After my mother died her only sibling, a brother, Dan Cameron, wanted to take me to raise, take me back to San Francisco where my mother’s family lived. I was the youngest of seven children and he said I was too young to take of myself.
That idea was DOA.
“All of the Stiths can take care of themselves,” my oldest brother, John, said. “And that includes Pat.”
I was five years old.
I admire men [women, too] who do not cuss. I wished I didn’t. And I don’t, in church. Or around women and children.
My oldest sister, Marge, who came home from college to help hold things together when my mother died, was unable to break me of that bad habit, although it wasn’t for lack of trying.
Frustrated, she said she asked me, “Pat, when are you going stop cussing.” And she said I answered, “When I get to heaven, I guess.”
Don’t Look Down
We were playing, throwing rocks at each other.
I was on the second floor of storage building on our farm, near Gadsden, AL, and I peeked out at the wrong time. The rock Brother Dave threw hit me just above my right eyebrow. The scar is still visible.
I was bleeding, bad, and wailing too, of course.
Dave was not reassuring. He took a look and told me, “Don’t look down, Pat, or your eyeball will fall out.”
Like Nothing I Ever Saw. Or Heard.
I was boy, walking home after picking cotton on a neighboring farm, when I heard it, a steady clanking noise, like rocks in a tumbler.
And then I saw it, a cloud of dust moving down the dirt and gravel road toward me. I got out of the way and let it by, a car running on four rims.
Coming Monday: Did You Say IF?