How is everyone doing today? Now back where I grew up, it would be more like, how ya’ll doin? Down in the south we always start a conversation of asking how you are first. Now, sometimes we even care how your doing but we will always ask either way. I’m told what I would be talking about here is called subjective relativism. I don’t know about you but that almost sounds like two completely different things. I figure it has something to do with thinking that you know about something based on fact when its really just based on your way of thinking about something. Then you go about tryin to make it work out as fact.
My names Raymond Langley II. That’s a good name to introduce yourself with aint it?
That only works if I am at a place like this where it’s not likely that I’m gonna come across someone from my hometown. My grand paps named his son Raymond Langley and when my pops named me after him, grand paps set in to callin me Ray Ray, as in the two Ray’s. It didn’t matter what I wanted to be called if my grand paps called me Ray Ray, then everyone is gonna be call’n me Ray Ray and that is sure enough what has come about.
Now, everyone grows up somewhere and in that growing up lessons tend to come our way whether were a lookin for em or not. Some of us learn those lessons younger than others and lets just say I wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box. I grew up in the Appalachians. As a young boy we wouldn’t be having a whole lot of entertainment. There in our whole Pike County area we were in what they called a golden era of football revival. We had some ?
classic battles of elite teams who would only lose one or two games and make it all the way to the playoffs every year. Our school, Wolf Trap and my rival ole Isaac’s school Clinton would usually battle at the close of every year for the honor of the state playoffs. Now us boys at Wolf Trap never understood how those boys at Clinton holler always found a way to beat us in them playoffs. Even when we were obviously the better team, somehow, someway they would pull out a trick play at the end of the game to beat us and go on to the playoffs.
Of course after a while there could build up quite a heap of animosity toward your rival school in situations such as those. I think all of us at Wolf Trap had truck loads of that animosity at those Clinton boys, but being good sports and all we also respected our opponent for their success. In my school playing sports, my arch rival from the Clinton holler school was Isaac Hall. We sure did spend some quality time looking forward to butt’n heads on a Friday night there at Clinton or my school up Wolf Trap Dam way. So in all of those quality years in school I got me some book teaching and some good teaching on competition, honor and integrity from the sports on and off the field of battle.
Growing up, we spent us a goodly amount of time with family in them days. There were lots of times me and my grand pappy, my pops, before he passed on to the black lung, and 2 or 3 uncles who seemed to always be hanging around would play us some cards during the evening. Mama would always call my uncles drunken bums and I admit they did do a lot of packing away the alcohol with grand paps who could drink em all under the table. Now the thing that was always funny playing cards with grand paps is he would always try to bluff me to steal the pot. He just loved to try to win the pot without anything in his hand. When I caught him at it, he just would slap his knee and laugh until he got into an awful coughing fit. Always whenever caught bluffing, after calling him on it, I would ask him ok grand paps whatcha got? He would laugh and just say I got me Bupkis boy! A whole hand of Bupkis and just laughed. That’s how it is that I came to know what Bupkis was.
One day me and a couple of boys were at our favorite watering place called Maggies having a beer, when ole Isaac just walks right in all decked out in his school jacket wearing the Clinton Holler colors. Now we’ve been outta school for a good spell by then but once you been there your always from there now aren’t ya? Well it had to be done, we didn’t have much but our integrity at the time so I got up and challenged him and of course he had to
accept because he had some of that integrity too. Which is like how it should be with a good adversary. So even though I know it aint exactly fair but it was still going down this way. Me and my two fellow Wolf Trap alums and the Clinton Holler offender was gonna have to come to blows. I’m sure all of us, even ole Isaac there, would have preferred to be in equal numbers and all but there’s just times when that can’t be. I couldn’t exactly deny my two buddies the honor of also defending the colors of Wolf Trap now could I? Being the kind who always seen himself to be courtly and all in my manners, I explained the delima to Isaac, who being a bit like me said he understood.
Looking around Isaac asked if there was any concern to the décor of this here establishment and I agreed that maybe we should take it outside to better preserve the fine cutlery and ceramics here in Maggies. So we decided to go out and settle the score in the gravel parking lot. Dave Jenkins, the former kicker on our team and littlest of our crew asked Isaac who was with him in this and Isaac just said I got Bupkis. I shook my head as I explained to Isaac well this shouldn’t take long. Isaac smiled as he agreed walking out behind a more relaxed looking Dave Jenkins. There just in front of the bar was parked a jeep, covered in thick mud, and what looked like a mud statue until it moved seeing people coming out of the bar. The mud statue pulled a stogie cigar out of its mouth and smiled a semi-toothy smile. I looked up and up. The thing was as wide as it was tall and was completely covered in thick mud. I heard Isaac saying looks like were going to have to defend our school colors buddy. Isaac smiled at my expression which must have been something to see. I asked what is that, pointing in the direction of the muddy Paul Bunyon look a like. That there is my best friend Rupert “Bupkis” Krist. The tower of mud spoke sayin howdy, pardon the dirt we just got out of a mud pit down Clinton Holler way, he slapped the hood of the jeep and a cloud of dust exploded from either his hand or the jeep or both. I almost didn’t get out of that one and even though I didn’t win the contest I sure enough was gonna finish. I was going to mention going around that there mud pit might have given him a leg up but somehow I sensed he liked to wallow around in them pits for sport just as much as racing to a finish line. They sure do grow them up strange down in them hollers.
The big man gave one last draw on his stogie and gave it a reluctant toss, shrugged his shoulders and spoke. I ain’t ete nothin in a while and I really don’t like being hungry so if ya’ll don’t mind let’s go on ahead and get this here thing over with so I can fetch some supper. Well, I jumped right in on ole Isaac leaving the other two boys to deal with the mud monster. I guess me Isaac and was pretty evenly matched because we danced and weaved and a bobbed for a while in that gravel swinging and countering, then countering and swinging. During all of this it never even occurred to me that the other fight was over for a while. Not until I heard a voice saying boys this here was fun and all but I needs to go get me something to eat. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the blur of a big meaty hand reaching out for me and then nothing. I woke up with a battered looking Dave Jenkins pushing on my shoulder handing a beer out to me, saying boys I aint never again gonna take up battle for our school colors, I just want ya’ll to know that. I nodded in agreement with Dave and said yeah I’m thinking maybe we should leave that chore to the younger ones.
When ever I get down that way, I stop by Clinton Holler and visit my friend Isaac and we sit out in the grass on weekends watchin ole Bupkis drivin his old jeep through them mud pits racing against other fellas taking perfectly good vehicles and going off perfectly good roads and wallow around in them vehicles racing each other to the finish line. The two of us hoot n holler for our pal Bupkis to beat out the rest of them. Then after we all go down to Maggies for a couple of cold beverages. Like I said earlier some of us just learn slower than others that’s all but there hope for us all.