I remember Thanksgiving 1964. It started like most of our Thanksgivings. We didnt have a turkey and Pa was back in jail. It looked like it was going to be another Pot Pie Thanksgiving when Jimmy,( that’s what we called Bruce back then), came up with a plan.
Before too long Jimmmy( Bruce), Allen, Andy and I were on a walk in the moonlit woods. When we left the house it was around 4AM. Ma was still on the couch and passed out with an empty bottle of Creme De Mente laying there. We tippy toed right past Ma but she was out cold as usual.
Jimmy.. I will call him Bruce from now on, led the way. He was 12, Allen was 10 and I was 7. Bruce carried Andy, who was just a baby- in a burlap bag over his shoulder. Allen carried the shovel and I got to carry the dynamite.
We made our way through the woods, across the creek and by the Spivey place. No one was up but we did our best to keep quiet. Bruce gave Andy a piece of bark to chew on. Andy so loved bark. We went another 1/2 mile up to old man Johnson’s place. None of us liked old man Johnson on account of the fact he always leered at Ma at the Piggly Wiggly. Bruce once said he had a club foot. I didnt know. I never seen his feet and didnt care too. Allen said that when he went through Old Man Johnson’s trash he found 3 True Detective Magazines which Allen had enjoyed for 2 months.
Anyway, when we got to old man Johnson’s place, Jimmy… I mean Bruce made us all lay down real quiet. Bruce was able to get into Old Man’s Johnson’s car with a slimjim Bruce always carried. Bruce got in and set Andy in the bag next to him. Then me & Allen pushed the car about 100 feet out to the dirt road near the juniper tree. By then Bruce had the car hot wired, so Allen and I jumped in and we were off. Andy popped his little head out of the bag with a mouth full of bark and the wind in his hair. I never seen a child so happy.
Bruce drove fast with the lights off down Farm to Market road 87. He knew that road. Hell this was not the first or the last time he would steal Old Man Johnson’s car. When Bruce dated Julie Jean he swipped that car so many times I thought for sure he would get caught, but he never did.
After about 20 minutes we made it to the main road and Bruce turned toward town. We were all jacked up but only Bruce was drinking. He said the rest of us were too young for alcholic beverages and we needed to wait. As we got into town Bruce backed the car up to the back of the city jail. We could see lights on inside but we didnt know if the Chief was in or out. We knew we didnt want any run ins with the laws.
We all got out. Bruce threw Andy over his shoulder like Santa and Allen giggled and pooped real loud. That made me laugh and Bruce said hush up. We went over to the cell window. Allen got down on all 4s and I stood on his back to see if I could see Pa. I looked through the bars and it was hard to see. The window were yellow and hadnt been cleaned in a long time. I put my face real close and I seen Pa in the cel. He looked tired but he was awake. He was playing “Go Down Moses” on his harmonica.
I told Bruce that I seen Pa. Bruce told me to tap on the window 3 times wait 3 seconds and tape 2 more times. This was a signal Bruce and Pa had worked out years earlier. Anyway, I taped 3 times waited 3 seconds and then taped 2 more times. When I did that, Pa sat up real quick like. He looked around to see if there were any cops around. There werent. Pa came over to the window and grabbed the bars and pulled himself up. We were face to face. Pa had that glint in his eye. His thick brown hair was wild as ever. He smiled at me and said, ” What took you pinheads so long?”
I laughed and told him, ” Sorry Pa”. He got down and I saw him move away from the window and cover up with a mattress. This wasnt going to be Pa’s first jail break.
I hopped down. Allen dug a little hole underneath the window. I gave Bruce the dynamite. Bruce gave me Andy in the bag. Allen and I ( with Andy in the Bag) went over to behind the big rock. Bruce stuck the dynamite in the little dirt hole and I seen him light the fuse and high tail it to us. Just as Bruce got to us the dynamite exploded. We were showered with brick.from the jail wall. We all ran to the car, with me carrying Andy in that bag. We jumped in again with Bruce driving. Allen and I got in the back seat with Andy. Pa came out of a hole in the wall of the jail covered with dust. He ran over to us and jumped in the front seat. He was lauging so hard he could barely speak. He shouted at Bruce,
” Floor It Jimmy”.
Bruce floored it. He always was a good driver. We cut through town and went out the back way across the bridge. Andy popped his head out of the bag as we zipped along. Pa told Bruce to drive by the Piggly Wiggly. Bruce cut across Delbert steet and took a left on Delicado. There we were right in front of the Piggly. The store was closed. Pa said , ” By God its Thanksgiving. Wait here”. With that he jumped out of the front seat and ran up to the store. Pa, who was tremendously strong, picked up one of the trash cans and threw it through the store window. There was a huge crash but no alarm. Pa jumped through the window into the dark store. We didnt know what the hell he was doing. We waited and Bruce took a slug out of a bottle. Then we saw Pa coming out just as he went in.
Pa’s hands were full. He had 2 pre-cooked Turkeys( he knew Ma wouldnt wanna cook) and 3 pies. Pa jumped in the car and We sped off into the night. We dropped the car off at old Man Johnson’s and got home in time for sun up.
That Thanksgiving we were all there and had a joyous time as Pa carved the pre-cooked Turkeys. We ate till our stomachs were full. Pa let me and Allen have our first drink of Jack Daniels that night on account of us getting him out of jail.