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Thread: Tocky's Tales

  1. #176
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Netherlands
    Great story and beautiful pics, Dia!

    Being half of a mixed-race couple now since a few weeks I wonder if we'll ever encounter the kind of racism you describe, like if we'll ever get racist comments when we we're walking hand-in-hand down the street or in the city center. Hasn't happened so far but I suppose it could happen. I haven't worried about it so far and I don't plan on worrying about it in the future. Of course if push comes to shove I'm prepared to defend and protect my girlfriend.

  2. #177
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dia View Post
    I'm still concerned with the racism that's running amok in our country and that my granddaughter, her now-fiancee and their beyond-precious little man have to endure that outright racism on occasion, but thankfully, so far it's just been a few nasty glares in their direction or a quickly-spoken snarky remark, both of which can be ignored. I absolutely HATE it that my sweet granddaughter and her partner have to be on the defensive too often when they go out together and though both hide it well, I know it's there. I just wish I could re-make this world into a better place for them and my great-grandson.
    I don't think it's as dire as you fear. I've worried too that it's making a comeback but I think it's mostly the assholes are more vocal and, as you said, that makes them more visible and now you know who they are. Most families have at least extended family of color now. Heck, check my pics from last weekend on FB. The Tocky family got some soul. What's funniest to me is that it's usually the most racist member who now has a grandchild of color and has to change their tune. In fifty years we will be so mixed the racist crap will be gone. Of course then everyone will hate blondes so you are still screwed. Nah kidding. You will be dead. Me too.

    You have an absolutely lovely family and I'll kick anyone in the nuts who says different. Those eyes and that smile of your grandson tell me that boy needs to be thrown in the air and spun in circles and taken fishing and to the zoo and to a carnival. Thanks for sharing your story. You are a peach.

  3. #178
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    What is your earliest memory? Think back. Got it? Nope. That ain't it. We remember a lot farther back than we think we do. I was in an antique store as I'm want to waste a weekend doing and saw an old push walker/stroller thing made of sharpened steel and splintery wood as we used to do it and it sparked a memory. It was a different color but it was the same as the one I recall. I was at my grandmothers between the smokehouse and her back porch minding my own business putting things in my mouth to see how they tasted when I was put into this medieval device by my oldest sister. I have claustrophobia. I cannot stand to be confined. Of course I didn't know the word for it then. Or many words at all. I understood she was doing it for my good and knew they were talking about me but as soon as their attention was diverted I crawled out again and was captured. This time she spun the wooden multicolored balls above the tray and that was kind of cool. I spun them myself. I distinctly recall doing so. The claustrophobia was too strong. I had to escape again. I did it till she gave up.

    But here is the thing, I couldn't walk. I walked for the first time before my first birthday. I recall that too. The stretched tan vinyl of the couch was so high and I had to land on my feet holding on before I could toddle on. They discovered I could do it later on and thought I just up and started but I recall the first time and nobody was around. This was before that even. Children remember. Everything shapes them. It does from the start. Never ignore your kids. They are smart little bastards. When I had kids at home I didn't care about anything else in the world. You try to build a sort of cocoon around your family and try to keep the bad out. You can't of course. While Elliott was showing me how to sear steaks Rick brought my daughter up the drive. She had been standing in the road. Jesus Christ. You fail. You are a horrible father. It happens that quick. I just hope she remembers the time I saved her from drowning over that incident. But then, she was a teen at that time so of course she would recall that.

    But kids remember, don't think just because they are little they don't. And they learn about society from those memories. I like to say I picked cotton. It makes me sound like I slaved in the fields and knew what my forefathers went through. Hardly. I was four. I rode to the field on a cotton sack and rode back pulled by my dad after he was bone tired the same way. We were doing it just to help a neighbor anyway. If it rains on it then you get a poorer grade of cotton so everybody pitches in before it does, even a kid who can only pick a half row to the adults three rows. Still better than Sally Field and Danny Glover in Places in the Heart. They couldn't pick cotton for shit. It's like this bird pecking motion and done damned quick. And Vivian Leigh? Bitch would have starved to death. Save Tara my ass.

