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Lura's family is a hoot.
And Thanksgivin' lived up
to all Sam's expectations.
The weather hadn't broke yet
so folks got to playin softball
out on the long front lawn,
Lee was pitchin'
and she was good at it too;
with a body like that,
makes it hard to keep an eye on the ball.
Wayne hit a foul into the high grass
out by the road
and while everybody was out there
tryin' to find it, Dewey drove up
and got out to help
hollered, "Found it!"
But when he straightened up,
instead of the ball,
he had a five foot rattlesnake in his hand.
A lot of stuff started happenin'
all at the same time',
mostly involved people findin' a new place to be
but Dewey was quick
and threw it across the road before it could strike.
Thank you Lord.
They found the ball
and finished the game
while the poor fella went on up to the house
and changed his pants.

After dinner,
all that turkey tryptophane went to work
and things settled down
to just an occasional snicker
while Dewey played with the washing machine.

Back at home Sam, Joe and the women
snuggled down in the treehouse
with some nut brown beer
to visit Rivendale with Frodo
and Gandalf.


The first three weeks after Thanksgiving
were really warm, sixty-five, seventy degrees,
so Sam thought he would try a bath in the crick.
Dove right into the pool he'd always used;
found out several things...
mountain water is colder
than mountain air;
some shades of blue
don't look good at Christmas;
and shrinkage like that can do serious damage
to a guy's self image.
Louise called Joe and Irene
and they laughed till they cried,
while she took him inside to cheer him up.
A little later, when things were back to normal,
Sam rolled over, looked her soft in the eye,
gave a wry smile,
said, "I knew what I was doin'..."


Sam got a bucket of feed in each hand
one for the hogs and one for the chickens
and began that early morning rite
walkin' slow through the fog
and the possibility of snow
in the thick quiet
broken by grunts and clucks
gathered the seven eggs he could find
picked them up gently in his hardened fingers
studied the perfect shape of each one
and laid them carefully in the bottom
of the dry bucket
looked at the haze in the trees
beginning to glow in the rising sun
breathed deep the moist, cold quiet,
shut his eyes and stretched,
tightened every muscle
as if to become this place
walked to the rock by the bluff
and sat down...
thought of the night he met Louise.
Wrote this Christmas present for her


I already knew you were there
before the tunnel cleared
and everything seemed
to dip itself in honey
so for a few seconds
I could see you
in that black dress,
or was it maroon
the color of old blood
how low it hung in silky rolls
across your breast
and teased my eye down
and back up to your eyes
looking at me
look at you



It was just a couple of weeks before Christmas
and Sam was at Stu's House of  Junk
lookin' for cool stuff
when he saw that ol' clawfoot tub for sale.
Reminded him of the time
he and Louise got stuck in the barrel
tryin' to take a bath together,
so his face lit up with that wry smile,
his eye twinkled, said. " that's it!"
Bought it for fifteen dollars,
loaded it up and hauled ass to Knoxville
so he could got it resurfaced.
Cost all most two hundred dollars,
said, "It's worth it."
And they could have it done in four days.
Sam smiled all the way back home.
A week later, he looked up the tree,
looked at that big ol' cast iron tub,
pulled on the corner of his moustache,
and sat down.
Two smokes later, Joe got home from work
took a look at the situation
and just shook his head.
With a jury rigged wood frame, the truck,
and the block and tackle,
it only took a day and a half to get the
whole thing up the tree.
The new tub takes a lot of floor space,
there, next to the heater,
but the potted trees and plants around the rest,
makes Sam light up a little.
Told Louise, "Sorry, Babe, ya can't come up
till Christmas, don't wanna spoil the surprise."


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