One Night with Pappy
In the heat of a Kansas summer in the year nineteen seventy,
Only ten-years old when Grandpa and I went on our crime spree,
To get me away from Denver and out of trouble and any harm,
Mom would send me every summer to grandpas and grandmas farm.
Dighton, Kansas in Lane County was hot and dusty that year,
Grandpa Dale “Pappy” Patton in his bibs liked his schnapps and his beer.
Friday night went to town in Grandpas old Dodge truck with a few dents,
So he could drink and play cards with some of the local farmer gents.
Drinking bottle Pepsi and three plays for a quarter on the pinball machine,
I was in hog heaven as a young lad of ten if you know what I mean.
The hours got longer as my Grandpas card game saw no end in sight,
It was about midnight when two tipsy farmers stood up to fight.
A lot of pushing and shoving as my Grandpa sat at the table drinking his beer,
Finally, he had enough and stood up as if he had nothing to fear.
He talked some sense into those hothead farmers before there was a brawl,
Grandpa Pappy put an end to the pushing and shoving like nothing at all,
Swelling with pride for my Grandpa when the phone rang on the pool hall wall,
It was for Grandpa and he was a little perturbed – Grandma was making the call.
Grandpa was silent as he answered the call almost like his gonads had been cut,
Grandpa “Pappy” Patton seemed to have lost some of his swagger and strut.
Grandma Francis had decided it was time for us to leave and bid farewell,
Grandpa mumbled if we didn’t leave now she make our lives a living Hell.
Now in this tale, it should be told that Grandpa had more than a few drinks,
He decided I should make the drive to the farm as he set back for forty winks.
Full of bottled Pepsi and excited as Grandpa gave me the keys to the pickup,
I was only ten-years old, but I knew this was the time in my life to Cowboy Up!
Even at ten I was not new at this and have driven back on the farm,
Grandpa tilted his head back and closed his eyes with nary any alarm.
Two blocks away from the pool hall the Dighton cop lit up his lights,
Grandpa sat up and said, “Kurt step on the gas and get out of sight.”
I smoked the wheels down an alley that Grandpa pointed to,
As we made a run in town from the law and the man in blue.
Grandpa had a shit eating grin as we ran from the law, I was scared to death,
Grandpa directing me down this alley and that – I could hardly catch my breath.
Too young and inexperienced for the man in blue wearing the tin star,
Grandpa said, “Kurt, we got to give up, it seems we can’t outrun that police car.”
That policeman looked at me not even old enough to have any pubic hair,
Then he saw Grandpa and shook his head and said, “What a damn pair!”
The lawman knew my Grandpa and said, “Pappy, what the hell are you doing?”
Grandpa smiled, “Teaching my grandson to drive while you were pursuing!”
Mr. Law knew my Grandpa was not fit to drive and was drunk as a skunk,
He pointed at me, “Get Pappy home, son – you can drive as long as YOU are not drunk!”
Smiling, I shifted into 2nd gear, and then slowly pulled out with a hidden smirk,
My Grandpa Dale “Pappy” Patton was one of a kind and a real piece of work.
Almost fifty years since Grandpa and me – that night from the law we ran,
Pappy passed many years ago, but make no mistake – I loved that old man.
Kurt James © 2018
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