    Anyway, you fill these long cotton sacks that drag the ground and take them to a flat bed trailer where a scale is used to tally the weight. Nothing modern looking, more like a long J where you hang the bag on one end and weights on the other. At the end of the day you are given your total and paid. The white folks helping just took the man at his word about the adding up but not the black folks. They knew better, had a better feel for it, what with doing it more often or maybe being less trusting and with good reason. The weight wasn't right. There was a lot of arguing back and forth. Brummett, who owned the field, was telling the black folks they were wrong and making it a racial thing. The black folks were having none of it and saying it was a fairness thing. They were aware they were outnumbered but were trying to stand firm and it wasn't easy for them. A lot of the whites were taking Mr. Brummett's side.

    That's when my dad and Mr. Hall stepped up on the trailer. Well now, it's an easy thing to just reweigh the stuff (though most had been unsacked by that time and wasn't possible to redo), how about you let me and Joe here do it and be done with any argument? Well, he didn't like that idea. They were just being niggers and wanting something for nothing and blah blah on and on but as he talked it became clear to me he was hiding something. He was getting antsy. Mr. White stepped up then and grabbed the weights and my dad and Joe the bag and hung it and what do you know? He was cheating them. Well there must be some mistake, why those weights must be off, he would never on purpose cheat anyone. Uh huh. Let's just reweigh them all then to make sure. He had been cheating everyone, black and white, and that shut up the ones on his side because he was cheating them too. It took a long while to re-tally everyone's total and folks were tired and mad. Brummet was sheepish now and when it came time to pay did it quick and without argument.

    I rode home on the empty cotton sack. Dad complained a bit that I was getting too heavy and I knew how tired he must be. Soul tired too. But dad, it's fun. "Yeah, I reckon you ain't too heavy yet", he said. I wonder if he knew I would remember that day.

    When I was in my thirties I was riding my Harley to Oxford to return some movies I had rented. I took the old way. Mr. White had a store at a bend in the road we called Dogtown. I just pulled up and filled my tank and went in to pay. There was a row of chairs by the motor oil with about six old men in them. All of them were sound asleep and my dad and Joe among them. Funny as it was that these old fellows would fall asleep that way talking over the days news and yesterdays memories it touched me. I debated waking Mr. White but in the end figured it wasn't worth it for a few dollars change. I just slipped a twenty into his shirt pocket and eased on out trying not to let the screen door slap. Those men may not always trust their fellow man, I'm sure they had seen a lot, but they had easy consciences enough to just drift off in each others company and nobody minding the store.
    Last edited by Tocky; 23rd Mar 2019 at 13:17.

  4. #179
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Dad was more right on more things than I ever gave him credit for. I know I gave him hell being so wild so there was a lot to teach. All I saw was the excitement of situations. He might gripe about things that didn't make a damn but when it got serious he was calm and protective. How the hell do you do that? I can't even fathom it. I remember once when he had taken the whole family to Kiamie's for a burger. It was the only bowling alley in Oxford back then, it had a side room for pool and just outside the door a liquor store. Everything a growing boy needs. It was spacious. They don't waste that much space anymore. Anyway, it also had a cafe and Rosie made the best burger plate in town and we were eating when a fight broke out. It wasn't one of those shouting a lot of words fights. It was a throw down bloody nose meat smacking punches table turning over serious as shit fight. Dad got up and stood between our table and the fight and at one point caught one of the boys going down and asked him wasn't he ready to call it quits. He told them both there are families here and they didn't need to see this. He managed to shame them. I wish I could recall his exact words. Whatever it was it made them quit.

    Yeah. That ain't me. I admire that kind of thing. I like to think I would do that but I sincerely doubt it. I would have been one of those boys. I know because years later I was. I was on my way back from Oxford one day in my mid teens and stopped when I saw Aubrey and Lee mowing the church graveyard. It was split by the S curve of the roadway and half had already been mowed. Aubrey had had it with mowing. He said he was there before Lee and Lee owed him just to let him leave and him finish the rest. Well Lee wanted me to help him finish for half of the pay he was going to get. I had only stopped to talk to my buddy Aubrey but sure, I'm no stranger to hard work. No skin off my back. I went home and got my mower and dad asked me was I sure he would pay. The man just knew things. I said yeah, why wouldn't he? Yeah. I went back and mowed till we were done.

