Family Non-Fiction posted November 24, 2017 Chapters:  ...9 10 -11- 12 

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Quicksand for Billy!

A chapter in the book A Truck Load Of Hard Times!

The Swamp!

by junglefighter

A note to my Friends:  As always, I ask that you join me in the story.  My wish, "Is to make you laugh and cry, while leaving you in a state of uncertainty as to what will happen next.  I hope you enjoy my little story.  Best wishes wherever you are.

Previously in  Chapter10...

"I killed the spider that bit Billy, Doctor.  It was a Brown Recluse."

"Are you sure?"

"Oh, you betcha!"

When and how did it happen?"

"Sometime last night.  It was nesting inside his pajamas, and bit his foot when he put 'em on."

"I'm going to give Billy a shot.  The venom has already started eating away the flesh beneath the skin.  God willing, the antidote I am using will block the poison from his heart."

"What will happen if it don't, Doctor?"

"Only God has an answer for that question, Ma'am."

"Oh, Dear Jesus! Why little Billy again? I am so angry with You, God!  Have you no mercy for our little boy?  He's all we've got!  Please, give him back to us--do you hear me?"

Chapter 11

"God can't hear you, mamma, He's taking a nap, and can't give me back to you, because I'm over here in the bed.  Can't you see me?"

My voice was weak and yet, the sound walked along the pathway of yesterday.  I tried to move my arms and legs, but they seemed to be somewhere else.

"Can't you hear me, mamma?  Please help me!  I gotta get outta bed, and go kill some rabbits for supper."

Darkness surrounded my eyes, and I felt myself slipping back through time.  I could see myself as a small child,  growing up on a sharecroppers farm in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.  My grandpa and I were inseparable at Christmas time.  Although, times were hard, with our crops failing in the fields, Grandpa always managed, "to help fill the cupboard with food, lamps with oil, stockings on the mantle shelf--and our hearts with the Spirit of Christmas.  Hard times, were good times, and somehow we made it.  I couldn't remember anything of my first, second, third, fourth or fifth Christmas, and most things of my sixth were vague and yet,  I remembered well, Grandpa telling me a story about Santa before he died.

"Grandpa, you promised, that when I was six, you'd tell me a story about Santa.  Well, today's my birthday, and I'm six!"

"Sweet, Jesus! Seems like only yesterday you were just a baby.  Why of course, I'll tell you a story about Santa.  Now, how about the one where he was bringing toys down the chimney, found his treats waiting on the fireplace hearth, ate four dozen cookies, drank a gallon of milk, and then got his belly stuck in the chimney on his way back up.  Will you believe that one, Billy?"

"Hmmm! It's gonna be hard, Grandpa.  Are you sure Santa ate and drank that much?  Awe, I bet your joking, huh? Why, our ole hogs out in the barn can't eat and drink that much.  Gee-whiz!  You are a whippersnapper sometimes.  Grandma told me not to tell you that, but she's not listening, she's taking a nap with God.  Please, go ahead with the story, but before you start, I gotta know one thing.  Is Santa really real, and if so, what does my being six-years old have to do with it?"

"Billy, Santa is real today, always was, and always will be as long as you want to believe in him.  What's more, you should encourage as many boys and girls to believe in the magical things of Christmas as you can. Can you handle that, Son?"

"I'll try, Grandpa!  Please, don't use those big ole words in your story, okay?"

"I promise, Billy!  I'll take the big words, put 'em in my pocket, and we'll work on 'em next Christmas if I'm still around." 

"Are you gonna go somewhere, Grandpa?"

"Can't say, Son!  God's gonna need to answer that question.  Here lately, I've been feeling kind of weak and all. Now, where was I?  Oh, I remember now.  Just last week, I was walking through the park in town, and saw Santa sitting on a corner bench by the trail.  Some boy about your age walked up to him and asked; "Are you really Santa Claus?"  Well, Santa pulled his long white beard, kind of chuckled then answered; "I am as long as you want to believe in me, Son."  Now, as for myself, I remember well sitting in Santa's lap when I was your age, and his asking me; "What do you want most for Christmas? "A little red bicycle," I quickly replied.  Once hearing that, Santa started laughing his head off.  "What's so funny?" I asked. Well, he chuckled again then replied; "Of all the different colored bicycles you could have chosen, you choose the red one with flat tires.  But that's okay, I'll have my Elf air 'em up."

"Did Santa keep his word, Grandpa?"

