Excerpt from Book
everyone else is out in the cotton fields working, my mother-in-law says,
"If Ernest ever slaps you, donít hit 'im back." I say, "I
ainít letting nobody hit me and get away with it." And then she begs
me, almost in tears, "Please, Camilla, if he slaps you, promise me you
wonít hit 'im back. He might hurt you. Ernest canít control his temper."
finally promise her I wonít slap him back if he slaps me, but in my mind
Iím thinking, He just better notÖthatís all.
and Camilla havenít been in New Mexico long when right after Camilla
finishes cleaning the kitchen floor, and it is all spic and span, Ernest comes
in for breakfast and takes a sip of coffee. But the coffee is hot, and it
scorches his tongueÖand he spits it out on the nice clean floor.
holler, "Donít spit on the clean floor!" And suddenly his blue
eyes flame up, and he reaches over and slaps me.
is in my lap, so I start to put him down and slap Ernest back, but then I
remember my promise to my mother-in-lawÖand so I donít. But I canít keep
from crying. And my crying affects him. A look of shame comes over his
faceÖand he falls down on his knees, crying and begging me to forgive him.
And I doÖreluctantly.Ē
is a month or so after this when Camilla, with Doyle and Bonnie, comes in from
the cotton patch to fix lunch. Iím setting the table when Ernest comes in.
And I can see heís angry. And I suspect it has something to do with the
problems he and his dad are having with the farm. I donít recall what I do
or say to him, but Ernest blue eyes again flame upÖand he reaches over and
slaps me again.
I do nothing.
But this time little Doyle, now old enough to notice stuff going on around him, frowns up at his papa, sticks his little chest out, and says, "When I get big Iím gonna get you for doing that!" And it makes Ernest so ashamed of hisself he falls down on his knees and goes to crying and begging both of us to forgive him. And this is the very last time Ernest ever slaps me.Ē
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"Just a Passin' Thru'"
is 214 pages
like Ernest Parnell make the whole world better, somehow, just by being among
us. What they do may not be important, or it may be very important. It
doesnít matter what they do. It is what they are that matters.
This is the website of Bob Hinkle.
Revised December 2011.
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