Saturday, July 10, 2010

Don’t Know Dew Ya

It's such a beautiful summer morning here on the back deck, my faithful black lab Suzy laying in the shade by my feet … always optimistic that I will get up and play.

But I don't – the coffee is just so good.

You can't forget beautiful days like this – temperature in the mid-seventies with a thread of coolness in the air.

And the smell of lilac wafting over the patio from the garden.

It makes you think back to beautiful summer days in the past.

I was nineteen in the late spring of 1981. I was a soccer play for the university, taking classes in a small Georgian village of Milledgeville. As rural a southern town as there was in the day. The buildings were all colonial style – likely there since the burning of Atlanta in the American Civil War.

I was fortunate at that time to be dating a very pretty girl who was a gymnast – and for a few months we kept company together. She was very southern, and I loved to listen to her special lilt in her drawl.

On one such beautiful summer's day Saturday morning, we went for a walk into town to find the local sporting goods store.

I forget now what it is that we were in need of, but it seemed pretty important at the time.

We thought we knew where the sporting goods store was. But as we walked up and down the main street, it became obvious we didn't have a clue where this place was.

A little boy came riding his bike down the street. I would say he was probably seven or eight years old. The bike was a rusted copper color – with a big banana seat and the handle bars and front wheel gave it that "chopper" look.

He was making motorcycle sounds with his mouth and making tire squealing sounds when he turned.

He was having a ball – all by his lonesome.

He noticed us, and as all little boys do when they see a pretty girl, he tried to pop a wheelie - to show off. But he lifted the front wheel too high, and his bike slipped right out from under him.

He landed on his butt. The bike rolled a good twenty feet further on its back wheel – hit the side brick of a storefront, and fell over on its side.

My girlfriend ran up to him, concerned as pretty girls are when little boys fall down. But the little boy would have none of it, and got to his feet and ran to his bike.

After we determined the little boy was alright, I asked him, "do you know where the sporting goods store is?"

No reply. The boy just looked at me.

My girlfriend bent down into that squatting position that pretty girls use when talking to little boys and asked in her sweetest southern drawl:

"Do you know where the sportin' good store is sweetheart", in that sing-song southern belle cadence - smiling at the little boy with her eyes.

The little boy simply looked at her – and then at me – and he said to me:

"don't know, dew ya!".

I shook my head and tried my hardest not to laugh.

The little boy had picked up his bike and straddled it to ride off.

I reached in my pocket and pulled out a dollar bill I had received as change for breakfast.

"What if I gave you a dollar, would you show us where the sporting good store is then?"

The little boy jammed his hand far down into his pocket of his very dirty blue jeans and pulled out his own dollar and held it up high for us both to see.

"I already gots one!" and he smiled at my pretty girlfriend and rode away.

I don't remember if we found that store that day or not. But that doesn't matter.

And the very pretty girl was not my girlfriend for long, as in University you know, you keep company with many people.

And I no longer live in Georgia, of course.

But thirty years later I still remember that little boy, his very country southern drawl, how much fun he was having and how embarrassed he was once his butt hit the cement. And his cute but indignant attitude he displayed afterwards.

I can still hear those two phrases quite clearly in my head.

"Don't know, dew ya!" and "I already gots one!" – as spoken in the country drawl of a little boy.

I wonder what ever happened to that little boy. Did he spend the dollar? What did he get? How many times later in that day did he crash that bike again.

What story did he tell his Ma and Pa when he got home? About the pretty girl who smiled at him, and the big ugly guy she was with?

Or were we completely forgotten once he rode away.

I loved most of the parts about living in the rural areas of Georgia. But as a University student, I didn't really appreciate it while it was there. I have used Google maps to go back and look at the main street of Milledgeville – but it, nor the campus of the University look anything as old and southern as it did back in 1981.

Is 1981 really so long ago?

I can still juggle a soccer ball on my feet – up to my knees – and catch it on the back of my neck. My little girls think it's so great. And they think I must have been the greatest soccer player in the world.

I don't exactly dissuade them from such a wonderful misconception either.

And every time somebody asks me – to this day – if I know where something or some place is – I look at them and smile and I say …

"Don't know, dew ya!"

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