Cousin Rufus Remembers Ol' Jim


Dear Cousin Cletus,


Y’all probably are gettin’ ready for Thanksgivin’ this week. Ah’m goin’ to mah grandson’s to git a turkey leg, mashed taters an’ gravy, and pumpkin pie.


Cletus, Ah been sittin’ here thinkin’ o’ all the thangs we got to be thankful fer. Did you ever stop and consider yer blessins? Ah kin still chop mah own fahrwood. Ah has food on mah table and clothes and shoes, and decent covers on mah bed. Ah feel rich.


That makes me think o’ somethin’ that happened at the sawmill when we wuz just young bucks. Do you ‘member ol’ Jim Calhoon? He was one o’ the best workers at the mill. Kept to hisself a lot. Had a whole passel o’ kids—thirteen, Ah think—and lived in a shack so fer back in the holler they ‘bout had to pump in sunlight.


As I recall, Ernie Ledbetter shot a big ol’ deer the week o' Thanksgivin’ an’ wanted to share it with ever’body. So he brung it to work and passed out packages of meat to us all. Ever’body ‘cept Jim. The fellers thought it would be fun to play a joke on ol’, quiet Jim. So they wrapped up the tail and give it to him.


That’s when the strangest thang happened. Jim got all teary-eyed and started swallowin’ hard. None of us ever heerd him say more’n two words at a time, so we wuz surprised.


He said, “Ah just want to thank y’all for the Thanksgivin’ gift, fellers. You prob’ly noticed Ah don’t come ‘round much while yer eatin’ dinner. Ah’s ashamed ‘cause all Ah had wuz bread sandwiches, no meat ner nothin’. So Ah stayed away. And here y’all is givin’ me a package o’ meat to take home to mah wife ‘n kids. An’ Ah just want to say a great big thanks.”


Well, things really happened then! Otis Clark put his own package in Jim’s hand and said, “Here Jim, take mine too. We got us a deer already this year.” And most o’ the other fellers did the same. ‘For we knowed it, there stood Jim with a armload o’ meat.


It makes me think, Cletus, o’ how much the good Lord has blessed us. Ah may not have fancy food or clothes, but Ah’m happy and blessed. And ol’ Jim taught us a lesson that day. Count your blessins and treat your fellow man like he wuz your brother.


Y’all have a good Thanksgivin’.


Yore cuz,

Rufus


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