Saturday, 20 December 2008

20 December 2008

been neighbors of mine. The mother was a wonderful woman in jeans who drove trucks to support her kids, five in all, her husband having left her years before when they were traveling around the country in a trailer. They had rolled all the way from Indiana to LA in that trailer. After many a goodtime and a big Sunday afternoon drunk in crossroads bars and laughter and guitarplaying in the night the big lout had suddenly walked off across the dark field and never returned. Her children were wonderful. The eldest was a boy, who wasn’t around that summer but in a camp for delinquent kids in the mountains; next was a lovely 14-yr.-old daughter who wrote poetry and picked flowers in the fields and wanted to grow up and be an actress in Hollywood, Nancy by name; then came the little ones, little Billy who sat around the campfire at night and cried for his “Pee-tater” before it was half roasted and little Sally who made pets of worms, horny toads, beetles and anything that crawled and gave them names and places to live. They had four dogs. They lived their ragged and joyous lives on the little new-settlement street where my house had been and were the butt of the neighbor’s semi-respectable sense of propriety only because the poor woman’s husband had left her and because they littered up the yard like humans. At night all the lights of Denver lay like a great wheel on the plain below, for the house was in that part of the west where the mountains roll down foothilling to the plain and where in primeval times soft waves must have washed from sea-like Mississippi to make such round and perfect stools for the island-peaks like Berthoud and terrible Pike and Estes mount. Neal went there and of course he was all sweats and joy at the sight of them especially Nancy but I warned him not to touch her, and probably didn’t have to. The woman was a great man’s woman and took to Neal right away but she was bashful and he was bashful. The result was uproaring beerdrinking in the littered livinroom and music on the phonograph. The complications rose like clouds of butterflies: the woman, Johnny everyone called her, was finally about to buy a jalopy as she had been threatening to do for years, and had recently come into a few bucks towards one. (Meanwhile, remember, I was lolling

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