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“A Rather Rattling Kind of Boy”
I was born at Alexandria, in Dekalb County, Tennessee, on the tenth day of February, 1832. On my next birthday I will be seventy-eight years old. I have accomplished little so far, and unless I hurry up, I will go out with a small record…
I am inclined to think I was a rather rattling kind of boy….
I had heard the question of whether a dog could outrun a horse. I concluded that this was a good time to try the question. I called the dog and he came a running. I let the mare out, and looking at the dog, I did not notice that the mare got on the wrong side of a gully. When she jumped she fell and knocked what little sense I had out of me…
My brother and I used to fight every few days. My father got tired of it and told us if we would not quit he would send us where we would never see each other again. I loved Jake better than any other brother I had. But he was a high-tempered fellow…
“The Head of John the Baptist”
There at the corner where the bar curved around to meet the wall sat Butch, half on a stool, facing away from the bar and leaning back with his elbows propped on the bar counter for support, shirt sleeves rolled up his forearms, collar unbuttoned, tie loose, a Miller Lite in one hand, a cigarette with a long drooping ash about to fall in the other, and letting – not that he could help it – his big belly hang over his belt, stretching the button to the point of popping. Butch stared vacantly toward the booths against the opposite wall, mouth open, lip distended. His chin sported a streak of what appeared to be ranch dressing. Rob looked to the right and left on the bar, then directly at Butch.
“Where are the buffalo wings?”
“What buffalo wings?”
When Butch spoke, the movement made the cigarette ash drop to the floor. He took a drink of his beer, then turned slightly and tapped the cigarette on the edge of an ash tray on the bar without looking back at it.
“How’d you know? I ate ’em all.”
“Master William Walker Houston”
“Pappy, tell me how I got my name again.”
“Again? We never talked about that before did we?”
“Yes sir. We did. A long time ago. Just like this, when we went fishing.”
Pappy tried to reckon how long was a long time to his grandson, but he could not remember any occasion when they might have talked about it before.
“Well son, there’s a lot of that story you’re just too little to understand.”
“No I’m not! I’ll be eight years old next month.”
Billy stuffed an entire egg-half in his mouth and stared in defiance. Pappy knew this look. When the boy locked his eyes on you, it meant there was no denying him. Pappy decided he could get the story started at least. The rest could come later when Billy was older.
“Well all right, Billy. I like telling that story anyhow.”