For Stephan G. Jones
Folks say he tips the bottle, Alas! and Alack!
When and Alack!
last I saw him I swear it tipped him back.
He fell off the bar stool … rolled down the isle [aisle] aways
Seemed to me the poor soul was in a sort of daze.
His mate look kind of kittenish, but I’m tellin’ you that
She fell upon her addled prey and mauled him like a cat.
“Saints Preserve us”, the barkeep shrieked, “Tis every Sat’y night
Them lolly-gaggin’ so-and-sos come in HERE to fight.”
“Don’t be callin’ on the Saints – Gus,” said Pius Pappy Gillin,
“Git that hen-huzz off’n him or theys gonna be a killin’”.
“Shet up Pappy,” Gus replied, “you knows I hurries – NEVER.
They hain’t a soul down here below that can AFFORD to LIVE FOREVER.”
Mr. Aimed-To never did. Neither did Mr. Didn’t Do
These twain lived together down on Doless Slew
In a battered old house called the Manse-of-NEVER-WIN
There they planned a task or two which they never did begin.
Folks say the place was haunted and ‘TWAS long about THEN
When FROGGY FRAN was tackled by the ghost of SHIFTLESS BEN.
It shook her up, and wallowed her, and dumped her in the bog. “Jesus-God!,” she said,
‘He had no git-up when alive but WHAT-A-MAN when DEAD!!
A hootowl spoke from a cypress tree: ‘Whoo – whoo air you?
“Shut up, brazen hant!” Fran gasped, ”I’d tell ye if I knew.”
So ‘twas that FROGGY FRAN forsook the walks of mortal men.
But folks claim they often see her clothed in immortality hand in hand with SHIFTLESS MEN.
[Editor’s note: The three pages comprising FF-7-b through FF-7-d are random, handwritten notes by unknown authors without context, and while they appear on the pdf, are not transcribed here.]
[Editor’s note: What follows is a two-page untitled autobiographical sketch of Lynetta’s life and reflections on her son, with numerous notes and cross-outs. For the sake of flow and clarity, the notations of these cross-outs and insertions have been removed.]
It was one of those rare days when I had escaped the treadmill of my self-enslavement, to regular jobs in industrial plants, to expel the usual accumulation of dust and attack the disarray of my house. I was a working wife. My husband had been a semi-invalid all of our married life – a matter of ten years or more. He was sixteen years older than I, and a veteran of the first world war.
I had read the signs correctly in the early years of our marriage: economically, this marriage was, and never can be greater than my ability to endow it with whatever worldly goods were required to make it so.
I was of slight build and limited strength, but according to my philosophy, nothing was impossible and my ambition for my son knew no bounds! I had chosen what I considered a favorable time to bring him into the world, and my judgment had been at its lowest ebb at that moment. My son was born right in the midst of the depression and all he had seen of this world since had been the grinding aftermath of depression.
The animals on this day, and there were many animals in our house, had taken up comfortable positions in quiet and less frequented places. The salvage of these rejected and needy fellows has been my son’s very first objective. “These things ARE my work,” he said very often, “you must understand, Mother, that I was sent to earth to do many things that others do not wish to do – or cannot do. That is why I must often offend the baby sitters by not being at home and even hurt you sometimes. You know I love you very much and you have come nearest to understanding this and everything else about me than anyone else now living… but I must go each day and save the animals that people throw out tied up in sacks. I can hardly bear their cruelties.”
There was young Jim’s crib in the corner – it was four foot in length and still large enough to hold him, but seldom was utilized by him these days – so busy was he, dropping in on the lonely, the kinless and the sick, taking wildflowers and enchanting odds and ends of things which he could not bear to see abandoned to a junk heap because of their latent beauty… wherever beauty was in person or thing, obscured as it often was by careless handling, it became its BEST under his touch.
Troubled people came and he talked long and very learnedly because with them he had to take philosophical approaches to solutions. He did this in the privacy of “his church” in the 2nd story of the garage (as spacious, comfortable place with fresh flowers ALWAYS on the altar). Some time later and after their troubles had cleared up, many of these would seek me out. Someone speak rather nastily or irately, as if resenting “something” about my attitude toward my son. These I assumed to be close associates of my husband’s kin, who held that one’s character if a housewife was dwarfed by working outside the home especially if she
was so skillful and if her services were as much in demand as were mine.
