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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

purple jonny

when i was a young pup, oh about six, my best friend was "purple jonny".
he was what i'd call a kid of color today.
back in 1958 i just called him purple jonny.
he called me, "bobby bird".

in the heat of the summer we used to hang out by the back of my garage and weather the slow, heavy days by eating small stones, while chitchatting about mays versus mantle and the best ways to stay awake during sunday sermons.
that is until the day when old man stechler told us to leave because he didn't much care for any jungle bunny being so near his garden.
so we went to purple jonny's backyard, a broken down slab of some sort, where we pretty much carried on the same way, although i'd have to admit, i always thought of his cement chips as a delicacy.
that is until purple jonny's auntie carolina, who lived next door to him, yelled at us to leave because "that little white cracker is disturbing my peace of mind".
so purple jonny and i played the rest of the summer in the concrete brook that divided our two neighborhoods.
it turned out to be better there in the long run on account of the eats being plentiful, besides, it got us away from all those adults speaking nutty talk to us with all that jungle bunny and white cracker stuff!
what were they jabbering about anyway?
crazy speak to us.
no different from listening to weird jimmy wagner, who we'd occasionally spy on from atop old man stechler's garage roof, when jimmy's parents would put him out like the family dog to roam around their fenced in backyard.
that poor jimmy just strode himself in circles until he wore a dirt path through all that crabgrass, speaking in tongues most all the time—not a whole lot different from stechler and carolina as far as we were concerned.

even with all the distractions, that turned out to be a pretty good summer.
late that august though, before my serious schooling started, i moved away no more than a half mile as a schwinn rides, but far enough to knock the living daylights out of the color purple from any people i would come to meet for sure.
needless to say, i never saw purple jonny again.

sometimes though i wonder where my good old friend might be, and i think it would be fun to catch up with him today.
i even have some primo stones to chew on should the occasion ever occur.
plus i'm sure i'd be able to convince him mays turned out to be better.

not positive, but i might even call him purple.
regardless, hope he calls me bobby bird.
haven't heard that in a long time.


Randy Johnson said...

Great post Bob, and it stirs up some similar memories for me …except for the eating rocks part. That must have been an East Coast thing. Here on the West Coast, we’d follow the road repair crews to get the freshest “chewing” tar. I’m sure it was better for our teeth. It sure would be good to reconnect with some of those childhood buddies.
…I haven’t been called Randy Raccoon since L.B.J. was President. Bald Ronald, if you read this...

itsmecissy said...

"Here on the West Coast, we’d follow the road repair crews to get the freshest “chewing” tar."
Really? We'd eat wild sorrel & mustard flowers in the apricot orchards.

Randy Johnson said...

"apricot orchards?" ...You poor kids. Didn't you have road crews?

Robert Crane said...

tar was french and for the elite north enders. tried it once though and didn't much care for the way it removed some of my teeth.

give us a newly gravelled driveway though and me and the boys would have it half eaten in a week's time.

Randy Johnson said...

Tar is a tricky thing, and not recommended for inexperienced chewers. Warm summer afternoon tar actually cleans teeth, while cool morning tar will remove them. The proper serving temperature of tar is 90°- 105°. Sorry to sound elitist …I thought this was common knowledge.