TITLE: Redemption Chap 4 a 25 Mar
By Randy Somers
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Buck stopped the skip loader and walked to the bucket. Undoing the heavy chain, he nudged the last large rusted piece of metal. It leaned to the side and slid into a large pile. End of a long project. Phase 1 complete. Now onto the digging. Stretching to ease the kinks and strains in his back, Buck heard the sound of a large tractor trailer pulling into the lot. Looking over, he saw Wilson.
Walking over to the large black man stepping out of the cab, "Hey Wilson's Scrap. Got time for coffee and something to eat?"
Wilson smiled and reached out to shake Buck's hand. "Hey I'm always hungry. You payin?" Reacting to Buck's nod he continued, "Then I'm eatin."
Sitting at a table near the big window, Silvia brought the men their snack of a second breakfast. She smiled as she asked, "Getting' the junk out of the yard today? Town will be glad to see that happening. Too bad though, after twenty some years looking at it, I think my customers will miss looking at all that modern art."
Chuckling at her humor, she walked away.
Buck and Wilson spent the next four hours loading scrap metal onto two semis. Wilson had a crew arrive to assist in getting the metal organized into a general mess of the same kinds of metals. "I'll be here tomorrow to get the glass. Amazin how stuff can collect." Looking over the square city block he added, "Looks almost nice with those large piles gone." Turning to Buck, "When ya get the trash outta here, whatcha gonna do with the land when it's clear?"
Buck laughed and said, "I keep asking myself the same question. Not sure really. Want to dig down and clear out some of the bad dirt, maybe put a building in. Want to put some kinda park. Trees, benches, water fountain kids can play in. Maybe fish pond. Put a memorial back for the Veterans, as far back as the Alamo."
Shrugging, "Who knows. Maybe something will hit me tomorrow. Dump trucks will be here tomorrow to take the trash away."
"Well, if ya dig down and find more scrap, call me. Ya been real kind to help me out this way." In a rare moment of seriousness, Wilson shock Buck's hand firmly. "Ifin ya ever need anything, ya ask. Hear?"
"You bet," Buck answered gripping his friend's hand tightly. Rubbing his hands free of the dirt and rust, "But next time I want you to wear a tie and white shirt. You're the boss ya know."
"Whew. The only time I'll wear a tie is when they bury me."
Laughing and waving goodbye, Wilson and his crew fired up their rigs and began to pull out of town. Buck watched them drive east and thought about Wilson and the time they met.
The noisy trucks created a dust cloud which formed a frame that took Buck back to his first meeting with Wilson.
Just before coming to Heywood, Buck had stopped at Dripping Springs a small town east of Heywood, looking to replace the muffler on his Harley. Stopping at the Wilson Auto Graveyard, he met the friendly black man. Both men sensed a kinship of spirit and talked for most of an hour before talking mufflers.
"Your bike looks dusty and well used man. How long ya been traveling?" Wilson asked.
"This time," Buck answered as he pulled the worn leather gloves off of his hand. "Only been riding for three months this trip."
"Looking for something particular in your riding, or just escaping something," Wilson asked as he came from around the parts counter to shake hands.
"I'm always looking for something, just don't know what that something is yet. Like that old bole weevil, looking for a home," Buck joked as he shook Wilson's hand. Buck noticed the friendly smile and the firm strong grip.
"Boll weevils are mean and cause a lot of troubles. Some folks don't like the looks of biker weevils. Ya need to be careful in this area man." Wilson's smile had disappeared as he looked out of his front window.
"I've lived here all my life, worked hard, asked no help from nobody, yet we're still treated as outsiders." Wilson shook his head.
"Small town makes small minds."
"Sounds like there's a story there," Buck inquired.
"Oh, nothing special. Just that a man is trapped by what people think of him, whether what their thinkin is right or not. My Daddy worked hard, in the cotton fields around here. Did alright too. He was smart, saved some money. Kept Mom and us four kids fed and clothed. Even bought his own gas station eventually.
"But folks always thought of him as poor and stupid. Not all folks, but enough to make his life hell. Sometimes kids would gather at this station after hours and mess up the place. Police wouldn't stop em. 'There just kids ya know.'
"Not any real damage, just enough harassment to keep ya in your place."
"How'd that affect you, growing up? Your brothers and sisters?" Buck grew interested in the man's life story.
"Me. Made me angry for a long time. My two sisters kept quiet and stayed within their own kind. They just were able to ignore the stupid ones and made friends when they could. My brother, Johnson, the oldest, became a minister and learned to forgive and pray for those that persecuted us." Wilson paused.
"And you?" Buck pushed.
"Me. I fought a lot. Did OK in school studies. Was on the football and baseball team. People liked me when I did sports. That's where black boys belong. Made some good friends," looking over at Buck, "of all colors.
"But some of the others just couldn't accept my being better than em. So the fights came. Never lost a one. But paid for some of em more than others." Again the pause as Wilson stared out the window, reliving the memories.
"Still happens on occasion." Wilson finished.
"The fights or harassment?"
"Yeah, not as often, but yeah. But now that the Sheriff is Mexican, the white boys don't get away with all their crap now. We gots us a little diversity in our small town now." With that last comment, Wilson's smile returned.
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