Unformatted text preview: ton. They juggled assignments and vacations, trying their best to make sure at least two or three of them were always with Miss Callie. Sam seldom left the house. He stayed in Lowtown to protect his mother, but also to keep his own profile low. Trooper Durant was still around, though he was married again and his two renegade sons had left the area. Sam spent hours on the porch, reading voraciously, playing checkers with Esau or whoever stopped by to help guard things for a while. He played backgammon with me until he figured out the strategy, then he insisted that we bet a dollar per game. Before long I owed him $50. Such blatant gambling was a deadly secret on Miss Callie's porch. A hasty reunion was put together for the week before July Fourth. Because my house had five empty bedrooms and a woeful lack of human activity, I insisted that it be filled with Ruffins. The family had grown considerably since I first met them in 1970. All but Sam were married, and there were twenty-one grandchildren. The total came to thirty-five Ruffins, not counting Sam, Callie, and Esau, and thirty-four made it to Clanton. Leon's wife had a sick father in Chicago. Of the thirty-four, twenty-three moved into the Hocutt House for a few days. They drifted in from different parts of the country, mostly up North, coming in shifts at all hours of the day, with each new arrival greeted with great ceremony. When Carlota and her husband and two small children arrived at 3 A.M. from Los Angeles, every light in the house came on and Bobby's wife, Bonnie, began cooking pancakes. Bonnie took over my kitchen, and three times a day I was sent to the grocery store with a list of things she urgently needed. I bought ice cream by the ton and the kids soon learned I would fetch it for them at any hour of the day. Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abclit.html Since my porches were long and wide and seldom used, the Ruffins gravitated toward them. Sam brought Miss Callie and Esau over late in the afternoons for serious visiting. She was desperate to get...
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- Spring '10
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