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Tobacco Town

Tobacco Town

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Published by hunterjames
Nosatalic study of when tobacco was king
Nosatalic study of when tobacco was king

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Published by: hunterjames on Oct 21, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/10/2014

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 Hunter James5581 Becks Church RoadWinston-Salem, NC 27106Email:hunterj@triad.rr.comwww.grassyforkdays.com
TOBACCO TOWN
 A Taste of Southern Gothic
 
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DOWNHOME CHRISTMAS
The house was fearfully dark and silent as Ryerson opened the gate to the picketfence and went up toward the porch. Dark with terror, dark with the promise of earlydeath. Like a house from which all life had long ago fled. Yet the living room was aglorious scene of greenery and sparkling bells and shiny decorative balls and tinsel, amidwhich stood a shrunken Santa Claus with a dirty white beard. It had been a present at hisfirst Christmas and though no longer the lusty fellow of those first days Ryerson alwaysmade sure that he enjoyed a prominent place amid the great wealth of greenery andtinkling bells.Then he saw the single light way back in the kitchen at the end of the hall. Hestill did not go in. He ran back down the walk and waited for his father to catch up. Hehad paused by the gate under their tall loblolly pine tree to put another lozenge in hismouth. Ryerson worried that it would take a lot more than that to hide the truth fromMother's nose. Smell of Negro, smell of beer, smell of the decadent night itself. He has just never heard of a nose with the kind of power that his mother claimed for her own.His father came up beside him and they went back to the porch and entered thehouse as burglars, moving very slowly now, being as careful as possible as they wentalong the unlit hall and feeling their way into the brightly lighted kitchen where hismother sat holding her Red-Letter Bible.On the table sat the remains of the Christmas Eve dinner they had enjoyed beforehe and his father had left for town. A big Christmas Eve supper with succulent honey
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 baked ham, a special cheese and macaroni dish, vegetables still fresh from the summer garden, a huge Swedish krumkake, wonderfully golden brown as only she could make itThey had been gone for more than two hours. His father had said nothingabout their leaving till he got up from the supper table. "Honey, I hope you don't mind if the boy and I take a quick little run downtown after we finish supper. Just a little piece of  business I need to get outa the way. Won't try to drive and fight all that traffic. All thestreetcars will be running late tonight."Even before they left it looked very much as though she was about to fall into oneof her spells. No need to say anymore when she fell into one of those terrifying moods.Maybe if she would just keep taking her pills she could finally get rid of the terrible fear that came into her face every time his father looked at her a certain way or when he camehome late and often drunk from making the rounds of his rental properties.He got up and slapped his hat on and stood looking at her across the room, flashingthe big friendly smile that would almost always be followed by a huge laugh. She had gotup at the same time, glaring at him menacingly "Sit down and finish your supper,honeybunch. Might want a little piece tonight, it being Christmas Eve and all."Piece?Piece of what? Was his father still hungry? Ryerson was about to offer him part of his apple pie when he saw that his mother's face had suddenly turned to stone, the anger coming in her voice:"Well, you'll not get it, sot! Do you hear me?"The boy just didn't understand. His father had not played the sottonight. He could easily see that his father was not drunk—and everything had started out
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