Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cousin Micky

I saw my cousin Micky today for the first time in several years. He has been through some hard times but today when I saw him he looked well. He was witness to many of the stories and things I write about on this blog and in my columns. He lived with us on and off during his childhood and has been like a brother to me.
The picture of him that stays in my mind is the picture of him when he was about eight years old. He was at the Davis Cemetery leaning against his mother's legs at the graveside of his father. It was a warm sunny day and the voice of a country preacher droned in the autumn breeze; but I don't recall a word he said. I was ten at the time. The image of Micky standing there, hurting in a way that I could not begin to understand, is etched in my brain as if it had been scraped there with a dull pen knife.
I remember the night his father died as if it were last night. It was October 19th 1961. My daddy always had to get up early to drive to work, so we all went to bed with the chickens. I was restless that night and as I tossed and turned, I could hear a hound howling in the distance and it made a slight chill ripple up my spine. Sometime in the wee hours of the night I heard a knock on the side of our house just below my bedroom window. I bolted straight up in the bed. I heard my mother call from their bedroom - "who is it?" "It's Joe Wires, Elwanda, Frank's dead."
Mr. Wires was a neighbor of Micky's family and he had walked the mile and a half to let us know about the death. Frank was barely 40 years old and died of a massive heart attack.
Seeing Micky today was a gift and it did my heart good. He looked healthy and strong. We both promised to do a better job of keeping in touch. It is my intention to keep that promise.

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