A WHILE BACK MY WIFE'S FIRST COUSIN (once removed), Bobo Herring, came down from Traphill up in Wilkes County to visit his eldest son. Willy Bob, who now goes by William, is attending the University of North Carolina on a Morehead Scholarship. This is what Bobo told the folks back in Wilkes when he got home from his visit.
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The first thing Will-ee-um tolt me after I showed up down thar on that lil’ Chapel Hill was next see-mester he was a-goin' to "study a broad." I tolt him he shouldn't oughta talk that a-way about the ladies and he oughter be keepin' his eyes to hisself. Will-ee-um said he didn't mean it like that. He meant he was goin' to a furr'en country to study "another language and culture."
Seems to me Chapel Hill oughta be about another enough. And I sure couldn't rightly see why anyone would want to go to a furr'en country where they speak a language cain't no one understand. Besides, when that boy talks these days, I'd be lucky if I kin git one word of what he says. Will-ee-um says he got "diction" now. I'll be dog if'n I know what that’d be.
After meetin' what Will-ee-um said was one of his favorite perfessers, Dr. Klinegarden, it's clear as corn likker Will-ee-um could talk worse. The perfesser talked so furr'en Will-ee-um had to trans-a-late fer us.
Will-ee-um said Dr. Klinegarden had a named chair in the English de-part-ment. I tolt Doc Klinegarden that that was real nice but back home I had a whole set a-rockers up on my porch -- but I didn't call 'em nothin'. Will-ee-um and him, they laughed and laughed. Why the fore, I do not know.
Then Will-ee-um said he was goin' to take me over to Felzer's field, where I was 'spectin' to see some cows or corn or somethin' worth the while, but it was another'n a-them sportin' contests Chapel Hillers are likin' so much. The field was akin to that'n I saw from that there Pope's Box over in Kingdom Stadium last fall but there wadn’t so many lines on it and these boys they weren't so big as them football young'uns.
When we got up closer, I could see they weren't no boys at'all. They was girls! I never seen the like of it. Them girls was runnin' all over the place in their skivvies, what like them tall young'uns was wearin' in that Dean's Dome last winter. Some of those gals was wearin' baby blue but other'n of 'em was wearin' skimpy outfits red as a devil suit. Will-ee-um said they was a pack of wolfs; and they sure did act like it, knockin’ them blue girls down ever chance they got.
Will-ee-um said it was football. I said it weren't. I seen a football match and this weren't it. Will-ee-um then said, real slow, it was fútbol, not football, and that's how they say it in Spain, where he says he's a-goin' to study a-broad. He said he was a-goin' to study Spanish which is what they talk in Spain and over at that Mex-ee-can restaurant we went to over in Boone once't.
On the field, them convicts was back, this time the only thing they was a-doin’ is a-blowin' their whistles and a-handin’ out lil’ red and yeller cards, sorta like them car sellers over in Hick’ry when you walk on their lot.
Anyway, them girls was runnin' back and forth and back again, like they was bein' chased by a whole nest of hornets -- but kickin' a head of cauliflow'r as they was a-goin'. Every now and agin, one of ‘em would smack that cauliflow’r with their forehead, just like Verne Thomasson did to Elmore Pritcherd's noggin when he got in a tussle with them Pritcherd boys over Lula Mae Alcott.
There was big scoop nets sittin' at both ends of that field. (Them scoop net were like you'd use to get minners at Lineberger's Store when you're a-goin' up to Macedony Pond fishin' 'ceptin' way bigger.) It seemed kinda like most of 'em fútbol gals wanted to kick that cauliflow'r in one or the other of 'em nets, but they was two big gals standin’ right in 'em who'd have nothin' of it. They'd punch that cauliflow'r, and hit it and kick it back to the other end. Then they'd all start over again.
I never could fer the life of me figger what was the point to it. Nobody never did get a cauliflow'r in one of 'em nets.
After that convict blew his whistle one long last time, them girls lined up and shook hands as nice as can be. But I'm thinkin' if they're anything like Lula Mae Alcott, that won't be the end of nothin'.
Gary D. Gaddy never played fútbol with any girls.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday August 13, 2010.
Copyright 2010 Gary D. Gaddy