A Tale of OutPost Texas by beachanny
I been thinkin' lately 'bout this l'il town I used to go to, right there on the edge of the Panhandle, jus' a l'il ol piss ant size town but they had some characters there, I'm tellin' you, that even bigger Texas towns couldn't match.
First, this was where my mama's great aunt Eva (her name was Eva but fer some reason they called her Evvy and I was told to call her Aunt Evvy) lived. When I first remember her, she had a husband..a long, tall drink of water he was, and his name was Taylor Attaway. We was told to call him Uncle Tate. My mama had whispered to me in the backseat of my grandparents' car on the way there, that Aunt Evvy wasn't my Aunt at all, but my grandmother's cousin who'd been raised with her and when she's only sixteen she'd run off with this gambler (that'd be my Uncle Tate). Aunt Evvy was the daughter of a circuit rider who was always referred to as Uncle George.
Now Uncle George was big as all hell and half of Texas and was bound to carry the WORD 'round the state at revivals, cometomeetin camps, which gave the little towns an excuse to leave the barrooms, the fields, and cotton gins and come out to hear some real barrel thumpin'. Now what sent Uncle George to the worm farm, I ain't real sure, but he died for sure before his time.
I was real fascinated with Uncle Tate but not much with Aunt Evvy. He played card tricks with me sittin' on his bony knee. The first thing he liked to show everybody was that he could cross his legs and both feet would sit flat on the floor. He would pull nickels out of our ears (that was when the cousins came too) and he'd tell stories about the cowboys he gambled with when he hired out as an extra hand and drove cattle up to Kansas. I knew about Kansas on account of I had been borned in Kansas City and I knew it was a class town.
Later my grandfather said Uncle Tate had been a real hellraiser. He'd go out on gamblin' streaks and win a huge chunk of dough and then he'd buy Aunt Evvy big presents and fancy jewelry; but then he'd hock it (you know, at a pawn shop) and then she'd go lookin for somethin' and it'd be gone and also he would drink back then (I'm guessin a lot) so's anyway sometime before I was born probly and long before Billy Joe got sent to jail for somethin they never told me about, Aunt Evvy put down her tiny foot and said she'd be leavin' if he didn't give up the drink. He never totally gave up the gamblin' though and I reckon' that was right 'cause later she mooned around and talked about him like he was a hero.
I don't remember when poor ole' Uncle Tate died but I know I didn't go to the funeral, I'd 'a remembered that, but die he did, and she took to her bed. I didn't know why and thinkin' back on it now I can't see why she did. She bought herself a load of bed jackets. I cain't even remember havin' seen them in stores but they's frilly little things with ruffles and bows and stuff and she wore one over a gown or robe or something.
Someone had moved her bed to the dining room of her tiny ol' house and there she sat in her bed jacket with the covers pulled up to her waist,and proceeded to entertain guests. I can't even remember eatin' there. I think for dinner we had to go down to the town cafe. I'll tell y'all 'bout that place later. I had occasion to go there a few times by myself.
It was pretty borin' going to see her in later years so I sneaked out her house to see what little town life was like. The lady next door was always tendin' flowers in her yard. She was large and when she bent over her butt looked like two hams in a tow sack. Swear to God, her name was Fanny Pillow. All y'all will think I'm stretchin' the truth, but I ain't, still she was nice, bless her peapickin' heart. Lord, that woman could bake. She brought out cookies and cake and a pitcher of iced sweet tea and we had us a tea party right there in front of God and everybody on her front porch.
'Course it was always hotter 'n hades everytime we's there, seems like and often some Panhandle rain (that's a dust storm for y'all who don't know) blowin' napkins and such around but I had a high old time over at Fanny Pillows. Wasn't long, though, before I went meandering down the street. I mean this town weren't even as big as my portion of paradise in Amarillo so you could see the whole thing in 'bout half an hour. So next...
This here is only the first installment of this story...there's more characters to meet. Stay tuned for LillyLu, she was loose as ashes and as they said 'round there, yea, she was just natcherly horizontal.
Billy Wills, the pool hall shark, he was so lucky that he was ridin' a gravy train with biscuit wheels.
Big Al, the banker, who was all spread out like a cold supper and as full of wind as a corn-eating horse.
Dan Devonish - he was the mayor and also meaner than a skilletful of rattlesnakes but he was oilier than the oil from 'em too.
And other colorful folks in upcoming episodes.
Thanks y'all for stoppin' by the porch today; now go have yerself a heap of fun!
