Saturday, July 14, 2007

TCC: The Eighth Crumb, Part I

With a heart torn asunder: I reached for the best medicine that I knew of at the time for such a serious injury. For it neither required a doctor's diagnosis, nor a prescription to fill; and I already had a good supply nearby.

Yes, many are of the opinion that crawling into a bottle of Jack Daniel's will not solve anything; but I believed that there was something to say about the experience. For if a person stays down long enough: oxygen deprivation sets in; and then comes a sense of euphoria before everything goes black.

No, none of that was meant to just promote the benefit of drinking lots of Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Sippin' Whiskey to heal a broken heart (even though it was my favorite). For Jim Beam, Wild Turkey 101, Southern Comfort, and gallons of Busch Beer also contributed greatly unto the cause.

Needless to say: I was not in my right-mind; nor did I want to be. For when the fog started to clear: nothing was there to hide the pain; and that was not a sight that I was eager to see.

Much unto my delight: what I was eager to see (other than Sam wanting me back, of course) came along just 10 days after I was shown the door. For a sweet young thing made me feel much better about myself (well, at least for an hour or so).

Tragically: she committed suicide not so long afterward. Therefore: I must have failed to return the favor.

Next in line (I think) was a young lady with a little boy; and I thought that she showed a lot of potential. For she gave me enough confidence to go see my girls; but before the relationship got too serious: I sabotaged it by going after a girl who was completely out of my league (not as much as Sam was, however).

Oh my, talk about something special: that girl had it all. For she looked a lot like a much younger version of Lynn Anderson (a great Country/Western singer who recorded: I never promised you a "Rose Garden") unto me; and she could sing just like Patsy Cline (Country/Western Music Hall Of Famer).

No, Patsy's music was not what I would listen unto on the radio (AM/FM, not CB); but to hear that other girl sing her songs was truly something to behold. For with eyes closed: I was hard-pressed to tell a difference; and I was not the only one who felt that way.

Yes, I could see that she would be going places; but I decided to make a play for her anyway. For it was not like I had a lot to lose; and since I had drawn nary a sober breath for several weeks: I was also feeling rather bulletproof.

Surprisingly: she did not laugh in my face. In fact: she was rather apologetic in her response. For she told me that she could not really go-out with anyone (let alone: get serious about them) because of her father being a numbers-runner for the Kansas City mob. For that would give them another thing to use against her father in order to keep him honest and in-line.

Suffice to say: I was taken-aback by her answer; but upon second-thought: I started to give her the benefit of my doubts. For there were at least a hundred other things that she could have said; and after she showed me the chrome-plated, pearl-handled, snub-nosed Smith & Wesson 38 Special revolver that she carried in her purse wherever she went: I became fully convinced.

So: we just became fairly good friends after that; and a little color was starting to appear upon my horizon. For I had become a "regular" at a Country/Western bar on the southside of Joplin, MO; and I even got to go unto a very exclusive skinny-dipping party in Shoal Creek (COLD!!!) involving around 20 from the bar after it closed one night.

No, there was no slowing me down now. If anything: I was speeding-up. For on a sunny Thursday morning: I started drinking quite heavily; and it did not stop until Saturday night.

Needless to say: there is much about that time that I have no memory of. For it was the first time I experienced what it was like to keep doing stuff while blacked-out; but there are a few things that I do recall.

One of them is about coming-to just before driving my big black Chevy 4-wheel drive pick-up truck through someone's fence on purpose (???). After doing so: I fell out of the cab (close to 3 feet off the ground). A lady then came out of the house next to the field; and yelled at me: "What are you doing?" Unto that I replied: "Fixing fence, I guess." She then screamed quite loudly; and ran back into her house.

As it so happened: there was an 18 year-old girl with me; and she played a major part in my next memory of that time. For I remember looking down and seeing that she really was a red-head just before passing-out on top of her (she later told me that I was not very good).

After she finally got me woke-up: I proceeded to take her home, which required driving through a part of Cassville; and I then received a huge break from one of my parents' mortal enemies (at least on their part) who was a Cassville City Policeman at the time. For I am quite sure that I would have melted a breathalizer if he had of wanted me to blow into one; but he was only interested in what I had to say about my earlier fight with that lady's fence. After promising to fix it as soon as possible, and also promising to go straight home after taking the fair lass with me home: he let me go; and I did just exactly what I promised.

Unbeknownst unto the nice policeman: what I considered to be my home was the Branding Iron in Joplin at the time; and being there on a busy Saturday night constitutes the last memories that I have of my infamous 3-day drunk. For I remember starting to play pool, and then being told that I had run the table 3 games in a row (never done before, nor since) before I just quit playing, and then being carried-out of the door by the manager and a part-time bartender while protesting that I did not want to go to bed.

When I woke-up early Sunday morning (around 7 AM, I think): I knew that my rampage was over. For I never felt so alone, so utterly empty, in my life up until that point.

I also felt like I was freezing to death: despite it still being in August (I think). For they had put me to bed in the cab of my truck; and my clothes felt wet enough to wring-out.

