i’ll tell it. you write it down.
“I seen my daddy die.”
He was a handsome man with handsome eyes. He wore suits and bowler hats and bright red ties. His boy would take after him. But he’d never know it.
“A man’s gotta be in bad shape to do that sorta thing.” Darrell said it. “Makes you wonder if he hated himself or the world or the God that put him in it.” Pa pretended not to hear.
“Maybe he didn’t know he was doing it. That thing he done.” He had wondered about it before. I could see it in his face. “Maybe he just thought about it and it happened and he didn’t know how.”
I let him talk because he wanted to.
“I was just a boy.”
Because maybe no one ever had before.
“You know, you tell yourself what you have to. What you need to to get by. Then you leave it alone. ‘Cause if you think about it too much. Live it too often. You get stuck in your head. And that ain’t no good.”
Pa fidgeted and stood up. “You want some coffee?”
Some things are hard to say. Even harder to have said for you.
Maybe I was doing him wrong. Listening to what he didn’t want me to hear. But Darrell asked me to.
“Now, I got some stories for you sweetheart.” Darrell smiled and laughed and looked at his brother. “I’ve done a few things, and I’ve seen even more. I’ll tell ’em if you write ’em down.” I said I would. “No sir. Ain’t no man ought to be ashamed of the things he’s done. ‘Cause that’s what makes him.”
Darrell died two years ago. I waited too long and he was 75 and in a hurry. Every time I think about him, I think about the boy who watched his daddy die and what he told me in the Dairy Bar on Route 52.
“You just remember that young fellow in the red tie, and know the Lord makes a way. That’s what I do.”