Posted for Poetics at dVersePoets today to illustrate idiom. Well this here's my idiom! And to hear me read it
in my very own voice, click on the player at the top.
oh wow gay...love, love, love this.... and what a treat that you even read it to us...AWESOME!!!! looking forward to see how this story develops and to meet the other characters...ReplyDelete
smiles...ha...even without listening i could hear your voice int he written word...uncle tate sounds like quite a hoot gay...i'd not mind a bit to sit on tha porch witcha a throw back some lemonade just to cut the dust...heheReplyDelete
This is a riot-- natcherly horizontal, worm farm, butt two hams in a tow sack! You're onto something here-- btw have you read Mary Karr's stuff?ReplyDelete
I wanted to tell you how much your comments on my poems have meant to me-- very heartening and encouraging... xxxj
this is great entertainment, Gay. That Uncle Tate, a tall glass a water and hellraiser - sounds like one of my uncles :) Your characters are so dynamic and interesting.ReplyDelete
@ Claudia - it's the "old" me - I channeled back to my original TX accent here. It's pretty much a shaggy dog story, the kind I grew up hearing on porches all my life.ReplyDelete
@ Brian - yep, it's just me!
@ Jenne. I haven't read Mary Karr. Maybe I should, but I cut my teeth on Mc Murtry. We're only one degree removed by so many people but every time I had a chance to meet him something twisted one of us away. Not our fate to meet, I fear.
Re: my comments, all very well deserved. Your work is always worthy and of the highest caliber.
@ Sheila. Thank you. It's funny I haven't thought of him in years. I tried to remember the smallest town in TX I remember and that town came to mind. PS It's not called OutPost and PPS it's not a reference to Post TX either as the only time I've spent there was at a high school basketball game. Nope but it's close to Lubbock and not far from Hale Center, Abernathy, and Littlefield--but they're MUCH bigger towns like Muleshoe.
Absolute delight, Gay! Your reading of it is marvelous. . . the details, inflection, tone of voice... splendid storytelling. Like listening to radio before there was television! Looking forward to the next installment.ReplyDelete
Wow, what a treat! I believe every word--I know there are many colorful characters like these in a lot of families. Hope I can catch your upcoming episodes.ReplyDelete
Gay, this is remarkable. I didn't listen to you read it; but I could 'hear' the Texas accent in the words anyway. Looking forward to seeing the story unfold.ReplyDelete
I just LOVE how you read it. I can't begin to say how much character you gave this.ReplyDelete
This is a real treat! Loved your story and voice. Reminded me of the movie To Kill a Mockingbird. How she would narrate throughout the story. Charming!ReplyDelete
'natcherly horizontal' Oh my heavens Gay, too funny and all y'all is one of my favorite sayings. My grandparents grew up in the panhandle of Texas so thank you for the trip down memory lane. I love your channeled accent.ReplyDelete
Oh, I love this! How could I not? These are my people you're writing (brilliantly) about!ReplyDelete
Aw, now I feel homesick. Lovely hearing you read such a rich story.ReplyDelete
I haven't been read a bedtime story in a long time... this was truly delightful. Can't wait to hear more! Thanks Gay you had me smiling the whole way. =)ReplyDelete
This is wonderful and can't wait to hear/read more of these colorful people.. they remind me of my Alabama people.. In reading the others comments you have a hit here.. Perhaps a novella is in the works> If not, should be..ReplyDelete
Gay,this is really sumthin'. Ain't seen this hilly billy thing here in d'Verse before. It's mesmerizing! Looking forward to hearing more. Such characters, Horizontal Lilly Lu, Billy, Big Al and Dan as slippery as an eel. Hand them to us! Great take!ReplyDelete
Loved the reading! The style was so authentic. Like Calif. Ink in Motion, I thought about "To Kill a Mockingbird" -- your narration was so great! Also I thought a bit of listening to the stories my great grandfather used to tell.ReplyDelete
I really enjoyed this -- just so real for me. Thanks so much for recording reading -- it was just wonderful!
By the way, great Wallace Stevens quote!ReplyDelete
Love this, Gay! This is a fun read...course, I'm from New Mexico and can relate. Look's like a good story in the making, coming.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad i stopped by the porch today for I had some pretty good laugh out loud moments..."natcherly horizontal" bout made me fall on the floor! I love that you read it to us too :) Can't wait for the next installment!ReplyDelete
...I wanted to read more :)ReplyDelete
This was just simply wonderful. What incredibly colourful characters you bring to life here!
Ohh this was so wonderful and in your voice too Gay, this was all so colourful 'Uncle George was big as all hell and half of Texas'~ so richly vibrant and alive ~ I LOVED THIS can't wait for future episodes ~ :)) boy am I glad I stopped by and had me a 'l'll old read' and a wonderful listen x x x hugs LibReplyDelete
This is so wonderful and I can't wait to come back and listen to you read it and see more installments. I lived in San Antonio for three years and Texas never leaves a soul. Truly, TX is a different world.ReplyDelete
Fanny Pillow. LOL
I also wondered.. Is that the real house? Adore the porch.ReplyDelete
This is a house I fancy. It's in La Grange. I "aged" the photo. The actual house had a porch but was smaller and less Victorian.ReplyDelete