The Flowering Vine: Run Boy Run!

run-boy-run-1

Run Boy Run

(A song by)

Yoann Lemoine

Run boy run! This world is not made for you

Run boy run! They’re trying to catch you

Run boy run! Running is, a victory

Run boy run! Beauty lays behind the hills

Run boy run! The sun will be guiding you

Run boy run! They’re dying to stop you

Run boy run! This race is a prophecy

Run boy run! Break out from society

Tomorrow is another day

And you won’t have to hide away

You’ll be a man, boy!

But for now, it’s time to run, it’s time to run!

Run boy run! This ride is a journey to

Run boy run! The secret inside of you

Run boy run! This race is a prophecy

Run boy run! And disappear in the trees

Tomorrow is another day

And you won’t have to hide away

You’ll be a man, boy!

But for now, it’s time to run, it’s time to run!

Tomorrow is another day

And when the night fades away

You’ll be a man, boy!

But for now, it’s time to run, it’s time to run!

In youth, I ran like a gazelle. I first became aware of that “fact”, in the seventh grade. At that time, junior high school—of which seventh grade was a part—was on the same campus as the high school. The school was only a block from my home so, of course, I walked to and from school.

It was upon entering this phase of my education, that my very best friend—Curtis—turned on me. I didn’t know why it happened then and I don’t know now; maybe it was part of the “adolescent developmental stage”—children do get a bit rowdy at that age.

Whatever the cause, he did it. He turned on me—his best friend. We’d been besties since first grade. He even called my grandma—who was a teacher at our elementary school—Granny! We were brothers; tighter than panty hose two sizes small, but that year, something changed.

Curtis teamed up with two known bullies, and for most of that school year, joined them in chasing me every day, after school. Each day, the school bell signaling the end of the school day, was for me, analogous to the firing of a starter pistol. Upon hearing it, I ran like a gazelle: out of the classroom; through the hallways leading to the outside world and down the hill, on top of which, the school campus stood.

Once I hit the pavement of that downhill street, I knew I was home free, for I ran like a gazelle! Through the path that led behind the little church on the street below I flew, then another twenty or so yards, and I was home free. I never looked back to see if the boys were closing the distance. I knew they weren’t. I knew, and they learned, that to continue the chase, would be futile because, I ran like a gazelle. No shit!

However, one dreadful day, they got me. I didn’t say they caught me; no, they were never able to do that! I said they GOT me. They intercepted me. As I headed down behind the church, a big bully named Leaker stood in the path. One of the boys—it could have been Curtis, I don’t know—yelled out, “Leaker, stop him!”. Leaker stuck out a big yellow arm—just as I was about to streak past—and stopped me cold; knocking the breath—the very life, it seemed—right out of my body.

I laid there on the ground, dazed and confused; looking up into the blue sky—into heaven. I saw the heads and shoulders of Curtis and the bullies, forming a circle around me; no angels in this heaven. They grabbed me by my leg and dragged me, like a rag doll, back up the hill and proceeded to kick my ass. “Finally”, I thought, “the end has come”.

In spite of the beating I took that day, I lived. Curtis and I became best friends again in the eighth grade. I knocked one of the bullies silly when, at a later date, he tried to bully me on his own. I was threatened by another of the bullies, Andy, after I’d reported him for throwing pecan shells at the other students, but the sight of my Dad’s “Hawk Bill”, changed his mind.  I continued to run like a gazelle, but as a member of the track team; earning 3 letters and a trophy, before my high school education was completed.

Granddaddy Leroy knew exactly why the children at his school turned their ire against him. He was too White.  They let him know every day, with heatedly hurled epithets. “Hey White Boy”, would have been the gentler and most benign of their loathsome lexicon. I can imagine that they called him “Cracker”. I can imagine that they might have called him “Milkman”, “Flour bag”, or “Pale-face”.

They teased him because his father was White. They teased him because his complexion was lighter than theirs. Maybe they called him “Massuh’s Nigger”, “Massuh’s boy” or “Po-Bucker”. It’s impudently ironic that they would have been abjectly averse to being called “Nigger” or “Coon”, by Whites. But they were just children. Children can be ignorant! Children can be mean!

However, things could have been exponentially worse, if not for the actions of the benevolent teacher who oversaw the school. Each day, she’d let little Leroy leave earlier than the other children, so he could avoid their malicious onslaught. He would then run as fast as he could, until he was way ahead of the others.

I can relate to my Granddaddy’s torment; in kind, if not in the magnitude. I imagine that, when that teacher opened that door, Leroy ran like a gazelle; just like a gazelle I tell you!

