No Earthly Good

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At dinnertime we talked about Charlie. He was somethin’ else. People always said that he was of no earthly good, but Charlie showed us all.

Daddy shook his head, and as he cut his meat, he said, “You believe that about Charlie?” No one answered; sister started to cry.

I grew up with Charlie. He was the first boy that I ever did kiss. Him, brother, and I would go swimming down to the swimming hole in the summertime. I think sister was sweet on him, but she never said nothing ’bout it ’cause momma always said Charlie was a bad sort.

Charlie’s people came from back up in the hills. He never wore store-bought clothes and his hair was always a mite too long. But his smile . . . his smile . . . would brighten anyone’s day.

Charlie died today.

He was down to the highway, walking along the side. As he passed the Gentry house, the baby came out of the yard and walked onto the highway just as the car came out of nowhere. It was moving fast. Charlie only had time to jump in front of it and push the baby to safety.

Sister still cries.

Now no one says that Charlie was of no earthly good.

Andrew Joyce’s Molly Lee

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