These here are the true and verified and value-fied daily chronicles of one Liam Goodwell, third son this generation of the Denton County Goodwells, God Love Us Ever’one!
Now, comes a time when a feller, he’s got to make hisself known. Comes a time when that feller, has to speak up against when he knows for heck certain somethin’s plum in error. To say nothin’, that there’d be livin’ a lie and I’d be cast down to the Fiery Lake o’Blazes with not a drop o’water to moisten my parched tongue. Ol’ Devil’d torment me clean through to Eternity and back.
Least that there’s what Ol’ Brother Zebulon Magruder Bean down to the church preaches. An’ I believe him. Purtin’ near. Either way, I ain’t aimin’ on takin’ no chance, that’s fer ding dong sure.
I ain’t known fer speakin’ my mind, leastways not loud ‘nough to cause some commotion, and I’ll true stand tall ‘gainst them dishin’ on the low and downtrodden, but when Miss Meadow, down to the school, when she speaks, well, I take it as plumb Gospel.
Fer Miss Meadow, down to the school, she’s a mighty fine teacher, young and fresh, only a few years from the Dees Moines Ioway Teacher’s College up to Dees Moines, Ioway.
She ain’t never done nothin’ to steer none o’us kids wrong, not never.
And she sings like a night’gale, ‘course we don’t have none o’them here in Northern Missouri. She, hallelujah and praise to Jesus, shore don’t sing like no Great Tailed Grackle, an’ we got us a’plenty o’them! Birds and otherwise.
Well this day, this here day, I near to gnashed my teeth for the wrongness of Miss Meadows teachin’s. Didn’t want to say nothin’. Didn’t have to neither. Durned tootin’ problably shouldn’t have.
It all started jest like a normal history period, Miss Meadow, all dewy and dreamy, sashayin’ to and fro ‘cross the front, tiltin’ like she was hearin’ voices from the past, teachin’ all us kids, kinny-garden on up to eighth grade, and them what was held back, regalin’ us with mind pictures of France over to Europe, days gone by. Her voice fluttered up and danced ’round the ol’ peelin’ paint walls when she described the giant castles ol’ Louie the sumpteenth lived in, them grand all-week parties, folks dancing and spinnin’ fine, and them splendid men and kings and such dressed up in short pants and stockin’s over they knees. Miss Meadow, she fluffed her hands like she was a strokin’ all them roses in them maze gardens. She lifted her pert little nose like she was a’sniffin’ they perfume.
Law, Miss Meadow, she could spin a tale, makin’ them olden days come plumb alive, she could.
Law, I could watch and listen to her near all the day long.
But then, well, she come up short, she did, and while I longed to wish her right, prayin’ she’d find the correction in her head and sort the truth, specially for the young’ins, she plugged on ahead, makin’ the same mistake over’n over ag’in. Them big boys, them what was held back and them what was too big for they britches, they come to snortin’ and guffawin’, and bein’ right disrespectful.
Miss Meadow, she shot them a look ‘r two, but off she’d go, pushin’ out that one little wrong fact. And while it was a little one, by gum, them fellers wouldn’t let it go. I could feel the red start a’climbin’ up my neck and overtakin’ my ears, burnin’ and churnin’. Clinchin’ my fists, I shore wanted to lay into ’em, but proclivity and proximity precluded that behavior.
Still, I needed, felt called, to save her, save Miss Meadow from her folly.
I raised my hand.
On a roll ’bout hun’erds o’some purty mirrors surrounded by flowers carved out pure gold and carved birds and extry large rugs hung up the walls ‘stead o’laid neat on the floors, she continued in her revery.
She didn’t pay me no mind whatsoever.
And them fellers what sit ‘long the back wall o’our little one room school, they snorted all the more.
I coughed, near to had a fake fit, and finally, finally, her eyes, they focussed my way, an’ I meekly raised my hand once more.
“Liam?” her voice was like cotton candy from the county fair, “Liam, do you have somethin’ to add?”
I quick took a deep breath, stood to my feet, knuckles of my fists pressed hard on the top o’my desk, proppin’ me up. Had to do this now, save Miss Meadow from the derision of them fellers and po-tentially from all them youngin’s what would tell they folks how Miss Meadow, she done got somethin’ wrong. That there’s just not acceptable.
“Well, Miss Meadow,” She waited patiently, fer she respected all us kids, Miss Meadow did. “Miss Meadow, you been talking ’bout France n’all….”
“Why yes, Liam, it’s a magical place and one day I shore hope all you can see pictures. I’ll get a book down to Kansas City and bring one in…”
I interrupted, butt right in. I was taught better, but I needed to remedy this ‘fore I lost my fortitude.
“Miss Meadow, you been talkin’ ’bout that golden palace place, Ver—“
Then the guffawin’, it growed right up to outright laughter, the mean shoutin’ donkey-brayin’ kind. She looked ‘roun’ the room, perplexed but in charge. She rapped her own knuckles on her own desk.
“I’ll have none of that! Let Liam speak.”
Ain’t that nice….
But I digress.
“Well, Miss Meadow,” I couldn’t meet her eyes, per-ferin’ to examine my boots as I was a’speakin’, “Well, Miss Meadow, we know plumb all ’bout that there golden castle, ’twas named fer a town down south o’here some hun’erd mile then some.”
Glancin’ up, her eyes was on me, still perplexed. That she harkened from over to Hannibal on the other side o’Missouri, may how that there was the reason.
“It’s jest, that, ma’am, the name o’ the place ain’t “Ver-SIGH.” I could hear giggles cuttin’ under my words, “Ma’am, we’re right proud they’s a fine palace o’gold named fer a right fine community jest down the road some, but, Miss Meadow, it’s done always been “Ver-SALES.” Long as we an’ our daddys and mamas and grands and great grands been ‘roun’ these parts. An’ maybe them French kings, they got some confused, but I feel it’s right impord-ant you know how it is, bein’ we was first an’ all.”
There, I done it. I corrected my very own teacher, and I felt like a worm, but then ag’in, some like one o’them knights she talked ’bout ‘while back, too. I stood tall, lookin’ straight forward now. What was done, well, it was done.
Well, if tears didn’t well up in her soft brown eyes! Look at her! She was sorry and repentant as could be. A’cryin’ fer embarrassment, she was. I’d saved her from mispronouncin’ a name we knowed since we was born, all us had kin livin’ there. We KNEW! And now, so’d she. I stood a little taller then. I felt some like I’d helped her restore her respect ‘mongst the youngin’s she was commissioned to educate.
Well, right then an’ there, if she didn’t wipe them tears what was now coursin’ down them rosebud pink cheeks and cover her mouth. She let forth with a couple o’little sobs, an’ wavin’ her other hand, if she didn’t send us all out, whisperin’ between them little cracklin’cries that school, it was dismissed fer the day.
If that don’t beat all…..!