My Dog Skip
Memory is a funny thing.
Recollections slip in and out and around in time
leaving plenty of room to weave and backtrack
and drift and glide.
In my life, I've found that
memories of the spirit linger and sweeten
long after memories of the brain have faded.
My fondest memories are of my childhood days
back in Yazoo, Mississippi.
I can still see the town now.
Ten thousand souls, and nothing doing.
Where the old men sat drowsily in straw-bottom chairs
watching the big cars with out-of-state plates whip by.
Drivers hardly knowing
and certainly not caring what place this was.
There was a war going on then.
And it touched our lives every day.
War, President Roosevelt reminded us
required everybody to make sacrifices. And boy, we did.
The cotton grew tall that year, the summer of 1942
but I sure didn't.
Matter of fact, I stayed so small and puny
I was a target for the neighborhood bullies.
Fortunately, I lived next door to Dink Jenkins
Yazoo's best athlete and favorite son.
Where do you think they'll send you?
Probably Fort Benning for basic, then overseas, I reckon.
How long will you be gone?
That's hard to say.
If you're not home, who will show me how to throw a curve ball?
You promised to show me.
Partner, you're gonna do just fine.
While I'm gone, you'll make friends your own age
and who knows, you might even meet a girl.
This was a time of large families.
Four or five kids, sometimes more.
So needless to say, ours was already unusual
what with me being the only child.
My mother was lively and talkative.
Certainly didn't fit the housewife mold.
And my daddy
Well, my daddy was stern and overbearing.
He was a war veteran and had lost his leg in battle.
And from most accounts, it changed him.
Sometimes it seemed that along with that leg
he'd also lost a piece of his heart.
You know I.C.? Colored fellow at the service station?
His son came back from Europe today Wonderful.
In a box.
Somebody around here's gonna be having a birthday pretty soon.
You been thinking about how you want to celebrate?
A party maybe?
Will, your mother asked you a question.
Stop. You're lucky to have that food, with the rationing.
Would you like a party?
I picked these up today at Carr's drugstore.
You can't very well have a party without guests, now can you?
After supper, you fill them out and give them to your friends tomorrow.
What about John Abner?
He's 5. He still wets his pants.
There are plenty of children who would love to attend your party.
Your mother went to a lot of trouble to get invitations.
And you will fill them out.
Can I be excused?
Yes, you may.
Don't forget your invitations.
What are we gonna do?
He's gonna be so lonely without Dink.
Maybe we should reconsider what we talked about before.
Absolutely not. We've been over this already.
It is not a good idea. Not for Will, not now.
He is still too young.
Y'all be careful All right, we will!
Hey, you wait for us!
You take care, you hear?
Come on, Jenkins!
Can't keep old Adolf a-waitin' !
Fellas, y'all want to come?
We was wondering...
We wanted you to sign our football.
You know, as a souvenir.
Beside Slingin' Sammy Baugh.
His name came with the ball.
This might be a little soon, don't you think?
I ain't even played college ball yet.
Jenkins, come on. Let's go!
Thanks, Dink Let me see!
Willie-boy, aren't you gonna wish me luck?
Y'all give me a second, okay?
What's the matter?
When I get back, I'll show you how to throw that curve ball.
Shoot, yeah, really. Don't forget to write me.
Give the letters to my mama. She'll send them.
I want you to tell me everything that happens around here, okay?
Don't leave nothing out.
This is mine.
I hope it'll mean something to you.
You didn't think I'd forget your birthday, did you?
I'll see you.
Here we go now!
Twenty-four, 32, hut, hut!
Pass it. Here, I'm open!
Goofball can't even catch!
Time to come in.
Why didn't you catch it, you big titty-baby?
Let me see it.
I can't believe that titty-baby lives right next door to Dink Jenkins.
What a waste!
Here, let me help you.
They say this is what all the dapper young men in Memphis are wearing.
Thank you, Grandma.
Huck Finn! Thank you, Grandpa!