Friday, May 26, 2006

Bookfield, Salt of the Earth - Part 2

I rode for a couple of miles after leaving Watkins without seeing more houses. I came to a dirt road that seemed to have some farm houses at its end and so I turned onto it. The dirt was packed firmly and no weeds were growing up the middle, so I figured it was frequently traveled. Of the three houses at the end I chose to start with the smallest. It was really no more than a one room house and it looked as though it hadn’t had a paint job in years. Weeds grew up around it with such abundance that they could have been intended as foundation plantings. I put my bike down on the soft weeds and walked up to the door. I knocked and stood back.

An old man came to the door. He was squat and his grizzled stubbly beard extended down the folds of his reddened neck. His few strands of black hair were swept straight back. He wore a dirty undershirt and green work pants. He held the door open with his left hand, and in his right had he held a shot gun.

“Good thing you ain’t no nigger or I’d blow yer ass right off my lawn!” he warned. Then he laughed and showed his missing teeth.

I was shocked by what he said, but suddenly really glad to be white on that particular day. I stammered through my approach. He opened the screen door and showed me in. Somehow, even though this man was a racist, and brandished a gun, I felt, oddly enough, that he wouldn’t harm me. So I entered. I was right that the house was one room. The decor could be summed up as shabby. All of the furnishings must have been at least thirty years old and were not quality things to start with. The wallpaper had yellowed and was peeling off in sheets. The ceiling was cracked. There was a hooked rug on the floor with bare spots and it wouldn’t surprise me if the sofa had mice living in it. But, the man showed me to this sofa, instead of the wooden rocker I had my eye on. I guess the rocker was his usual seat. So, I sat on the sofa only to find it to be rock hard. As I sat and went through my demo, which seemed to entertain my host, I squirmed on this hard side of the cushion. Finally I put my hand under the cushion to see what was there. It was a pistol.

“Oh you’ve found my pistol.” the man said. “Yep, I always keep the shot gun by the door and the pistol under the sofa cushions, you know, just in case I don’t have time to answer the door.”

I smiled a little smile, put the cushion back like it was and said, “Yes sir, I know what you mean.” He didn’t buy a book, but I wasn’t surprised.

5 comments:

Mike said...

He sounds like some of the people who live around here.

Sue said...

Thanks Mike. Yeah, The south is like that I guess.

savante said...

Whoa. Guns and pistols and all that. Guess some stereotypes are true :)

Paul

Sue said...

Thanks for commenting Paul! Yes, some sterotypes are true.

Anonymous said...

Very pretty design! Keep up the good work. Thanks.
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