That there? That’s a Thing o’Beauty!

Hey, ho.  This here’s Liam.  Liam Goodwell.  Of the Denton County Goodwells.

An’ here I set, ready to share with y’all yet another anti-dote from my day.  (An’ why Miss Meadow down to the school figures this here exercise vaultin’, I do not know.  But I will admit a mite flutter in my insides when I get me a minute to jot a note here and there.  I ain’t likely to admit it, however.)  But law!  I could near become another Mark Twain!  Miss Meadow down to the school, she harkens from Hannibal, after all, so maybe she got some idea in her head!  Time’ll tell….I think I’d ruther be a judge a’sportin’ them black robes.   Or a the-ater owner, makin’ butter topped popcorn all day an’ all night.

Well, I got me to thinkin’, whilst doin’ my mornin’ chores, I live me a bless-ed life, with family an’ kin an’ neighbors an’ livestock an’ a full belly.  An’ I been sharin’ all them things with you fer some time.

Don’t think, howsomever, I never ever did mention my Daddy’s youngest brother Lloyd.

Now one day soon, I’ll wrestle down a inventory o’ all my kin, Daddy’s and Mama’s and Grandpap’s, but this day, Lloyd come to mind.

Now, Lloyd’s sure my uncle, but given his circumstances, it don’t seem conventional somehow to lay that responsibility upon his shoulders.

See, it’s like this.  Lloyd is near a full twenty years younger’n Daddy.  Daddy toppin’ forty-five makes Lloyd twenty-five and a full-growed man.

‘Cept Lloyd ain’t.  Bein’ born late to Grandmama who was then in her forties her ownself, Lloyd come into this world jest a little step slower than the rest of all them crazy driven Goodwell sons.  Now, he was loved to ever’ inch o’ his bein’, and Grandmama tasked Grandpap to always give Lloyd a good home and a hug goodnight.  Hear Grandpap tell it, ’twas one o’ her last pro-nouncements upon her deathbed.

An’ Grandpap, heck all us Goodwells, we done a upstandin’ job.  Lloyd, he spends most his days, once Grandpap and Daddy gets him up an’ goin’, a’sittin’ on a ol’ couch in the corner o’ our livin’ room.  Hollers if he’s made to set an’wheres else.  Full on part o’ this family, he sets there and rocks gentle-like mornin’ to night, come comp’ny or clergy or Miss Meadow from down to the school.  He ain’t loud nor threatenin’ an’ behaves hisself mostly, ‘cept when then folks come to collect fer taxes.  He’ll let out a snort then, I tell you what!  Then come bedtime, Grandpap and Daddy gets him up and settled into his bed in a tiny room off the main, an’ Grandpap never once fails to give him a hug upon tuckin’ him in.

Now, Lloyd, is a load.  Settin’ an’ rockin’ hisself all day long don’t do nothin’ to leanin’ him out, and Lloyd, he does love his dinner.  An’ his supper.  An’ his breakfast.  Eats nice an neat on a little table jest fer him, tucked to the side when he’s done.  Always sandwiches and fried ‘tater, an’ tomaters,  and Mama, she puts sweet tea in a big ol’ milk bottle, since Lloyd don’t take to no glass.  Lloyd don’t talk, least not much I ever heared.  An’ ‘specially not when he’s a downin’ his share at mealtime.

But him an’ me,  once he’s wiped his mouth careful with his napkin like Grandmama done taught him early days, why, him an’ me, we’ll have us a moment.  Since I was knee high to a tall Indian, (Shelly Sue Swan down to the school, grade behind me, she claims Cherokee grands and I’ll ‘llow she is long an’ lean), I’ll sit myself crosslegged on the floor ‘front o’ Lloyd and him and me have us a ol’fashioned staredown.

Sometimes I’d win, but mostly it was Lloyd.  An’ he’d laugh and laugh when he seen me blink.  Now, ‘course I got better as time come forward, and after my thirteen years, I come to almost always win.

But I don’t.

‘Fore my best treasure, better’n a heap o’gold or paper money, is hearin’ Lloyd’s belly laugh.

That’d be my Uncle Lloyd.

****************

TREASURE

REGRET

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