    He was going to get the money later that week but he never paid me. He avoided me. It wasn't the money really. It was the principle. He promised he would pay me. I told him he would or I would take it out of his hide. You say a lot of shit not really meaning it. It did piss me off but I could have gotten over it. Then I saw him at Kiamie's one night out in the parking lot. Words flew. He was with his buddy Cal and I was on my lonesome. I was tired of his shit though. I was just going to kick his ass. I was tired of empty words. He was a fuck. I was smoking a cigarette and thumped it at him. It hit him right in his white T shirt center chest. Ah it was perfect. Beautiful. Sparks flew when it hit. He batted at the coal like a maniac. It was funny as hell and I knew right then I would remember that moment forever.

    We went at each other then. He couldn't fight worth a damn. In spite of the fact he out weighed me by a hundred pounds he was slow and I was quick. He did not use his bulk to try to wrestle me but chose to duke it out which was a mistake on his part. I never caught a blow and delivered a dozen or more. But the thing is he had this layer of fat on him. Body blows were like punching a wet pillow. There was no telling how much good I was doing. I could never quite get a solid blow on his face because his arms were so thick and that was the one place he protected. Finally I found a way around his defense and landed a good one on his jaw. It knocked him back and he had surprise and fear on his face. That was what I wanted to see. By not paying me he was saying he didn't fear me. I was smaller. He could overlook me. He had just discovered he couldn't.

    At this point his buddy Cal stepped in and separated us. I didn't want to quit. I wanted to cement that look. I wanted him to know he couldn't do that shit to me and get a pass. I wanted him to remember that. But here was this new problem. Cal figured his buddy was losing and didn't want him to royally get his ass beat. Least that's what I figure. But to quit now was saying he was safe as long as Cal was with him. I didn't want that either. Cal was saying I had done enough and to let it go. I was saying hell no. I hadn't gotten my moneys worth yet. I have to give Cal credit. He stood his ground. Maybe he had been excited by the fight and wanted some but he had no justification yet to just jump in swinging. I don't know. He had me wary though. I looked over his shoulder at Lee and he was gaining some courage back from it but not enough to open his mouth yet.

    I wasn't sure I could take them both though and I didn't want to lose the standing I had just gained. I told Cal I would take him on then but JUST him. No two on one shit. Cal seemed amenable to that idea. He was too amenable and that gave me some pause. Maybe he was good. He looked mean enough. I wouldn't find out though because just then some girl came out of Kiamie's saying the cops had been called and we better leave. Nobody wanted to get arrested so we left and it wound up like most of my fights, just a vague feeling of dissatisfaction, like I got a whiff of a steak and they took it away. On the other hand maybe I would have gotten my ass beat. As it was I had the memory of that cigarette hitting Lee in his white T and him frantically beating it out. That was gold.

    Lee died about fifteen years ago and the first thing out of my mouth was "I'll never get that money now" which was ignoble of me even as a joke.

    I have a lot of good memories of Kiamie's. Tammy took her shirt off for me while we waited in the back seat on Aubrey and his girl to get back with some booze. That was as magical as it was unexpected. Many weekends we bowled or played pool but mostly it was foosball. I was a hell of a goalie. I had that quick wrist twist that burned the ball all the way to back of the other goal. That metal slapping sound and Elton John singing Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting on the juke and all of us cutting each other with whatever burn hadn't gone around too much yet. And now it's gone. Torn down. All of us obsolete and not just us but our way of life.

    A couple of years after dad had died I met a fellow at the local store who recognized me as his son. He had known dad as a young man and I drew as much out of him as I could think to about those days. At one point he mentioned fighting a forest fire with him. I hadn't known then he had even worked for the forestry service but found out it had been with the CCC. He grinned as he recounted a big fellow who had tried to push dad around and dad telling him he would just have to bring him down to his level. So what happened? This fellow was just going to leave it at that? He acted like he was. What happened? He knocked him out with one punch. Well there was one more thing the man had bested me at. I've never knocked anyone out.

