One of the other times that Buzz had a mid-life crisis was that summer when his first hair grew out of his chin. You would have thought that he was Fu Man Choo or somethin’.
He’s tellin’ me he ain’t decided if he’s gonna let it grow into a full beard, or trim it using his Paw’s old razor. The one his Paw left him before he ran away with the dancer.
“Now that I’m grown and a man,” that’s what he said to me, with a straight face - a face with one hair growin’ out of it.
“Now that I’m a man, I’m gonna look after my Maw. Keep her good, in her old age.”
Well you know me and peeing myself, I had to run behind a bush before I wet ma pants good.
What he was tellin’ me, was that he was ready for a career as a matinee idol – that’s his very words and I’m not sure if Buzz knew what they meant.
So the time had come that he’d have to look after his face on account it was gonna be his main source of income. He said he wasn’t sure if it was fair to let a face like that be blown up big in a movie theater ‘cause everyone would pass out.
Of course when he’s tellin’ me this I’m still behind the bush just in case I need to go again, real fast.
That was why Buzz had a mid-life crisis over the weekend and decided he was too old and too pretty to play football at school and that was when Mr Fairbanks, suggested he should join the school soccer team, instead.
“It’ll save your good-lookin’ face, Buzz,” said Mr Fairbanks, who then nudged another teacher and they both walked off as if they were gonna pee themselves too.
Of course just playin’ soccer wasn’t good enough for Buzz, he had to be a
‘strike……er’ – now, the reason I’ve said it that way is because that’s the way that Buzz said it. I thought I could hear a funny accent in there but I assumed Buzz was practisin’ for his movies.
I didn’t see Buzz until two days later and by then he was talkin’ real funny like. I’m thinkin’ to myself, I’ve heard this funny talk before and sure enough I remember – right in the middle of the night, I shout out, ‘Mary Poppins’. Buzz sounded like Dick Van Dyke in that movie.
Buzz has decided that if he’s gonna be any good at soccer he had to talk with an English accent. Since Buzz ain’t ever heard one except in movies and stuff, I’ve got to say he wasn’t that good.
When our teacher said ‘Good mornin’ class’, instead of sayin’ good morning back, Buzz said, ‘All right, Guvner and a fine mornin’ it be’.
I didn’t know whether to just give up and pee myself there and then or run to the restroom.
“Shall I see you, little urchin at dinner time as I’m looking forward to me pie and chips, guvnor.” That’s what he said to me with his one hair chinned face.
“I’m playin’ me soccer game this afternoon, me old mate. Will you be comin’ to see me?”
They had to take me to the nurse’s room - I kid you not - as I had gone into hysterical collapse, least ways that’s what the doctor said. Apparently I had had a real bad shock.
Buzz never ever got a game of soccer, they picked Alexander as the striker and she was a girl.
“Stupid game,” said Buzz - all American, like.
Buzz’s pappy left home only a day or two before Buzz’s fifth birthday and if I can re-call all that way back, his pappy told folks he was real ashamed that he couldn’t support his family and then disappeared to Tijuana with a flamenco dancer.
Somehow I don’t think it was his family he wanted to give his support to.
The day he left, me and Buzz were fishin’ down by Pastor’s Creek which sits next to the Big River which flows all the way to the coast. We always talked of taking a raft to the sea but like most things we talk about, it never did happen; least ways not yet.
Anyhoo I’m shootin’ off here - so on the day that his pappy left, Buzz asked me where the tide went, as it was way out on this side of the Big River.
Me being me, told Buzz that it went to the other side.
I explained to Buzz that when it was low tide on this side it was high tide on the other. He took my word without question. He just gave one of those – that seems right to me – nods and went on with his fishin’; not another care or another word - that’s why I love Buzz like a brother.
Now I ain’t stupid, not like Buzz and I knows the real god’s honest may I spit on your hand and hope to die truth - just like my grandmama told me. She said there’s a big hole under the river where the water runs through to the other side of the world – kind-a like that sand in an egg-timer – like the one our teacher with the bad teeth from England showed us once.
When all the river water goes through their holes, the world turns upside down and it becomes night for some and day for others. Then the water comes back down the holes and we turn over again. If that ain’t the simplest explanation, then I don’t know what is.
My grandmama always had a big smile on her face when she told me that one. I guess I’ll tell Buzz the truth one of these days.
Buzz’s pappy never did head back up this way, but I did hear that the flamenco dancer once drove through town in a big red Cadillac – although this town is always full of stories like that.
bobby stevenson 2015