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Don Locke: Looking Through Bifocals

Can I tell you about Bradley? . . . Bradley Evitts. Boy, can I ever. But I want to tell you about Pauline first. Pauline Reno was one of the most beautiful women around anywhere, and kind, and sweet with it. I was just a small lad, but I could recognize a pretty woman when I saw one. On the other hand Bradley Evitts was everything Pauline wasn't. What ever Pauline saw that made her want to hitch her wagon to him is a mystery . . . a big mystery.

Bradley had a big mouth, completely devoid of teeth. He gummed big cigars and turned the air blue with vile language . . . typically of the little-man syndrome. He was small in stature but featured himself a big rooster in a small hen-house, but the opposite was true.

After courting Pauline for some time, they married. Bradley "called-on" Pauline at first in a two-wheeled horse cart. Then he graduated to a saddle horse by the name of Hoover. From Hoover he made a big jump to a maroon 1941 Fleetline Chevrolet . . . by virtue of the fact he had acquired a job at an auto dealership. The Chevy was a demonstrator.

Bradley was camping in tall cotton. About once or twice a week he would come back to New Cypress to show-off his company car, and naturally himself. When he topped Geibel Hill, he would clamp down on the horn and tear down Geibel Lane with both afterburners lit. When he got to Madisonville Road intersection in front of New Cypress Church, he would make that Fleetline do its bag of tricks: lay-over in a steep bank, all but swap ends---throwing gravel almost to the front door of the church. Then he would tear up the road toward his mother's house in a cloud of gravel dust.

People like Bradley either had too much attention or not enough. He had had too much. The only boy, his sister and mother fawned-over him. This made him loud and obnoxious. He bragged about "cutting telephone poles off even with the ground with an automobile," and how fast his old racer would run. He had a home-made racer he raced at a local track . . . roll-bar and all . . . which got used a lot according to Bradley.

The Bradley-Pauline mix seemed awfully improbable. Who knows why beautiful, sweet, intelligent girls "drive their ducks to a poor pond" as my mother Gladys said many times. I know men don't look at other men the way women do. But maybe Pauline saw "something" in Bradley . . . I hope he was able to get him some teeth after his success in the car business.

God loved him . . . but He could do that.

Some of the people who camped along old trails that wind back into my past . . . One way or another they are a part of who I am, I guess.

Kindest regards . . .

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