The sun topped the distant trees and cleared the intervening shadow, and in a burst of glory washed through the big picture window where my husband sat observing the early morning passers-by as they surged in and out of town along the main artery of travel easterly and westerly. Our village of Lynn, Indiana, provided but few means of making a living for the impoverished who were forced to seek employment in either Winchester, 17 miles to the North, or in Richmond, a somewhat larger city, 17 miles to the South. Our city was halved by Federal Highway #36 which ran from coast-to-coast through flatlands and hot winds of Kansas, lush farming country, where wheat was the most lucrative crop and all of which have resisted depression well compared to urban centers where one could not grow their own produce.
THE NEW MINISTER
The following incident was repeated to me by those who had witnessed it. I had worked a night shift and was sleeping late. Young Jim had risen with the sun; abrim, as usual, with his plans for the day.
My nearest neighbor, an early riser, told me later that Jim was just returning from a large pasture across the railroad tracks with a bouquet of dandelion larger than himself, and accompanied by all the village dogs, when she had glanced out of her kitchen window. It had become a habit with her to see if Young Jim was up yet. Jim was topless, she said, and his cutoffs had been ripped or cut up the sides to the waistline. She had been astonished, she said, as a contrast between his snow white thighs and the deep bronze of the rest of his body. He and all the dogs wore leaf hats, fresh and un-wilted, like the flowers, and still sparkling with the early morning dew, though the day was getting hotter by the moment.
He had packed his red wagon, placing lunch and other items carefully beside the flowers, attaching the wagon seat up front and placing the smaller dogs in it. Arrangements complete, Jim had struck out for the open country west of town, the neighbor said, with Pal Dog, the large white Eskimo Spitz, walking beside him proudly with shoulder pressed against his right thigh, and Chango, Mr. Clark’s so-called vicious dog, was pressed against his left thigh. As he pulled the wagon at a brisk pace, the other dogs fanned out behind – in orderly rank. It had been a beautiful sight, she said, sighing indulgently and regretting that her camera was broken. Having watched Jim out of sight, she remembered she was late for church and hurried in her house to dress.
I pulled out of bed some hours later, leaving Susan Q, the pig and Cuppie Do, the very small puppy still snoozing. Restless, I joined the neighbor who had returned from church and was fiddling around in her flower garden. “I feel worried,” she said, “You know how that Bull Durham and Clop-Hop Andrews likes to tease our
Jim because he is so cute? Well, they are both working on a stock farm out that way – you know – neither of them is quite bright.” I replied: “If they mess with him, they will be teasing a harp on a cloud somewhere. Both Chango and Pal despise them with a purple passion. Only last week it took three men to get them off those two, when they were teasing him. It isn’t noon yet. I’ll go out there, if he isn’t back in 15 minutes.”
Just then a group of ladies returning from church approached us, hurriedly. My heart leaped into my throat. It was obvious from their actions that something very exciting had happened. The ladies launched into a story about Young Jim coming into the church with a big bouquet of dandelions and his piggy bank. The dogs around him had walked sedately as if aware of the gravity of the moment, they said. The ladies were taking turns talking, with another picking up when one ran out of breath.
Young Jim and his dogs had approached the pulpit whrere the new minister was conducting his first service in his new assignment.
Surprised, the minister had stopped in mid-stride. Silence had hung over the congregation as Jim presented the flowers, pour the contents of his bank into the topmost of a stack of collection plates, and said: “I am glad you came Brother Williams. You are needed here. You will not be sorry. Success will be yours. The work will be hard, but you will not mind that.”
The minister thanked the boy, the ladies said, as big tears spilled down his face. Others had cried, then. The minister said: “These are fine friends you have, Jim. Will you introduce them to me, by name?” This Jim had proudly done, saying in passing as the man stroked each dog, “Susan Q., our pig and Cuppie Do, my smallest puppy are at home in bed with my mother. They were so upset because she was working a night shift last night that I just stayed up and rocked them. I didn’t feel so brave, either, with Mom away. We all sleep with her, you know.”
