03 February 2019

[Bess Tuggle] - Memoirs of Surviving Children: Remembering Goose

This Edition of Bess Tuggle's "Memoirs of Surviving Children" Proudly Presented by...

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Let me begin this column by stating I am unequivocally not racist.  I truly believe good and bad people come in all shapes, sizes, sexes, colors and religions.  

I’m also not always politically correct.  I don’t even know what that means anymore.  Am I “White,” “Irish American” or simply “American?”  I have friends that I don’t know how to address.  Are you “Black,” “African American,” “Brown,” “Mexican” or simply “American” again? Yellow, purple and polka-dotted work fine in my book, too.  No offense is ever intended.  Please don’t try to “read between the lines.”  There’s nothing here but my own meanderings.  

That being said, I have to tell the tale about my youngest son, Thing 4, meeting a black man for the first time.  (Remember – I make no claims to be politically correct.  My thoughts just fall out of my fingers and I mean no disrespect to anyone.) 

We employed a black driller at the well company.  Goose, may he rest in peace, was a big guy, 6’4”, and one heck of a driller.  Terrified of spiders, but he could drill the heck outta a well.  He always introduced my lil’, white, 5’6” rear as his “long lost little sister.”

My kids didn’t really see the crews that often.  We worked in the office and the crews usually met in the shops.  Then we had the day that the drillers dropped by to visit.

It was after lunch, so the kids and I were at home.  As we (the drilling crew and I) sat on the front porch stairs telling stories, catching up on jobs and discussing the current water well being drilled, Thing 4, at approximately 18 months old, wandered out, fresh from his nap.  He was wearing diapers and a pair of one of his brothers’ shoes that were several sizes to large for him.

Thing 4 sat down on the top stair on the front porch, listened, and stared.  He’d never seen a black man before.

As he got more comfortable he would creep down a stair or two at a time.

Finally, he was sitting right next to Goose.  

He took the first two fingers of his right hand and ran ‘em down Goose’s arm, looked at them, and realized the color wasn’t going to rub off.  

Thing 4 plopped in Goose’s lap and they were best buds after that.  

R.I.P. my old friend.  1949-2017.  I sure do miss you.

- Bess Tuggle