    Not really a moral in this one is there? Here is a pic of Kev, my boney ass, and Aubrey back then. Wish it was in better shape. We never thought to take many pics in those days.
    Last edited by Tocky; 22nd Apr 2019 at 19:12. Reason: I got my reasons

  5. #180
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    When we were kids my cousins and I would meet at my grandmothers house and depart on various adventures. Landy and Harvey were maybe eight years older than me so they didn't want me tagging along but I thought they were cool so I tried. Sometimes I was locked in a room until they could escape somewhere but sometimes not. They talked of movies I couldn't see yet like "Last House on the Left" and "Easy Rider", all the cool stuff. They had real rifles they squirrel hunted with, sometimes in the neighbors yard where they got in trouble. One thing we all had were sling shots. Landy had one of those wrist rockets back when they first came out. When we learned old man Herron had tried to molest my sister we vowed revenge. Dad would have killed him so he was never told.

    We gathered shirt pockets of rocks and waited for him to use his outhouse. He usually did right after dinner. His outhouse hung over a gully out back of his house and in the back of it was a cut out where his balls hung. Huge gouty bulls balls they were, like two hand grenades in a pale stocking. Ripe and ready for our rocks. Not a one of us missed the first round. There may have been a few misses when he was standing up cussing us but we had done damage by then. We ran shouting things back. A last "leave my sister alone you old pervert" and we were around the bend of the road. They were pretty cool cousins to have... mostly.

    Landy was always a little off somehow though. He was always breaking my toys but in interesting ways and for interesting reasons like the time he used my Western Auto big rig trailer to bake bricks in because he had heard that's how it was done with red clay. Never quite got the fire hot enough in that makeshift oven to match a kiln but it was an interesting effort. He didn't give a shit about your stuff though. He didn't care much for anything except finding some interest in something and everything or everyone else be damned.

    I was a more sensitive kid. I liked excitement and learning things and adventures and stuff but I had a soft side. I raised a frog from a tadpole and set it loose in a pond near my house. I also raised a robin. It had fallen from it's nest and was just a fuzzy little thing nowhere near ready to fly. Everybody said it would die but I dug worms and picked them from tomato plants and fed him every day after school cramming it down his open beak. I gave him water from a dropper and he grew and thrived. He got big enough to fly and I was going to teach him. I knew it was past time but I had a boy scout camp jamboree thing for a week at camp Yocona. I promised myself I would after that. Meanwhile my parents promised to feed him. He was a greedy little thing bordering on chubby at that point and I had dug a weeks worth of worms in a coffee can for him.

    When I got back with my wicker basket and new merit badges and memories of new friends and the things we had done my mom gave me the bad news. He was dead. What? He was perfectly healthy when I had left. Landy had come down and somehow killed it. What? Then I recalled how he had put a toad in a can and anesthetized it using hair spray then cut it open to watch it's heart beat. There was something missing in Landy. I never forgave him for my robin. I looked at that stiff hairspray covered body in the bottom of the cage and ached that I had held onto it too long. A predator had come into my home and gotten it. Had Landy turned out to be a serial killer I would not have been the least surprised.

    He didn't so far as I know. His dad left him a few hundred thousand in cash and property but he blew it in a couple of years. He raised a daughter and son on his own after his wife died of cancer. He was always moving somewhere to the next big thing to strike it rich, never satisfied with anywhere or anyone. He married again and was offered a good management job in his wife's fathers company but turned it down and then lost his new family somewhere down the line. He was always a huckster and seemed on something to make him hyper. He was a salesman at several points but never made anything last. Harvey tried to stay his friend but when he went to visit in Iowa Landy would hardly speak to him and left the entertaining to his wife while he drank alone in his garage. He was strange. No accounting for some of his behavior. I pretty much wrote him off and had a family of my own to raise anyway. We lost touch. We aged.

    Then one day recently I was looking to see if the town of Mount Airy was worth a stop the next time we went to the Smokies and stumbled on something called- LandumC goes there- on Youtube. Yeah, it was him. He had a lot of his travels on there with little lectures on what happened here or there. One had well over a million views. Some had as little as six hundred. Most of them were of crime scenes and murder sites but I think he finally found most folks liked the Andy Griffith stuff. Even after discovering the money was mostly in the advertising on the Griffith stuff he still was going all over to do the ax murders and robberies and death stuff. I guess he finally found his niche.