I groaned heavily: “God gimme strength! I will be the talk of the town, my sleeping with a half-grown hog after sunrise; neglecting a half-naked breakfastless child. Continue,” I roared. “I must
know the worst at once.”
“Wait!”, exclaimed the taller of the ladies. “Hear this! It was a Revelation!”
“It always is,” I moaned, “were it not so the village gossip mills would run out of Raw Material.”
Quite unruffled, the tall lady carried on with the narrative. Young Jim, it seemed, had closed the conversation as abruptly as he had opened it, and walked back down the aisle followed by his canine friends in orderly rank. Someone has giggled. Another had laughed. Jim had ignored both and continued on his way. When he had gone, the lady said, the minister wiped his tears again and addressed the congregation angrily. She quoted the minister.
“Many have spent a lifetime praying for a miracle,” he said, “a sign that never came. Today, you have been privileged above all others. You have witnessed a miracle in the coming of that child, to this place, and yet someone among you laughed. I’d rather have been the man who tied the millstone to his neck and jumped into the sea
than to walk in the shoes of those who laughed,” he said. “I have never received a gift so precious as those he gave to me, though I dwell upon this earth one thousand years, I never shall for[get]. There is no greater gift in earth or in Heaven.” The minister had cried hard for a while, she said, and there hadn’t been a dry eye in the church.
That minister’s work was, as Jim had said, very successful, and he was given excellent support, which was not too common, since the town folk had not been especially cordial to strangers and the ministry was a highly competitive calling.
Then I heard them coming – Jim and his entourage. The barking, the clatter, and the happy laughter had reached the ears of Sue Q. and Cuppie Do. Both erupted from my abused screen door; Sue in the role of battering ram, and Cuppie trotting under her belly like a wee pilot fish escorting a huge whale. They struck off to meet the returning pilgrims. There were moans of delight, lapping of tongues, and friendly pushing and shoving – while Cuppie Do ran about wholly out of control, still heavy with sleep but yelping wildly. While I pulsed with gratitude at this belated homecoming, one of the
ladies was saying:
“Mrs. Jones, I understand you do not believe in the Crucifixion.” Amazed, I dragged my thoughts back from the far place (that retreat reserved for folk who are said to be lost in thought”, to mumble: “How could I disbelieve? I have witnessed many crucifixions. I have been crucified many, many times. Whomsoever dares depart from the norm: chart new seas, or hearken to a different drumbeat – is – is gotta be – ‘tis so written up on the sands of time,” said I. If she had shrieked “Blasphemer” and spat upon me, I daresay, I would not have been surprised, but that look she gave me defies description. It was a bit as if Satan’s daughter had took form before her eyes in one moment, and in the next moment as if she was beholding a shattering phenomena of a reverse nature.
Another woman spoke after a long silence: “Then it must be true that you believe in reincarnation,” she said. “Quite so!” I replied, “every time I feel that urge to take the neck of one of my own species (genus homo) between these two hands – I die a little, and must, thereupon experience reincarnation. And that reminds me to
ask you – do you believe God told Lot’s wife not to look back, and if so, how do you think God expected that poor woman to know where she’d been or how to chart her course for elsewhere, if she didn’t look back.”
My nearest neighbor, bursting with mirth, muttered something and rushed into her house. I fixed the remaining ladies with a stony stare and asked, “Do you think God told that horney ol’ goat to impregnate his own daughters?” Silence fell – and held. The ladies said they must hurry home and fix lunch. I muttered absently, “Just remember this. Somebody must have lied on God. Somebody surely must have, and several somebodies must have kept that lie lives these thousands of years.”
Lynetta Jones • 1-3-76
COLORADO CRACKS DOWN ON INSURANCE ‘ROLLOVER’
The Colorado State Insurance Division has handed out some 35 revocations, suspensions and fines in the course of their investigation of insurance agents and others who exploit the aged.
Agents are allowed a 20-60 percent commission on a first sale of an insurance policy, as compared to 5-20 percent commission on a renewal. So these ‘bright boys’ become representatives of several insurance companies and at years end [illegible word] talked the gullible into taking new policies with a different company. When the list of companies ran out the agent sold his customer to some other agent and the same racket was thus repeated every year and renewals became a thing of the past with all sales becoming “first” payables at 20-60 percent rate of commission. This exploit is known as an insurance ‘rolllover.’