24 thoughts on “The Flowering Vine: Run Boy Run!

  1. A very moving and poignant post Ron. Well done to you and your Granddaddy Leroy for resilience
    Children can be so hurtful; adults don’t set them a good example.
    In the wake of WWII it was very tough on fair-haired children (particularly if they were orphans) growing up in countries once occupied by the Germans.

    Like

  2. I have SO much trouble avoiding judgment about bullies and bullying I cannot leave an uplifting comment, so I will merely say, another GREAT post. Congrats for moving beyond their unreasoned, small-minded hatred and I am sorry that you had to – ANY of you.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What wonderful prose, Ron. The imagery that you invoked. I could imagine running like a gazelle to try and avoid getting beat up. I can also feel the sadness at being betrayed by a trusted friend. Very well written!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Yet another amazing piece, your family has so much talent telling stories, y’all need to get together and make a book, really, ya gotta do it. Mark my words, someday i will see it on the shelf in Barnes and Nobles (or most likely Amazon) and you will run to the top of the charts ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kim, I keep finding your comments to Ron in Spam! Ugghhhh!
      Don’t know why that is!
      I’ll continue to keep an eye out and thank you so much your wonderful encouragement and for reading our story.
      Always much love and light to you my friend 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Jet

    Ron, the approach you chose in composing Granddaddy Leroy’s story is incredible. In agreement with Gwin, to tell the story of your youth; in a different time, with different circumstances, yet so similar, gave life to his story. What amazes me is the likeness of Granddaddy Leroy’s youth to his children’s, even his grand’s decades later. I remember my walks from school and having to endure the same hurtful words being said to me. One in particular that was the most hurtful was ” Your granddaddy is a white man!” I cried each time this was said to me, until I was told that it was true. The truth brought about a new perspective.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Tareau Barron

    Run boy run! This race is a prophecy
    I would like to know what that means ? I’ve read this post 3 times now and I can’t decipher it.

    As for Curtis, you are a bigger man than I am. Lmfao, I still don’t talk to the bullies who used to punk me because I’m petty. Lmfao, naw honestly only one of the guys who used to punk me apologized. Great post

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Ron,

    Sorry to be so longwinded here, but you went so DEEP…..

    First, let me say that I am so happy that you gave us a piece of your “vine!” You never really talk much about your own experiences! I didn’t know that you were an award-winning track star!

    BTW, I LOVE the way you compare your experiences with those of Granddaddy.
    Both of you, lovely flowers on the vine; different places and different times.

    A masterstroke on your part! BEAUTIFUL!

    But you know what?
    I just can’t with Curtis!
    What a little opportunist.
    Some say, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” so I guess that was his tactic.

    Yet and still, I am so proud to see a member of ‘the vine’ decide to do something different–even if it meant he had to RUN!

    Guess what Leaker and Curtis? Y’all might have got him that day but y’all didn’t kill him!

    LOOK AT THAT BOY NOW!

    Ron, on a serious note, I shudder to think about what Granddaddy went through. You paint such a clear picture of how things most likely played out for him.

    As you well know, all of his children went through that same torture.

    Daddy does not like talking about his days in school; they are too painful.

    He doesn’t talk about how those older boys beat him, threw him in a trash can and set it on fire .. all because he was the little curly head boy that was too young to defend himself.
    Remember, he skipped grades so he was already 4 or 5 years younger than a lot of his classmates (many of whom had been retained.)

    Your mom, being so pretty, and the rest of our aunts and our uncle experienced all of that and more!

    Hey, but once Daddy came home from the Air Force, he had an ax to grind.

    He was 6 ‘2 by then and prepared to do battle! LOL!!!

    Love you cuz and thank you for another magnificent addition to “The Vine.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Cuz!!!!!! I love your commentary. You can NEVER be too long-winded with me. You know how WE roll! LOL. This story just took off. I was going to just mention my own experience with “bullying” to make that connection, but Granddaddy said, “Go on Ronnie, tell how you felt. THat’s how I felt too!”

      I think what happened to Uncle Jim is what happened to me also, genetics took over and BAM no more bullies.

      Funny how that happens. LOL

      Eric grew six inches in one summer. Talk about growth spurts. LOL

      Thanks again for your compliments Cuz and thanks for hosting us on your blog.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I really can hear Granddaddy saying that too! Probably with a deep and rich chuckle.
        Remember how he used to laugh even whenever he recalled old memories that weren’t so good?
        He was always in great spirits!
        “Go on Ronnie, tell how you feel…”
        I really can hear it now! LOL!!!
        Thanks for that!

        Liked by 2 people

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