by Kent Fletcher
My folks, probably my father, once had this little statement hanging in the kitchen window at 900 College Street in Cleveland, Mississippi:
Most times I just sits.
And lots of times I goes to sleep."
These words came from an old front-page cartoon character titled "Hambone" in The Commercial Appeal out of Memphis, Tennessee.
"Most times I just sits." That pretty well sums up what I do with a lot of my time, a lot of my free time. But lately I've been going back to the first statement, "Sometimes I sits and thinks." And it's the thinking part which has piqued my curiosity.
Like yesterday while I was sitting in front of the big house, watching and observing the passersby during the infamous, local Antique Alley parade. For the first hour or so, I just sat, occasionally rising and moving my sale items around in the yard for different effects. When I tired of sitting under the ancient cedar tree, I moved up onto the porch and sat in an old swing, swangin' the day away . . . and thinking.
I'd received an e-mail from a friend in California, saying he believed that I have lived a fascinating life. Well, I don't know if I would go that far, but thinking back on it this morning, out in front of the big house, I tended to "sit and think" about what he'd said. And this is what I wrote:
"I sent out a rather large e-mail on Thursday, I believe it was, referencing MLK's speech, GC Wallace's statements, just mostly rhetorical stuff and a few questions about recent history, not really expecting any replies -- but I did get a few. I have an e-mailing list of around 100 addresses stretching from coast to coast. Most of these people I have met at some time in many different settings. Childhood friends, Navy comrades, old CO's. Black folks, white folks, brown folks, yellow folks, and even red folks. Married folks, single folks; pretty ones, ugly ones. Business people, politicians, women, men, gays, lesbians, bi's. A Limey, a Canuck, a redneck or two, a Yankee, my ex-wife, an ex-family-in-law, a retired preacher, an ex-con, whores, hookers, and gigolos. And animal lovers and haters, hunters, fishers. Druggies; drunks, "beautiful" people, celeb wannabees, former lovers and maybe even future lovers, a peg leg. Nudists, writers, racists, bigots, hypochondriacs, psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, lawyers -- even maybe an Indian chief.
I enjoy meeting people, interesting or not, important or not, white collar or blue collar, people who may or may not influence my life somewhere down the road. Immigrants, locals, folks who have never ventured along the road of life who give me a different life perspective. All these people, all these successful and not-so-successful people give various meanings of life, each in their own unique way.
So have I had a wonderful or a fascinating or enriched life, more than anyone else, less than anyone else? No, I personally don't think so. But then again, where would I be, who would I be, had I not had at least minimal contact with the fellow who made the first statement . . . and all the others? Like so many countless thousands, hundreds of thousands, nay, millions of people around this country and around the world, I would simply be a bump in the road, a figment of someone's imagination, a possible ache in someone's heart about a possibility that may never have happened.
"Sometimes I goes to sleep." All of this can be so mind-boggling, so intense, so elusive, so worrisome, I wonder if it's really even worth the effort of thinking about. On occasion I get a headache just thinking about thinking about it all.
And when the thought processes get too heavy, too wide, too high, or even too far out, sometimes I goes to sleep.
Kent Fletcher is a retired Navy man now living in Texas. He was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, a place of sense from whence he pulls a lot of memories and stories. He has been writing reminisces and short stories for a couple of years now, when he isn't playing/working at woodworking. You can reach Kent directly at HOTS64 E-mail.
And for another essay on friendships, read:
Old Friendships Chase the Blues Away by Beth Boswell Jacks.
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