The Poisonous Clique Strikes Again! : That'll Teach You.
One More Time.
I feel it is my duty to once again provide a place where friends can meet and chew the fat. This hub will endeavor to please the Hub Gods--such as they are--by cloaking this article under the facade of creative writing. Actually this fools no one, but it pleases me to feel a bit sneaky at times.
At any rate here it is, and please do take into consideration I'm sorta doing this under a type of duress, as inspiration is not always easy to come by. Whatever, I hope you enjoy having a place to talk trash if you feel the need. I know I will.
Home From The War.
The closest thing Clear Springs, Georgia had to a town drunk was Virgil Taylor. He didn’t stay pickled all of the time, but on the weekends he made up for the other 5 days. Virgil was never a mean drunk, never got arrested for destruction of property or fighting with anybody, though he did have some rather strange behavior when he was in his cups.
A rather short man he was, his hair and eyes seemed to be the same shade of brown, an unassuming color which seemed to suit his life in general. His clothes were much the same. Nothing flashy or colorful, mostly shades of brown and gray. Even though he smiled a lot and helped everyone he could, his eyes had a look of seeing things just over the horizon, things so forlorn, so sad, he just couldn’t let himself fully relax.
According to my dad --he being Dave Tyson and I’m Doug--Virgil showed up in Clear Springs shortly after WWII ended. There were lots of boys home from the war and the competition for jobs was tough in most places, so apparently Virgil liked this small town just fine. I always wondered why he chose Clear Springs though, it being in a dry county and all, but I suppose he knew what he wanted better than I did. Yes, I thought about such things, considered them often at my then present age of 13 years.
Virgil's Final Binge
My dad always referred to me as a kearce young ‘un. I never got up the nerve to ask him what “kearce” meant, nor did I correct his pronunciation of the word “curious,” if that was indeed the word he was striving for. No, things were not done in such a manner in those days as a certain respect was called for when dealing with one’s elders in the 1950’s south. Besides, he was correct in that I was curious about everything. If the truth be told, I do believe he was sort of proud of my curiosity, especially later on in my life.
Naturally I was curious about Virgil, was keenly interested as to why he would work hard all week and then simply pass the weekend in an alcoholic stupor. He had a wife and daughter who lived with him in a small rental house a short ways out in the country. Virgil’s wife, Elise, could not speak English very well, but was a friendly woman everyone seemed to like. His daughter, Ruth, had her mother’s blond hair and blue eyes, something I had noticed early on since she was my own age.
They found Virgil dead one morning down next to the stockyards, lying almost beneath an old cattle car. This wasn’t totally unexpected as he tended to end up there when he was particularly drunk. It was well known that Virgil talked to himself and to other people only he could see when soused. He would bang on the side of the old cattle cars and yell, “Come on out now, no use waitin’ any longer, don’t make ’em mad!”
Acts Of Respect.
Sometimes he ended up crying, as many drunks are wont to do, especially near the end of a binge. No one bothered him though, they simply let ole Virgil alone with his visions. He always went home to his wife and daughter anyway. Except for the morning they found his body, that is. “His heart must of give out finally,” old Doc Haynes said .”It’s no wonder though, ole Virgil was under a lot of strain. I don’t know what kinda demons he was to tryin’ tuh drown with all that whiskey, but he finally got it over an’ done with.”
The Taylor’s were not known for being very religious, or at least they didn’t attend any of Clear Springs’ three churches, and besides, Virgil was usually still upending a bottle during the time morning worship services were being held. There was to be no funeral for Virgil, simply a small memorial service to be held at the Clear Springs Funeral Home chapel.
I was surprised and pleased at the number of folks who showed up to pay their last respects to the town drunk. No surprise I suppose. Virgil was a handyman who had performed some small chore for nearly everyone in town at some time or another. He fixed bikes for the boys and baby carriages for the girls for no charge other than a smile and a thank you. Everyone loved Virgil.
The Requisite Poll
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Death As A Commonplace Thing
There were no preachers on the raised dais in the crowded chapel, only Elise and Ruth were seated there, and only Ruth would speak. While her mother was dressed in black widow’s weeds, Ruth was wearing a dress the color of her wonderful blue eyes, her curly blond hair framing her beautiful face. When everyone was seated Ruth approached the podium, opened a folded paper, and began reading.
“I want to thank everyone for honoring my father with their attendance at his last meeting on this earth.” she said. “My mother, as you all know, cannot speak English very well, so she asked me to read her words for her. She wishes you all to know that Virgil Taylor wasn’t always a man quick to drink, was once a calm and wonderful person before the war. He was a hero to many people, and still is to those whose lives he saved not many years ago.”
“Virgil was part of a bomber crew which was shot down over Germany during the latter stages of the war. Instead of being sent to a POW camp, the Germans discovered he could speak several languages and he was sent to a death camp to interpret for the Nazis. It was in this same camp where my mother met him. She was caught harboring a Jewish family and was sent along with them to certain death in the Holocaust camp.”
A Life Of Deadly Memories
“Virgil’s job was to check the cattle cars for those who didn’t survive the transport to the camp. There were always some who died in transit and had to be hauled away in the back of a horse drawn wagon to be dumped in an open pit. My mother had only fainted, but Virgil hauled her away with the other unfortunate passengers and secreted her in an old cellar he had found quite by accident on the edge of the compound. Over the next few months he managed to save a few other people. Including a few children and adults.”
“Virgil managed to keep us all from starving somehow until the camps were finally liberated by the allied forces. He then married my mother and brought her back to America with him, but never again would he rest peacefully at night unless he was completely drunk. When the wind blew a certain way, even from our house out side of town, he could hear the railroad cars slowly clacking along the rails, just like they did when a new trainload of Jewish prisoners would enter the huge death camp.”
“He couldn’t resist walking to town during these times, just in case there was another soul who needed saving from the gas chambers and ovens. I wanted you good people to know this about my father, that he loved this small town and the people who never asked him why he acted as he did. I hope now you understand.”
And we certainly did.
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