Meanwhile my sisters were busy hoeing the bean fields with my grandfather. The house was so quiet that the only noise I could hear was the occasional rattle of dishes as Auntie Rue and my grandmother prepared supper. My friend, Beatle Bailey, came by to visit me. He said that as soon as I was feeling up to it he would take me spear fishing for catfish. I told him I was game. Beatle's visit always lifted my spirits during my convalescing period. Auntie Rue even had to bathe me as I couldn't do it for myself.
Another way I occupied my time was sneaking some of uncle Rufus' comic books to read. I knew that if he caught me he would kick the shit out of me. Often I would fantasize as I became engrossed in Rufus' comic books. I pretended I was actually one of the heroic characters in the story. I would be the hero out to annihilate the villains. I soon became bored with the comic books and was becoming claustrophobic. I was anxious to get out of the house and go spear fishing with Beatle but my convalescence just seemed to drag on.
Jay Dee Ruybal
I was no longer experiencing pain in my foot, only a mild soreness, so I thought I would try walking on it. At first, my steps were awkward and my legs felt like Jello. Finally I was well enough to eat dinner at the table with my family. Even uncle Rufus stopped by to eat dinner with us. He was behaving a bit more civilized than he had in the past. Unfortunately, beneath this quasi civilized exterior lay the mean spirited SOB that we were only too familiar with.
I was finally able to walk without the aid of crutches which meant I would soon be going back to work at the dairy - that is, if I hadn't lost my job already. To my enormous relief, because of my tenacity for work, my employers at the dairy gave me my job back. I know the pay was nothing more than pocket change, but I liked having pocket change because it enabled me to buy little extra things like cokes and candy bars at Barrs Market.
The day finally came when I was able to leave the house. I got permission from my grandmother to visit Beatle Bailey. My foot wasn't yet 100% and I limped but I didn't care as I made my way across the field to Bailey's house. After two weeks of confine-ment, the breeze on my face felt great. I decided to walk across the culvert which was the length of the canal. Instead of walking over the bridge, I walked halfway across. Suddenly I lost my balance and fell into the canal with a big splash. I managed to climb out of the water as Auntie Rue came by. Before I knew it, she was asking if I was all right and chastising me for being so foolish. I was soaking wet and I began to shiver. Auntie Rue grabbed me by the ear and walked me home. I didn't utter a word of protest because I knew she was right.
When my grandfather heard what I had done, he asked, "Jesse, didn't you learn anything from your recent accident? This time you could've drowned." The water in the canal was higher than usual and all I could remember was hitting the water. My grandmother was so upset with me that she tore into me too. I was
really feeling bad! I went to my room, changed into dry cloths, and lay down on my bed where I fell asleep.
The following morning I was up at 4:30 in the morning. It was still dark as Gickson and I made our way to the dairy on this crisp morning. When I walked into the dairy, I found my friends were already busy making the cheese. They were in their white uniforms stirring the milk with a huge wooden paddle. When they saw me they looked up, smiled at me, and asked how I was feeling. I told them I was feeling a bit sore but, other than that, I was fine. I could see that the place needed a really good cleaning. I said, "Don't worry, I'll give the place a good sweeping.&rd