"Certainly he did, as he always does.  Now, you asked; "What age has to do with believing in Santa?"  Really, there's no set age for everyone.  Many children outgrow the sitting in Santa's lap part and yet, they continue to enjoy singing; "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and Joy to the World."  Of course, they'll always be boys and girls who refuse to believe that Santa is real."

"Oh, I'll tell 'em, Grandpa."

"Of course, you will, Son.  But right now, let me get on with the story.  As best I remember, it was my seventh Christmas, and your Great-Grandpa took me out to see the lights.  As we walked along the cobblestone street, I saw cottages wearing snow for hats, chimney smoke spiraling towards Heaven, and cedar trees standing manifested against frostbitten windowpanes lit by candles inside."

"Please, Grandpa, you're using those big words again."

"I'm sorry, I forgot myself. I'm getting a little tired, Billy, so I'm gonna finish up the story.  I was saying; as we continued on down the street, I saw red balls of holly on wreaths, hanging on cottage doors.  Christmas banners ruffled in the wind along the street.  Out in the yards, Frosty-the-Snowman wore a black-crowned hat, stood in an ole wash kettle, while children inside prayed for filled stockings.  I remember well, that was the best Christmas of my life."

"What did Santa bring you, Grandpa?"

"A little red bicycle, and guess what?  The Elf had aired up the tires too. Well, I jumped on my little red pony, yelled, "getty up go," and my girlfriend down the road cried out, "Look at 'em go, he's my hero!  Well,  having heard that, I turned around to wink at her, and crashed my bicycle into the brier patch.  Oh, my goodness!  I was so embarrassed, when she called out; 'Oh, you're not so brave after all, Briar Rabbit.' "

"Grandpa!  You can be a silly-gander, at times, did you know that?"

"Why, of course, Billy!  Your Grandma used to pull my feathers when I was roosting.  Well, did you enjoy my little story, Son?"

"Golly gee willikers!  I just loved it, Grandpa, would you tell me another?  Would you, huh?"

"I'm sorry, Billy, I'm feeling awfully weak.  I know that God has blessed me with a good life and yet, life's journey was in the yesterdays, and today, my ole bones pop and ache.  I'm getting so hungry, how bout you, Son?"

"I'm hungry too!  Wanna know what mamma is cooking for supper?"

"Of course, I do, Billy!"

"Well, she's cooking fried chicken smothered in gravy, mashed potatoes, baked beans and buttermilk biscuits.  Then for dessert, she baked a pumpkin pie, and is gonna serve it with homemade icecream on top.  Are you gonna race me to the table, Grandpa?"

"I can't, Billy!"

"Why's that tear running down your face, Grandpa?"

"Because, I gotta leave you, Son. Quick, call your mamma."

"Sweet Jesus,  you can't leave me now, Grandpa, we've gotta go eat--remember?  Mama, come quick!"

"Oh, my God!  Someone get, Doctor Smith fast, Billy's awake and is crying his heart out."

"It's alright now, ma'am.  Billy's outta danger, miracles still happen you know.  He wants to talk with you now, okay?"

"Come on over here, mamma, It's alright to cry, for Jesus wept that day, remember?  I gotta ask you something?  Why didn't Grandpa wait until after we ate supper?"

"Oh, God, Billy! You know he was always in a hurrry.  Please, don't cry, Son!  Grandpa will be back this Christmas, and guess what?  He'll be the hungriest Angel on the tree!"

"Okay, mamma!  Will Grandma tag along with him?  It's a mighty long way from here to Heaven, and they're gonna be so hungry when they get here.  Will you cook 'em a whole lotta goodies to eat? Will you, huh?"

"Of course, Son--of course, I will!"

"I love you so much, mamma, but I'm a little bit tired and sleepy now.  Gonna grab me a quick nap, and we'll talk in a bit.  Thanks, for being here for me, okay?  Now, don't you go and worry, for I'll be outta here and home, before the rooster crows three times.  Gotta go and kill us some rabbits for supper, remember?" 

"You betcha I remember, Son!  Now, take your nap, and sweet dreams--my little man! 

"Good morning, Doctor Smith.  How's Billy doing?"

"He's not awake yet, Ma'am.  Once he fell asleep last night, he has not moved.  However, it is time to wake him up for breakfast.  Why don't you go stand by the bed, then call his name, okay?  My guess is, he'll start fussing because we didn't wake him earlier.  The nurse took his blood-pressure while he slept, and it is completely normal.  Your son is made of strong chain, Ma'am, of course, you know that, huh?"

