Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Strange Ending

(The Case of Hermon Hamilton Hunter - A Drunk!) 1978-79


Mr. Herman Hamilton Hunter, of Enterprise, Alabama, 1978, had waited until his wife had died, and his children had grown up and left home, before he started drinking again, thereafter! He had stopped drinking twenty-seven years prior to save his marriage and his job and to raise his two children. He had told his neighbor—Staff Sergeant Chick Evens that he had not gone to bars and lounges and grills of the same clubs but he knew someday he'd end up drinking again, that had he not wanted to save his marriage he would have went straight into long term drinking, long ago. In other words, he had been temporarily forced to stop, lest he lose his wife, kids and job. He had buried his wife a week to the day, which is today, Evens still standing in his yard talking to his neighbor; Evens a young soldier from Fort Rucker, Alabama, and a heavy drinker himself. The old man, Herman, his elbows are resting on the fence reflecting those old days he used to drink to get drunk and very drunk he got—or could remember, seemingly was floating throughout his cerebellum,  and wanting to implement the new one sooner than later; perhaps even half lit now.
       "I want to get drunk, real drunk," he told his Evens, explaining to him he was also a Staff Sergeant retired from the Army, but had always been from Alabama, and prior to the Army a farmer like his kin.   
       "All right," said Staff Sergeant Evens, “nothing is stopping you now I see,” jokingly.
       "Give me ten minutes and we'll go get drunk together," said Herman.   
       It was the hottest part of the afternoon “Tell me the bar you'll be at and I'll join you there,” continued Herman.
       Herman didn't move from the fence, he just dribbled from his lips:    
       "Sergeant. Look at me," he said in a rustic tone that the sergeant thrust his whole body up against the fence from where he had been standing, looking across the fence from him, "What is it?" said the Sergeant Evens, almost as if being annoyed.
       "I spoke to you in English, you didn't answer me!" said Mr. Hunter.
       "I don’t want to be part of your returning back to the booze, if you stopped it seems to me, you had something good going, plus I got school tonight, working on a degree at Troy State University!"
       "I'm sixty-five years old tomorrow," Said Mr. Hunter, tight-fistedly, adding to that, "I have just exactly the amount of money it will take to supply my drinking wants and pleasures until the dirt falls over my tomb, and when that occurs, I mean the tomb, of course-nothing will have happened to me in all my life, that I didn't want to happen to me but one thing, and that is having to stop drinking, I've been waiting for twenty-seven years to get drunk again; if there is any time left here on earth for me, it will be used for my drinking and I will leave only a drunken carcass to be buried, I will, like everyone else, Sergeant, be but a smudge or stain, left on someone's doorstep, forgotten before the door closes. Until now, my wife and children have hostilizad me to remain sober, or put another way, I had resigned to accept sobriety, but not anymore. Before I gave up drinking, I had enjoyed life, since then, a day has not passed, nor vanished from the recollection of me would hoping this day come back…"
       The Sergeant was quiet and he listened attentively, "Then get drunk," he said, "hell with the doctors and health, and all, you might live another year or two, and may your shadow never be taken away, but this I cannot do with you."
       "All right," said Mr. Hunter, “We understand each other, hope I can still grow my cucumbers in your backyard, I’ll give you one fourth of them, and you got a huge backyard!”
       "Of course,” said the Sergeant "there’s no hard feelings, this is where I bow out as far as drinking goes I got enough problems with my issues."
       It was nine month later the old man died, heart trouble, too much drinking; consequently, he made up for lost time, so it was said; and as far as I can see, he had surrendered, relinquished to the God of wine and booze, and opium, his life to escape this a life of sobriety one he had for per near a whole generation, or three decades, evidently he found nothing better; but he could surely grow some huge cucumbers, he had a green thumb.

No: 788 (3-31-2011) Reedited: 9-27-2016

Note: this story is also told, in a paragraph in the author’s book, “The Inside Passage,” on Alcoholism, 2002, and retold in paragraph form in the Spanish book, “Alcoholism, Curse of the Devil” to soon be released in September or October, of 2016. This story came out of the “The Inside Passage,” and restructured, in 2011, to form “a Strange Ending.”