Bad news at Thanksiving

Published 8:32 pm Friday, November 18, 2022

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Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and a thousand dishes piled in the kitchen to be scraped, washed, dried and put away. That’s my Thanksgiving memory that stands clear.

Except for the one Thanksgiving Daddy got lost in the woods and feared dead.

We, Mama and me, had gone to Eufaula to get my granny to come have Thanksgiving with us. We were late getting home and when we pulled into the yard,  the kitchen light silhouetted 6’5” Uncle James standing at the door. As we got out of the car, he came rushing toward us.

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“I’ve got bad news,” he said, directly to Mama. “William’s lost in the woods. Been looking three hours. We’re getting the National Guard to help us find him.”

Mama, who was born a nervous wreck, started crying and my granny, too. They grabbed each other, crying and praying and going around and around in a tight little circle under the magnolia tree.

“Go with me to tell Daddy that William’s lost in the woods,” Uncle James said. “Not much hope.”

I glanced back at Mama and my granny, crying and circling, then I followed Uncle James.

Pop was hard of hearing. He was sitting in his recliner at the far length of the den.

“Daddy,” Uncle James said. “I’ve got bad news! William is lost in the back woods! We’ve called out the National Guard!”

“I can’t hear you,” Pop said, giving his familiar thump on his pocket hearing aide.

“William is lost in the woods! Lost.. in.. the.. woods!!!”

Pop thumped his walking stick on Uncle James ‘ boot. “He was up town. I saw him.”

“Daddy! William is lost in the woods!!”

Pop nudged Uncle James with his walking stick. “William’s up town. I saw him a little bit ago.”

Pop couldn’t hear but he could see. He had his mind.

Uncle James looked at me (?) I looked at him(?)

We ran over each other trying to get out the door.  Mama and my granny had stopped circling and  were sobbing on the steps.

As soon as I opened the door, I heard the TV. Perry Mason was giving his closing argument. For sure, Daddy was rocked back in his recliner, eating Planters salted peanuts and drinking a Co-cola.

I found the door in a hurry. Cane had killed Able with the leg of a table. I didn’t want to be around for that.