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  • When I was about five years old (1955), my mother and I lived with her parents (my grandparents, of course) on a small country farm not too far from a major military base in North Carolina. On a beautiful Spring morning, I strolled out into the back yard carrying a small, but heavy, thick-glass bottle of ice-cold Coca-Cola. I looked up into a deep blue cloudless sky and spotted a silver jet fighter, high above, tracing its white, smoky contrail across the sky. I had the nearly empty Coca-Cola bottle in my right hand and felt the sudden urge to hit the smoky contrail with the bottle. I took a long, wide swing of my right arm and threw the bottle as high as I could. I watched it tumble a couple of times before it came rushing down onto the top of my head. I was totally taken aback and filled with disappointment and embarrassment. I started crying and my Grandmother appeared at the kitchen door carrying a can of lard and a curious smile on her face. She called me over to her and put her arms around me and asked me what happened. I didn’t want to admit that I had tried to down a military jet, so I just said, “I don’t know what happened. There was this bug…” She looked up at the jets with their contrails passing high overhead and pressed a finger against my lips, scooped up a glob of lard and began to massage the lard onto the bump that was growing on my noggin. I heard my grandfather walk up behind us and my grandmother said, “Somethin’ ain’t right about this boy!” and my Grandaddy laughed and gave me a big hug. “Oh, he’s just an ambitious little feller, I suspect.”
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