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Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Since I was in short supply of friends when I lived in Tennessee, I had a third cousin named Sonny. When I came to town, I would hang out with him. To say he was a little strange would be an over exaggeration. Sonny not only would do some crazy things, he could see nothing wrong with them. More than once when I realized what he had in mind I would make a hasty retreat.

Sonny joined the army and was wounded in boot camp when a guy went nuts and threw a hand grenade near him. After being mustered out for being unfit due to the injury suffered by the grenade, Sonny now had money in his pocket which was unusual for him.

He bought a car and drove it so reckless that the chief of police who was a friend of his mother told her if Sonny didn’t get rid of that car he would put him in jail. His mother Josephine, somehow got his keys and sold the car for about half of what Sonny paid for it.  He took the money after some protesting about the sale and it wasn’t long before long it was the same old Sonny, broke as usual.

We had a great deal of tolerance for one another in those days. Crazy or not, we allowed people to be who they were. Sonny was in a different category even the most liberal and forgiving were confused by him, he could have been called Mr. Illogical.  I think when GOD saw Sonny HE decided that one of him was more than this world needed.

One fourth of July he went down to the bus station and it just occurred to him to throw a large firecracker over a bus. Talk about bad luck the police captain was standing on the other side and the firecracker knocked his cap off. This got Sonny a free ride to the jail house and it took a lot of pleading by his mother to get him out a few days later.

His mother was a single woman, and it seems she was very friendly with several of the city officials. I think she considered it part of the cost of doing business. I didn’t want to know any more about that so I avoided that issue at all times.

All this was occurring in Columbia Tennessee, and soon I was to return to California.  Before I left, Sonny's mother had a boyfriend that came up from Alabama every week or so and would spend the night. On this occasion Mr. Green’s car was parked in front of the house and Sonny took a gallon of dark black paint and with a paint brush he painted Green’s car, windows and all.

Josephine finally married Green and moved to Alabama, and since Sonny was now grown he had to fend for himself, up unto then he lived off his mother who ran a grocery store where she had to watch the till at all times.

As for me I was as the scripture says; “we are in the world but not of the world” I was in the mix but was not of the mix. I stayed clear of “Sonny’s Follies”

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