Orville

By Garland Davis

50 Dollar Bill | SkiTalk | Ski reviews, Ski Selector

Orville was back in his hometown of Possum Creek, NC.  It is a no stoplight town  halfway around the mountain from the larger town of Possum Holler.  He was back from Winston=Salem where he had worked setting poles to hold electric wires through the summer.  Winter is coming and they don’t set poles in cold weather except in an emergency.  That have their regular workers for that.

He was sitting on the front porch of Ledbetter’s store smoking a ready roll and drinking a Big Grape.  He had heard his cousin Jebibiah, it was supposed to be Jedidiah but his mama and the county clerk who filled out his birth certificate had a combined education of third grade, was back from Balt’more. Jebibiah was the best they could do. Everybody called him Jeb except his mama, she called him Jed.  She maintains that no matter how it is spelled, his name is Jedidiah and should be called Jed.  She picked that name because she was watching Beverly Hillbillies when he was conceived.  She loved the show and never missed an episode. Her old man had to go to work and didn’t want to wait till it was over cause it would have made him late.

Jeb/Jed pulled up in a new red, white, and chrome 55 Ford convertible car.

Jeb climbed the steps onto the porch and said, “Hey, Orv! How ya doin?’

“I’m purty good,” Orville answered. “You done took up car stealin’ these days? I know you ain’t got ‘nuff money to buy one a them tars on that there car much less the car.”

“You wrong there boy. I went up there to Balt’more and got me a job voting. I tell you, money is falling off the trees in Balt’more.  I made almost ten thousin dollars in one day. Like pickin’ money up offin the ground.”

He continued, “I’m gonna get me a drank.  What kind a Co Cola you want? I’ll get you one.”

“One a them Big Grapes.”

Jeb went into the store and shortly returned with the drinks and a couple of Phillies cigars.  He handed the drink and a cigar to Orville.

Orville exclaimed, “Damn, a twenty-five-cent cigar. I’ll bet you be shittin’ in indoor torlets these days. Is it really that easy to get a job in Balt’more? I might just run up there when I git enough money for a Greyhound ticket.”

“I tell you, I bet I didn’t walk more than ten feet from the bus station when this feller offered me a job.  I tell you Boy.  Money is falling off the trees in Balt’more.  Tell you what I’ll do. A ticket from town is $9.46.  I’ll loan you $20 and you can pay me back when you come home.”

“Okay, I’ll do it!”

Jed, or is it Jeb, took two tens from his billfold and passed them to Orville.  He said, “I’ll give you a ride home to git yer stuff and then drop you at the bus station over to the Holler.  The bus leaves in about two hours and you’ll be in Balt’more by tomorrow mornin’.”

Shortly after dawn the next morning found Orville strolling along past a park about a block from the bus station. And there on the ground, under a tree, he spied a brand new $50 bill.  Orville became elated and bent to pick it up.  Suddenly he stopped and looked at the bill and said, “I ain’t gonna work on my first day in Balt’more.  I’ll pick you up tomorrow!”

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The Front Porch

by Garland Davis.

front porch

Where I grew up in rural North Carolina almost every house had a front porch. In winter it was a place to store firewood and during nicer weather, it was a place to congregate and talk about the events of the day.  It was a place where neighbors could congregate and share the news. I learned many things just sitting and listening to the adults.

 In the evenings after the day’s work and the after supper, yeah, I said supper, chores were finished. Dinner was what you ate at midday. The grown-ups would bring the chairs from the house and congregate around the open window where the radio could be heard. They would talk and tell stories, pausing occasionally to listen to a joke by Jack Benny or to a tense moment of the Lone Ranger when Tonto was dangling over a cliff.

 Although, people were sitting and talking their hands were not idle, especially when the garden came in. I remember snapping and stringing beans for my Mama and Granny to can the next day. Once, a fellow, coming back from down east gave my dad three bushels of peaches. We peeled peaches, it seemed forever.

 It was also a place to sip a little Shine on Saturday nights and “make music.” An uncle with his fiddle, my dad semi-proficient with the five-string banjo, and a fellow with a guitar, as well as a teenager who played guitar and sang. (he went on to make a life in Country Music).  He even had a hit song, “A Rose and a Baby Ruth.”

 But the people who used the front porch most in the spring, summer, and fall were the oldsters. You could drive through the country and nearly every house had an old man, old woman, or one of each sitting on the porch watching the traffic go by. They waved (what we called, “thowed up their hand”) to every car that passed. Looking back on it, the only contact they had with the outside was the people in those cars. I realize they were just sitting there waiting to die. You don’t see them on the porches or in public these days. They are in Senior Citizen’s Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, or whatever fancy name they can come up with in order to charge more to warehouse unwanted oldsters.

There is still a front porch of sorts for those of us who are old and not as physically able to do a hell of a lot. We sit alone in a room connected to hundreds of people we do not know but we call them “friends.” Officially I have 1643 friends this morning. I probably have met and know a hundred of them. My “front porch” has a twenty-seven-inch screen, the latest iteration of Windows, and two terabytes of something I do not understand. It is my window to the world where I write serious political commentaries and other crap that wanders through my mind. I, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, try my warped sense of humor on others.

We can write to each other and actually talk face to face, though hundreds and thousands of miles apart. I have recently discovered that some of us can get together in group calls and talk, tell sea stories, and laugh at the antics we engaged in during a younger day.

So, if you run across me somewhere out there in the ether, “Thow Up Your Hand.” Perhaps, we will both live a little longer.

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