    Here is one of his episodes-

    I guess this has been a weird sort of story on it's own. Is anyone still reading these things?
    Last edited by Tocky; 28th Apr 2019 at 02:50. Reason: spellzing

  6. #181
    Registered: Aug 2004
    I read that. I shudder to think what I might've done to someone who killed an animal I was caring for.

  7. #182
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I was ten and he eighteen. He had gone back to Memphis and I wouldn't see him till his mom's funeral when I was in my late teens. I let it go. I couldn't quite forgive him but I tried to be adult about things. People change sometimes and I hoped he had. I'm not sure that we should but we tend to give a greater leeway to family. I took it hard that day. I might have tried to beat him if he were around then. As it was I had to let it go. But you don't really do you? Some resentment lingers. Some watchfulness over a callous disregard for life as well. It was a damned strange thing to do.

  8. #183
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    "left the entertaining to his wife while he drank alone in his garage"
    for some reason I found this quite profound and I'm not sure why.

  9. #184
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    It's like he was bi polar and at a certain point tried to erase himself. I forgive him. I know it doesn't sound like it but what else can I do? But you think about what they did and how it made you who you are. For instance I've always been ashamed I flunked algebra in college. But the thing is I went wonky on math early on. I was good at it at first. I wasn't the best but I was up there. Then came sixth grade. It's the grade I made the core of my lifelong friends in. It's also the one where I developed my math hiccup. I look at a problem and panic. Even simple ones. It doesn't matter that I really know the theorem or rule, I still can't see it until I can calm myself. The only thing I can liken it to is my claustrophobia. I know the roof of a cave won't fall in but I can't tell my brain that. I don't know where my claustrophobia came from, childbirth I suppose, but I know where my math hiccup came from. Ms Reid.

    She was a natural born mean person. Loved to inflict pain. And she was good at it. Best I've ever seen. I've had my share of paddlings, sort of a connoisseur, and I know. Never one to exactly follow the rules, I've had belt lashings, paddlings with those hole filled ones, and peach tree limbs. Nobody could hold a candle to Ms Reid. Nobody.

    I had been lucky until that morning I was the only one to get a problem right. I kept my head down, never volunteer, never raise a hand, but your turn comes. Oh I had seen her find some excuse to beat kids and figured I knew how to avoid it by being meek. It's the tall grass that gets mowed. You couldn't make yourself small enough for her though. I slipped up without even knowing I had. I had such a fear of public speaking. We were sent three at a time to write our homework problems on the board and wouldn't you know I got the hard one. I had done it and correctly and faithfully chalked my numbers on the board. I was the only one who had gotten it. I sat back down and heaved a sigh. It was done and I made it. But no. She called on me, just me, to go to the board and explain to the rest of the class my reasoning. Oh god. Just me before the class. I sat and explained it from my seat. Not good enough. Somehow I stood and walked to the board and explained in detail every step. I made it. I overcame my fear and spoke by just concentrating on each step. I went and sat back down after she had said I could. Thank god that was over. I was even proud of myself for a fleeting moment.

    Go wait in the hall. Huh? Was she talking to me? Go wait in the hall. Why? What did I do? You know. No I don't. What did I do? You rolled your eyes when you got up to speak to the class. Oh Jesus. She was right. I had. Like a horse upon glimpsing a snake, I had rolled my eyes in fear. She thought it was in some defiance. But I didn't mean to. You did. Go wait in the hall. There was only one thing that meant. There was only one thing to do. Go wait in the hall. My turn. She never accepted explanations no matter how valid. I could only hope it wouldn't be bad. I had seen the tears in the eyes of those who had come back after those loud licks. I was tough. Tougher than the others. She wouldn't get that out of me. I would show her. I had done good. I had no reason for punishment and I would be damned if there would be tears in my eyes when I came back in class. I went to wait in the hall.

