Page 20 - Alabama 811 Magazine 2020 Issue 4
P. 20

The timing couldn’t have been better. It had been a long first semester. The third grade was a lot harder than Billy Conn Stokes had told me. Now both
of my regular readers know my friend Billy Conn was one grade ahead of
me in school and he kept me informed about what I could expect the next year. Actually, he was two years older, but only one grade ahead. It seems like the first grade caught him by surprise. It occurred to me that if he didn’t start giving me better information, we’d finish the 5th grade together.
Anyway, he had told me that the third grade was a piece of cake and as it turned out, math was not going to
be my strong suit. At least it wasn’t
if reciting the times tables was an indicator of anything important.
“Yes sir,” I told Rat Gibson, my school bus driver as I got off the bus for the last time until after New Year’s. “School is out and just in the nick of time. I’m sick and tired of times tables and Miss
Nettles is sick and tired of me missing 6 times 9.” He just smiled a big old smile and said to tell my uncle and auntie he’d see them Sunday. I nodded and jumped off that prison wagon and headed across the road to freedom.
Old Skippy saw me running and jumped up and started barking to let everybody know things were about to ramp up. “School’s out, no more times tables ‘til next year!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. Auntie came to the screen door to greet me. “Are you hungry?” she asked as she hugged me close.
“Kinda am,” I said hurriedly. “Can I eat a molasses biscuit on the way to Dillard’s? He said we might could go fishing for a little bit, if he got through with the new fence he had to build.” “Alright but be back by dark and don’t make a pest of yourself.”
I grabbed the biscuit and heard the back-door slam shut as I ran across
the pasture toward Dillard’s. I stopped next to the hickory nut tree and started
licking my arm. The molasses had started running out of the biscuit and was getting all over me. I thought I’d better take a minute to eat my snack before I started wearing it. If you have never had molasses all over your play clothes, count yourself lucky. It was not just sticky, it is ssstttiiiccckkkyyy.
As I broke out in Dillard’s backyard, I saw him finishing up with the fence. “Hey,” I said with a grin, “do you think we’ll have time to go fishing for a little bit?”
“I expect so,” he said with that deep and quiet way he always had of talking. “Help me put up the tools and we’ll have some time to fish before dark,”
he said. We were soon headed to our favorite fishing hole. We were almost there when he said, “Now they might not be biting today.” “I don’t care, I
just want to fish,” I replied. To me catching fish was a plus. Fishing was the important thing.
18 • Alabama 811 2020, Issue 4

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