03 June 2011

It's Just a Toe. It Ain't Proof.

"When I said that Daddy was a flagpole sitter, I s'pose most of you didn't really believe me.  They ain't so many flagpole sitters nowadays - not the way they used to be.  'Course, I s'pose they ain't as many flagpoles as they used to be, neither.  After the war people stopped puttin' up flagpoles the way they used to.

But Daddy, he would get out there and sit 'top them flagpoles like the best of 'em.  He was once helpin' out and doin' a flagpole sit for that new department store over in Cotton City - a long, long time ago, as that store  ain't there no more - and a man from some government agency asked Daddy to come and talk to him when he got down from that flagpole.  Daddy warn't too much inna'rested in talking to no man from the government, but he said he would, and that was that.  The man got on his way in a big, black government car and Daddy got back to his sittin'.

Well, Daddy stayed up on that flagpole for a few days, anyhow - I think it was through maybe a three day weekend that the store had a grand opening or a big old sale or something.  Sure, now I remember, it was a big sale.  They had outerwear and toiletry items on sale 'cause of the tornado season coming, and Daddy was sittin' on a special made-up pole that they could make sway when they wanted to.  They would pipe a sound effect over a phonograph and sway the pole and Daddy would let out a fake holler.  People would gasp and one lady even fainted.  When that happened, Daddy laughed so hard that he dropped the basket of fried chicken that Momma' had sent up to him (Momma, you recall, raised chickens for the State, and chicken was king at the dinner table in our house.  Maybe it is in yours, too.).  That danged old fried chicken just came showerin' down on the people comin' outta' the department store.  Colonel Murphee got hit on the shoulder with a breast and it left a big ol' greasy spot on his fine white suit.  He was mad, but he got over it.

On the day that Daddy came down, that man from the government was back, and I stood far away while he and Daddy talked.  I saw him show some pictures to Daddy, Daddy shouted something at the man, jabbed his finger into the man's breastbone, spit on the ground and shoved past him.  That man just got back in his big, black government car and drove off.  Daddy walked back to where I was waiting and gave me a hint of a smile.

"Lets go, son," he said, "we got the whole world waitin' for us."

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