J. Richard Barnes, Colorado’s state insurance commissioner says the chief targets of these agents are persons who are eligible for Medicare who are desperately seeking supplemental benefit policies and many of these are completely unaware of what they are buying. Barnes says this trickery does not constitute a violation of law, but the failure to give a statement of disclosure about a NEW POLICY is a violation of the state’s insurance law.
One lady had no less than 112 policies with yearly premiums of $6000. Barnes requested the court to appoint a legal guardian. This was done.
Another incident under investigation in Colorado is agreements to assist in filing health, accident and hospital claims for a first cost of $10.00 plus a one year membership costing $25 and a $2 a month service charge. Barnes is not certain whether this type of thing is a violation of the state’s theft-by-deception laws and statutes governing the sale of insurance and services requiring licenses. The investigation will clear up these uncertainties.
Medicare beneficiaries are not expected to pay for such services as these. Attending physicians can bill Medicare with the same effort it takes to bill you. Insurance companies who are on the up-and-up can and will expect their agents to provide such assistance when necessary.
Source: AARP news bulletin Vol. XVII, No. 11 – Dec 1976
Published by: Amer. Assoc. of Retired Persons Washington DC
Nov. 1, 1976
The raccoon’s kitten, like the house cat’s babes flubbed the first attempts at tree climbing. Going up for the first time is a great accomplishment, indeed, but the need for reverse action coming down is a frightening thing, met with reluctance and great anxiety since it requires one to descend bottom first and I’ve never known a kitten babe that wasn’t determined at first to do it head first. But who is there among us who would not hesitate to back into something he couldn’t see?
Be that as it may, it was some weeks before Bobby surrendered to this need – to descend rump first. Meantime I was often out at midnight or after and fair weather or foul trying to lay a long ladder purloined from the adjacent firehouse or the painter’s barn, against the trunk of the tallest tree in town, or having failed with the ladder just sitting there in the topmost branches cooling consolation while I held Bob and wiped blood off my legs at intervals – just waiting – for the village stragglers to go home and to bed.
One night having failed with the ladders I climbed up a well-foliaged create with several links of heavy white sheeting tied around my body for use in case Bob became hysterical and fought. In the interim while I was wrapping Bob preparing to lower him gently – a drunk had unobtrusively collapsed against the bow of the tree – where the shadow was deepest.
Bobby was lowered on the bald head of the drunk who squalled like a panther. Bobby went into action and mauled the drunk – and ran for home with half of the white sheet billowing out behind him. He finally pulled free of it – just as I hauled the other half of the sheeting back into the tree, wrapping it around me I half fell half climbed down from the tree, seized Bobbie’s half of the sheeting and leaped behind a nearby hedge.
Meantime the inebriated one was flat on his back right in the center of the main artery of travel – rolling, kicking and yelling while harshly applied brakes screamed and squealed – in vehicles lined up bumper-to-bumper for two blocks on either side – I hid my sheets, and sauntered into the open, surreptitiously.
Mrs. Smith seized my arm and said, toothlessly, “A large creature, big as a lion – it – it – jumped poor ol’ Jo-Jo – May the saints preserve us. It’s a wonder his weak heart hadn’t stopped,” she gasped. With my eyes set on her orange hair which was ever a source of amazement to me, I replied absently: “Didn’t scream or growl?” “Yes! Yes!” she shrieked,
“it was heard all over town.”
“You heard it?” I ventured timidly, “did you see it?”
“What I saw looked more like a ghost,” she yelled. “’Tis God’s mercy he wasn’t killed but there he was poor soul – wallowing & screaming there in the street, when I [last line on page cut off]
taking advantage of her distraction and the general confusion – I leaped into the shrubbery, grabbed my sheeting, and rushed back home where Bobby was whimpering and waiting beside the door. He blew impatiently as I held him close. I put him to bed in my bed and covered him up. He pulled me down, patted my face – and licked my hand appreciatively, and was sound asleep almost immediately.