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Bub and family - Sing With Me If It's Just For Today...
If I should fall behind, Guyster, wait for me.
guysterrules
guysterrules
Bub and family
At first, we were going to meet on the day I arrived but his girlfriend’s parents were coming in for the holiday, and well, things probably got complicated. We agreed that on Friday I’d come by on my way to get my tattoo in Mattoon. He told me to meet out by the gas pumps of the Wal-Mart. I sat there, smoking, anxious to see Bub again after all these years.

I only met him once, a decade ago when Billy and I drove through town on our way back to Los Angeles from our year in New York City. He was a good six or seven inches taller than Billy, husky and redheaded. They couldn’t have looked less alike but as I was sitting in my car at the Wal-Mart, I knew I’d be on the lookout for some kind of familiarity.

I saw him drive up, waved a wave of Here I am, and hopped out of the car. We hugged right there at Sam Walton’s place. He told me to follow him back to his home, that it wasn’t very far. We walked through the screen porch. Bub opened the door to three barking bundles of energy, each jumping for Bub’s attention or mine or probably anyone else who would’ve walked through the door at that moment.

Bub got right to the point. “I wanted to tell you why I didn’t come out to California for the funeral. Karen just had her hysterectomy and I just couldn’t leave her.”

“That’s okay, Bub. No one was thinking bad about you. We were all just in a state of shock. We did the best we could.”

“I just wanted to let you know…” his voice trailed off. I was looking at the teddy bear collection his girlfriend, Karen, had around the place, and I thought of how much Billy liked teddy bears. I turned back to look at him. The nose and eyes were different but there were the unmistakable Ledbetter cheeks and chin. His skin was Billy’s, as well, white skin that was blushed all over.

“You know Billy loved you very much, Bub. Sure he told me some stuff you guys got into as kids but he never spoke bad about you. He loved you.” I choked out the last sentence, my throat tightening.

He told me about Karen, how she saved his life, made him a better man. I told him that’s how I felt about Billy. We sat for a moment, letting it all sink in, then made plans to meet for dinner.

“I really want you to meet Karen.“ He walked me out to me car, we hugged again, and I drove to get my tattoo, an incomplete journey.

Later, the whole family gathered at Effingham’s Mexican restaurant, El Rancherito. We sat at a long table, eating southern Illinois’ version of Mexican food. Dixie took some pictures with her new cell phone, shots of me with this amazing family that has adopted me as one of their own. There were brothers and sister and nieces and nephews and grand nephews that I never would’ve had had it not been for Bill Ledbetter.

I am, indeed, a lucky man.



bubandme

Bub and me, one degree away.


dixiegarrettbub

Dixie, Garrett (Amie’s son), and Bub


karenme

Karen and me


bubmechris

Bub, me, and Billy’s super smart nephew, Chris.


megarrettbrandon

Me with gifted Garrett and brainiac Brandon, Chris and Becky’s oldest.
11 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
ubermunkey From: ubermunkey Date: November 29th, 2004 06:17 am (UTC) (Link)
very sweet,

i am glad you were with loved ones for the holiday.

be well
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: November 29th, 2004 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad you were with a loved one, too, Connor.
brianrdu From: brianrdu Date: November 29th, 2004 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)
It's soooo nice to see you smile, you just don't know!
cricketshay From: cricketshay Date: November 29th, 2004 08:08 am (UTC) (Link)
You are loved by many T. I worry about you at times(strange since we never met but I'm a chronic worrier so it's not surprising) I'll echo another comment, it is nice to see you smiling. That sucks about the tat though. Maybe you can find someone else to do it.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: November 29th, 2004 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's my red carpet smile, the Oh, someone's taking my picture smile. But this time, it was genuine.
clintswan From: clintswan Date: November 29th, 2004 08:29 am (UTC) (Link)

glad you had family to spend time with this holiday
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: November 29th, 2004 06:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you kindly, Clint. I hope you had a terrific holiday, as well.
grrtigger From: grrtigger Date: November 29th, 2004 09:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Looks like a successful holiday weekend! Congrats :)
quuf From: quuf Date: November 29th, 2004 09:38 am (UTC) (Link)
my tattoo in Mattoon

Poetry, that.

Glad you had a good time, T.
thafuzz From: thafuzz Date: November 29th, 2004 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
So very sweet.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: November 29th, 2004 06:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Although no one seemed to have the culinary skills you do, it was the company that counted.

Thank you, Mr. Fuzz.
11 comments or Leave a comment