    I was a determined little bastard. I knew there was nothing for this but to live through it. I was not going to cry out as I had heard others do. No matter how bad I would stay silent. That would be my way of defeating her. I would come back into class dry eyed never having made a sound. All the others had come back with wet cheeks but not me. She took forever to come into the hall.

    There was no point trying to explain to her. I knew that. It wasn't explanation she wanted. The only words she said were bend over and grab your ankles. She drew out that first lick. She knew all the tricks, both psychological and physical. She was practiced and in retrospect I can admire the expertise of it. The first lick had to be a surprise both in timing and in shocking violence. Your mind is still looking for an out and hoping it won't be as bad as you imagine. Just when I was thinking she must be occupied in something else the lick landed. Like a musical note that had waited a beat and a half too long it was unexpected. It knocked me forward so quickly and with such force I had to catch myself to keep from landing on my face. I was in push up position. To add insult to injury she said "oh come on, I didn't hit you that hard". She had. I had never felt anything so painful in my life. Every nerve in my ass was on fire. I've never felt anything as painful since either.

    Ah but she had a new trick I had not heard her do before. She would tap me five or six times between each hard lick to keep my nerve endings burning just on the edge of unbearable before each hard lick that made me stumble. Each lick I thought could not be worse and yet it was. There really isn't any point in describing it. Nothing would come close. Maybe I should have cried out. Maybe if she thought she had broken me the following licks wouldn't have been so hard. She went the full five and gave me a surprise sixth. I survived.

    She told me to take a moment to get my self together and then come back and take my seat. That felt like an insult too. It's true I had to tuck my shirt back into my pants and fight the pain down but it was a humiliation too. I was going to be tough. I didn't know. I hadn't made a sound, true enough, but my eyes were welling with tears and there was nothing I could do about it. I tried as hard as I could. I hated her for that most of all. They would see my eyes wet and red. They would see the pain and humiliation in them. They would know she had bested me. Even Karen who had a crush on me. I sat right behind her. Those eyes full of pity and me unable to even fake a decent smile. Even the sitting was a thousand bees stinging me.

    When I saw blood on my underwear I checked myself in the mirror the next day and discovered I had blood blisters and bruises on a wide swath of my ass. I knew that wasn't normal but I kept quiet about it. I threw those underwear away. It was over. I even forgot about it so much later that month that my mom caught sight of them when I was changing one morning. They had long since scabbed over and were healing but I suppose they looked pretty bad still. I tried to get them to just let it go. I had. I thought. But no, they had to go to the school and raise a fuss. Nobody else had made a fuss. One thing a kid doesn't want is to be singled out. I found out years later that dad had even called her a drunk. Apparently he knew some dirt on her. I was so afraid others would think I had told. I needn't have worried. She was as worried as me that others would find out.

    She treated me with a snide contempt the rest of the year as if I were some sort of weakling. She said things like "take your time" and "we wouldn't want you upset" and even made a show of paying students to give them a lick with her paddle as if she hit them as hard as she did me. She didn't but she was sick enough to hit them hard- normal hard- and nobody took her up on a second lick. I didn't take her up on those licks. I didn't trust her. Just the thought of her made me sick to my stomach. She ruined math for me. My grades suffered. They picked up the next year but I don't think I ever averaged more than a B again. It took me twice as long to take tests after that. I would get this awful trepidation.

    I might have squeaked by with a passing grade in Algebra 101 if I had made that last test. If I had gotten a seat near the front so I could hear half the things said that would have been good too. It's true I was still heart sick over Laurie. It's true I had a first time student teacher. It's true I partied too much and didn't give it my all because I knew I could cram and make A's and B's like I had in high school. But you can't skate math. Those page long problems don't solve themselves. Nothing rote about it. Aside from theorems there is nothing to memorize. But I blame Reid too. Maybe I wouldn't have panicked and blew off that last test and lost my scholarship otherwise. I knew it was a third of my grade and couldn't bring myself to go to class that morning. But I wouldn't have met my wife and had the family I do either. I wouldn't change that for any grade.

    I failed though. I let her defeat me. I let math defeat me. I thought for a time I would pick up a book and learn it all backwards and forwards just for myself but I must have been well and truly whipped. I never have.

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