No, I do not believe that the moister could have been from the early stages of detoxification. For I would think that a person would have to be a lot more "dried-out" than I was before the diabolical "detox-sweats" set-in.

Aside from all of that: I knew that I was still in trouble. For I was in desperate need of a shoulder to cry-on; and I knew just where to go to find one.

No, there was never anything romantic (let alone: sexual) between us (not from lack of trying on my part). For it was not that kind of a relationship; but by the time of my crash and burn: I had grown to love the manager of the Branding Iron as much as I possibly could.

Thankfully: the feelings were mutual. For I do believe that I would have (at least) tried to kill myself if it had not of been for her concern.

Regretably: her counsel was not without cost unto herself. For it was probably because of extensive water damage from my tears that she and her daughter had to move from where they lived a few months after she let me have my big cry.

Alas, I have often wondered if Alfred Lord Tennyson was just making an attempt to contribute unto the greater good of the British Empire when he borrowed a quotation from Saint Augustine and waxed poetic: Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. You know: "keep a stiff upper-lip"; and other "stuff" like that.

On the other hand: maybe he was not so unlike Mr. Shakespeare in sentiment? For it has been my experience that losing at love really SUCKS!!! I mean: it REALLY, REALLY SUCKS; and I do believe that I am very much not alone in that.

Substantiation of my position was not hard to find. For my dear manger of the Branding Iron had more experience with the matter than I did. Therefore: I took it to heart that she was most likely correct in suggesting that a change of scenery just might do me a lot of good.

No, it is not at all true that I turned my back on my children and just walked away. For there was not a day back then (nor has there been since) when I did not miss my girls terribly; but since there was always a lot of friction between Sam and I whenever I did come-by to be with them: I believed that it was truly in their best interest for me to stay away from them for awhile.

Yes, it could be said that it was also in my best interest. For it was like pouring salt into an open wound each and every time I saw Sam and my girls; but be assured that my motives were pure. For I did not want my girls to have to endure what so many other children of divorced parents had; and I hoped that they would come to understand and forgive me in time.

Anyway: I did not go far (just 120 miles or so north-northwest of Joplin); but it was still like a foreign country unto me. For I was quite unfamiliar with the Garnett, KS area: even though it was just 15 nautical miles northwest of Blue Mound (where my father grew-up).

Thankfully: there were a couple a familiar faces around. For I had went up there with a friend from Washburn, MO (around 8 miles south of Cassville) to work for a former boss of mine at Wells Aluminum in Cassville.

Talk about having a time: we did. For we lived out of the back of Bill's (from Washburn) pick-up truck from the first of September (I think) until the end of October; and the beer flowed at a steady stream.

Around the first of November (1984): we moved into a motel room at a weekly rate; and it was also around then that we started entertaining some guests. For Bill hooked-up with a mighty fine-looking lady who liked his sense of style a lot more than anyone else did (he would sometimes wear a purple leisure-suit with a yellow ruffled shirt to work); and I found myself more and more in the company of a blonde-haired (truly) wildcat by the name of Robin.

No, there was not anything sexual going-on between Robin and I while we still worked together at the aluminum window and door factory that Bob managed. For I was just a shoulder for her to cry-on after her live-in boyfriend got through beating the snot out of her.

Yes, I would have very much liked to have been her knight in shining armor; but she would not tell me where she lived, nor anywhere else I might find her tormentor. Therefore: I had to settle for doing what I had been doing; and that seemed to be enough for her for the time being.

Quite suddenly: all of that changed after being knocked-out during a particularly savage beating. For she finally agreed to go down to Cassville with me to meet my mother and brother over the Thanksgiving Day holiday; and we became a couple at that time.

Now, to say that my mother and brother were somewhat less than impressed with Robin would be another understatement. For they did not know what to think about someone (who was only 5'2" and a hundred pounds soaking wet) who could drink almost as much as I could; and a not so subtle dislike for her developed into open animosity virtually over-night.

No, they were not the only ones who felt that way. For a number of my friends also had a bad feeling about her.

None of that really mattered unto me at the time, however. For she was quite dedicated unto satisfying my "needs" in ways that I did not know were possible; and on December 21, 1984: Robin and I were married in a small ceremony in my mother's living room.

Yes, it was very nice of my mother to let us get married there. For she was certainly not under any sort of obligation to do so: not even a strictly moral one in accordance unto the rules of engagement governing family interaction after I failed to be there for her when my father died; and I am quite sure that her extreme dislike for Robin did not make it any easier for her.

At least she got the last laugh about the matter. For I finally succumbed unto the pressure from so many around me to take Robin back to Kansas and leave her there. Some even went as far as to express concern over there being something rather "unholy" about her; and this was coming from people who could take our Heavenly Father's name in vain while swallowing a mouthful of beer!!!

No, Robin did not want to go back to Kansas. Neither did she want me to go anywhere without her. For she really did love me.

Nonetheless: I had made-up my mind to leave her far behind; and I truly believed that I did indeed have some good reasons for doing so. For I had come to better understand why Robin was getting beat-up on a fairly regular basis by her boyfriend back in Garnett; but I still regretted my decision later-on.

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