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Perspective Is How You View It by Cynara Moore - [0 words]
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A Guilt Trip Down Memory Lane

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TITLE (EDIT)
A Guilt Trip Down Memory Lane
DESCRIPTION
They couldn't find out and I wouldn't tell.
[600 words]
AUTHOR
Darrell N Middleton -- Oliver
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An old fellow who sees something funny about the very serious business of growing up.
[December 2003]
A Guilt Trip Down Memory Lane
Darrell N Middleton -- Oliver

Years ago when I was a very young fellow we lived in a town that was populated by working class people. Some of the men in town were stevedores who made the daily commute to the Philadelphia waterfront where they hired on to unload the cargo ships that made the South Philly docks a regular port of call. Those men were none of your everyday sissies who had to keep the blood flowing by visiting a gym after work. They were tough physically, and otherwise, and after shoving and pulling barrels and boxes and slinging cargo nets from ships to trucks or railroad cars, they were partial to a rough form of relaxation. Tonyís bar was a favorite hangout for them. As a kid, I noticed that they carried the tool of their trade, an iron hook, hung from their belts. There was no doubt that they were proficient with those hooks, and I had never seen them when they didnít have their hook. I figured they must have slept with them close at hand.

One of those men was named One-armed Mike. To us kids, the missing arm was a source of wonder. Mike was an uncommunicative man; we would not have dared ask, had he been downright talkative. Better to think that he met with a hungry lion who chewed the missing item right off, than to settle for a truth that couldnít possibly be as dramatic. One thing we knew was that Mike could do more with that one arm and hook than lesser men could with both arms.

Mike was a hard drinker. On my way to school, I passed behind his little bungalow where there was a sizeable pile of empty bottles. Mike was married to Rose and it was rumored that she could out-drink him which explained the size of the bottle pile.

One day on the way to school, I focused on that pile and the bottles and wondered what that stuff tasted like. All that tough gang of stevedores at Tonyís place drank a lot of it. I decided to try some, and found a bottle with a little left in the bottom. I tasted it and didnít like it at all. Threw the bottle back on the pile and went on to school.

That might have been the end of a simple little experiment except that my teacher caught a whiff of whiskey emanating from one of her pupils. Getting no explanation, she took it upon herself to visit the studentís home to learn the terrible truth as she imagined it. My startled Mom informed her that she was mistaken and that no one in the house touched the stuff. By that time, the incriminating odor had pretty well dissipated. Mom let the teacher know that my dad did not drink at all, and strong beverages in any form were not even allowed in the house. Teacher left not quite convinced that she hadnít visited a den of iniquity, and Mom wondered what kind of teachers they had in that school. Me! I had professed innocence to all inquiries and kept my mouth shut.

My Mom lived into her nineties, and to the day she passed away, I never owned up to that dark secret deep within me. My teacher is gone now too, and when my time comes to join them somewhere in the upper or lower hereafter, I wonít bring the matter up. Maybe on her demise, my teacher took a different road, and Iíll never have to face the two of them together anyway.

 

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE
© 2001 Darrell N Middleton -- Oliver
STORYMANIA PUBLICATION DATE
December 2003
NUMBER OF TIMES TITLE VIEWED
1611
 

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