"Thanks for saying that, Doctor!  Billy got the strong chain outta his grandpa's pocket.  Once again, thanks for giving him back to us.  God's gonna get you for that!"

"Awe, thank you, Ma'am!  Now, let's go wake, Billy."

"Good morning, Son!  I bet your hungry, huh?"

"Oh, my goodness, I didn't hear the rooster crow.  I'm sorry, mamma, the rabbits are probably eating our tender corn.  Where's my shotgun?  I gotta go shoot 'em!"  

"It's alright, Billy!  The rabbits slept late this morning too!  Now, get awake and eat your breakfast, okay?"
"Yes, Ma'am!"

After eating breakfast, my mamma and daddy signed the discharge papers, and we headed out for home.  Of course, I didn't get to shoot any rabbits for a couple of days.  My father said; "eat, rest and sleep," and I said; "Yes, Sir!"  Tomorrow is Wednesday,  Youth Night at Church, and I gotta go.  "Sheee," I whispered!  Just can't let my daddy know.  It was early to bed for me, because, tomorrow was gonna be a long day.  I lay on the ole feather bed, closed my eyes,  and somewhere off in the night, a lone-wolf called for it's mate.  After getting no answer, it gave up on the idea, went to sleep--and so did I.

"Please, somebody go beat the rooster with a broom," I yelled!  "Oh, my goodness!  It's to early for him to be crowing," I whispered.  As I opened my eyes, the golden rays of the sun, walked along the pathway in the meadow, on through the open window--"and kissed my face!"

"It's seven a.m., Billy!  Are you ready for breakfast?"

"Yes, Ma'am, momma, I'm plumb ready!  Oh, I meant to ask you earlier, can I go to Youth Night at Church?"

"Why, of course, you can, Son!  However, you gotta remember to take the oil lantern and some matches,  it's gonna get dark early.  I'm so proud of you for going to Church, Billy."
"Oh, thank you, momma!  By-the-way!  Please, don't tell daddy until I get back, for I don't want him to worry and all, okay?"

"Sweet Jesus!  I'm gonna pretend that I didn't hear that, Son.  Now, come and eat your breakfast."

The day passed like an ole hounddog eating simon seeds, and it was time to head out for Church.  Quickly filling the oil lantern, and my pocket with matches, I headed out.  Going to Youth Night gave me a chance to wear my overalls rather than getting all dressed-up.  Hot-dog, I kinda liked that!  It was three miles from home to Church, and I dearly loved the walk.  Sometimes, I would make a game of it by timing myself, then try and better each record.

Once arriving at Church, my friends and I gathered on the front steps, and traded stories.  As usual, the most exciting thing that had happened to anyone, other than myself, was killing a bird with a slingshot.  Of course, my having been bitten by a Giant Brown Recluse Spider, made me the hero throughout our neck of the woods.
After bragging somewhat, I said goodnight to my friends, fired up the lantern and headed out home. 

Normally, I always followed the ole dirt road and yet, tonight I choose to take the shortcut through the woods, so I would be home before my daddy missed me.  I had only taken the shortcut once, and it was in the daytime.  I was not familiar with the area at night.  Suddenly, my lantern went out!  It was pitch dark when I stepped into the quicksand.  "Sweet Jesus!  Why, had I taken the shortcut through the woods?" I asked myself.  I felt the wet sand climbing my legs.  I tried pulling myself free and yet, could not.  The more I moved my body, the deeper I sank.  "Please, someone help me," I screamed.  As the quicksand pulled me down, I reached my hands towared Heaven.  With my left, I touched a vacant spot for my Soul, and with the right, the Face of God!  "It's over, Grandpa, I'm a coming to see you," I cried.

Oh, I left you hanging, huh?  Told you I was gonna!  Sheeee!   I'm working Chapter 12 now.                                                                                                                                                            

A "Salute," to; LMSmith for the Artwork!

Continued in Chapter 12 ...



My cousin out in California is in the motion picture business with MGM Studios. He and I were Joined-at-the-hips as kids growing up in the Smoky Mountains at Pigeon Forge, (Dollywood) Tennessee. We are meeting there to discuss filming a family movie of my book. I'll be writing the chapters then posting them for your review and comments. As always, thank you for reading my work. Best wishes wherever you are.
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