Slowly, I raised myself from the wisteria. Propping briefly on my boney elbows. I stood to assess the damage. As usual, just a few abrasions on my back, but my self-esteem had taken a huge hit, again.
Mama Kate squirted the dirt off my back with the hose pipe, then attended my wounds. All the while, fussing about those mean ole Thacker boys! She was determined to fill their hyde with buckshot if she ever caught them. But I knew she didn’t mean that. It was very difficult to see me bullied that way. She begged my permission to call the Sargeant. But I pleaded with her not to do that. I have to learn how to deal with them on my own.
It became easier to fool the bullies as I grew older. But eventually, I let my guard down. Thackers, Cam and Devin, were fraternal twins. Cam, with orange-red hair, light complexion, and countless tiny freckles. Devin, hair as black as soot, and skin with a golden tone. Their build was identical. Compact and burly. Practically athletes straight out of the womb!
Their father, Gunnery Sergeant Max Thacker, was an instructor at Fort Union Military Academy in Virginia. The boys, along with their daddy, packed up to move from Fairston every September. Returning early June to spend summers there.
Fairston is a quaint little coastal town. Located among the scenic cliffs and shorelines of Mobile Bay.
Thackers were old money. The family mansion on fifteen acres with access to the coast. Left to their dad by his Aunt Bess Thacker. Bess was an old maid. His father’s only sister, a renown author.
My great, great granddaddy, Pehr moved to Fairston the year Mama Kate was born. He built the house with the sweat of his brow. A quite modest house on coveted coastal land. Hurricane Frederick came close to wiping it out in 1979. But the foundation endured and was built upon and expanded. When Mama Kate passed, the house and everything else she owned was left to me. A beautiful white house with wrap around porches. A long gravel drive nestled between a huge stand of mossy oaks. One of the oaks stretched over the sidewalk and seemed to longingly reach for the sea. About a block from our walkway, the city pier spans into the gulf.
Many afternoons were spent there fishing, just to feed the cranes. Two cranes that had gotten very used to my being there. They would eat the fish out of my hand. Feeling comfortable with me, they would stand on my lap whenever I sat on the bench enjoying the gulf breeze. I called them Orion and Rigel, from my fascination with astronomy. Orion, a constellation on the celestial equator is visible throughout the world. Orion’s brightest star, Rigel, is a blue supergiant with luminosity 100, 000 times brighter than the sun!
After Mama Kate died, I never saw them again. The evening of her death, I walked to the pier seeking solace. They were not there. Yet, after I was inked, I felt their presence in a most inexplicable and glorious way!