Don Locke: Looking Through Bifocals
“…how you brush my hair as you pass my chair, little things mean a lot…”, go part of the words to an old popular love song.
Back when they fought wars on horseback, some general was supposed to have lamented: “… but for the lack of a horse shoe nail, but for the lack of a horse shoe, but for the lack of a horse, the battle was lost.” Little things.
Even something as little as a button can be VERY significant. Hold that thought.
In the one and two-room country school-days kids got out in April and started back in August---when it was hot---plenty hot. And it was always hottest about two o’clock in the afternoon, after recess. The kids were tried from ripping and playing, and the heat was very conducive to nodding off--- even though all the windows were open.
Henry Daniels Vincent (he went by H.D.) was one of the worst dozers on this particular day. H.D. was Nathan and Pearl Vincent’s next-to-the-oldest boy. There were Elzie, H.D., and Carl, and the two girls, Coleen and Gladys. Anyway, Miss Flossie Stobuck, the teacher, was having a hard time getting H.D. to wake-up, as he lay there with his head on his desk.
“Henry Daniels,” Miss Flossie said, she always called him by his full name, “What in the world is wrong with you; you’ve been sleepy-headed all day long? Why can’t you wake up?” She got on his hump pretty good.
“I didn’t get no sleep last night Miss Flossie.”
“How come?” Miss Flossie wanted to know.
“Well,” H.D. began to explain, “It’s because of that button on the back of Pap’s underwear… you know the one on that flap on his backside. Half the time he don’t have no button on there; when he does it’s never buttoned. Seems like it won’t never stay shut.
Fully exasperated by now, Miss Flossie shot back, “What in this world has the button on your dad’s … well… you know… what has that got to do with you wanting to sleep all day long?”
“Well it’s like this,” Henry Daniels began. “Long up in the night Pap thought he heard a noise out in the henhouse…sometimes varmints get in there at night. Pap sleeps in his underwear, and all he had time to do was light the lantern and get the old 12 gauge rabbit-eared shotgun down from above the mantel. He had me go with him and hold the lantern. Pap’s sort of skittish anyway, so he already had both them rabbit-ear hammers cocked back on the double-barrel.
“Rover, our dog, woke-up from underneath the back porch and followed us out to the henhouse. Rover is the nosiest old dog you ever saw, curious about everything. When we got out there and opened the door, Pap had me stand back sort of beside and behind him, while I reached around and shined the lantern in. Pap stuck the double-barrel in first and lent over, WAY OVER. ‘Bout that time Rover COLD-NOSED Pap, and we cleaned chickens the rest of the night.”