Rusty Miles never had a real identity. I was that “Little Miles” kid, youngest of “The three Rs,” Rita, Robert, and Russell. My parents were somewhat older than those of most of my friend’s.
When we moved to Izee, I wondered why Dad wouldn’t play baseball, like the other men in the logging camp. While other dads got together at the ball field, drank beer, played, and had lots of fun, my father would go off fishing, by himself.
Oh, I could go along with him, if I wanted too. But, Dad didn’t believe in talking much because it “Scares away the trout.” Anyway, it was more exciting to watch the younger men play baseball, after they got off work, and get into fights. Someone would cuss about being called: “Out!” The next thing you know, there would be fists flying everywhere.
Sometimes, their wives would get into it, too. Women are dirty fighters. They scratch, and pull hair. Maybe, even kick you someplace. That’s why Mom said we didn’t want to go. She went only one time. Just when the fighting and cussing got real good, Mom said: “Rusty, I’m glad your father isn’t here to see this. We’re going home! These people are just, plain, stupid. They drink up every dime they earn, and they don’t even have a pot to piss in!”
My Mom was right. While we Miles had indoor plumbing, most of our neighbors still used outhouses. “We are not going to learn to talk like this, Rusty. These people should wash their mouths out with soap, but they probably don’t even have any. If they do, they sure never use it!”
There was never conflict in our house. We had better sense than to fight among ourselves. We were a family. Mom saw to it.
“People in families stick up for one another. They defend each other and do what’s right.” As Mother often said, “Anyone, with a lick of good sense, should know that.”
A spectator but once, Mom didn’t like me to go to watch the baseball because of all of the fighting. I’d tell her, “It doesn’t happen much, anymore. All of my friends get to go!” Mother would sigh, sit down with Agatha Christi, tell me to “Be back before dark, and you walk home!” I was not to ride in a car with people who had been drinking, even if the driver’s own children did. It was a long walk home, from the ball field to the cookhouse, where we lived.
IZEE by Russ Miles © 2004