the Line where he sleeps on the ground and wakes up the next morning to find himself in a forest lying beside a lake and staring up at a new house. The guy, like Johnny, would lie there wondering, "Where am I?" before staggering to his feet and heading home.

(Unlike Johnny, though, he couldn't buy the place where he'd woken up.)

One time, his parents were gone, so he had his drugheaded friends over at their farmhouse, where they all sat up drinking beer and whiskey, smoking pot and hash, and listening to music until deep into the night before crashing there on the floor ... all of them.

One of the friends, the one whom I can't quite recall but who told me the story, remembers waking up first the next morning but just staying there on the floor, feeling profoundly lazy and waiting for the others to rouse themselves.

At some point, the guy whose house it was woke up, rose groggily to his feet, stretched himself, and then started for the door with a purposeful stride.

The friend on the floor called out to him and asked, "Hey, uh, where're yuh goin'?"

"Where am I goin'?" he retorted, impatient. "I'm goin' home!" He then walked out the door, got into his car, and drove off.

Perhaps, eventually, he found his way back home. I hope so. Not everybody does.

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At 10:08 PM, Blogger amba said...

You've come a long way, baby.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Nothing to compare with the distance traversed by your husband, Jacques Sandulescu.

And he has a lot more to be proud of.

Jeffery Hodges

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