Fuck you, I'm an American*


Just goes to show you, when I was six my daddy's mama died and my daddy's daddy come to live with us. Wore the clothes of a man of the land. Black tie up boots, white T-shirt and overalls that, like the boots, came from Chicago Illinois. Roebucks, don't do ma trading nowhere else. Sit on our porch with his hound, Blue at his feet and whittle with a Barlow knife I still have to this day and tell me stories about fish he caught, mostly, fish he didn't, rarely. Summer so hot corn didn't grow, it popped. Winter so cold, you speak in February have to wait till March for the words to thaw out. Stories of God, men and a mule so thick grandpa called him Roosevelt. Grandpa was a Republican, a Baptist, a God fearing man. Didn't smoke, didn't drink, didn't chew gum, didn't dance. And he'd say, "Little Jimmy, that's short for James, sat right at the table with Jesus so always bring your plate to the lord and it will never be empty."

Through it all, Grandpa seemed happy. But at times he missed Grandma. They were married for forty nine years. But he'd say "She'll be waiting for me in heaven at them pearly gates and, knowing that Ida, she's probably got St. Peter scraping and painting them right now." So it came as quite a surprise that day when his hound Blue came back from town without him. Walked there every day, wasn't more than a mile. That night, filled with worry, none of us slept, with old Blue whining somethin' fierce for the old man, not even baby sister Nora.

Next day, daddy rung up Sherriff Craddock and we walked all over town even past Johnson's wood all the way to the river. No sign of the old man. Till three days later we heard from state police out west someplace I've never been, Nevada. Seem they found Grandpa wearing nothing but them Roebuck boots in a stolen cop car after doing over a hundred miles an hour with two crack whores. Hadn't slept in three days. Just goes to show you.

Jimmy Henry

*or perhaps 'fuck me, I'm an American'