Saturday, February 4, 2012


For some reason, while walking the dog tonight, I thought about my childhood friend, Lloyd. (That's not his real name, but I chose it because I could do the same thing to it as I can do to his real name--pronounce it in Appalachian.) "Law-ed" or, more precisely "Law-ED" because Appalachian folks tend to accent the last syllable and go up on the end of a sentence. My name, for example, was "Gem-E". Like THAT....

Lloyd was a great kid. A bit shy, but not overly. Very smart, when you got him talking. A medium athlete, like most of us. A little smaller than average. But, in the end, he was the All Star, Super Hero kid of the kids I hung around with.

His mother taught third grade. I didn't have her as my teacher, but I knew, from going to Lloyd's house, that she thought the plural of you was 'you-ins'. But then, we all talked like that--Appalachian.

Nobody knew until it happened, but Lloyd's home-life was a nightmare. Apparently, for all his life, Lloyd's father, who was a little fellow like him, physically abused Lloyd. I don't know if there was anything sexual in the abuse, but back then, back there, we wouldn't have known how to speak to each other about so abominable a thing.

Anyhow, Lloyd had a baby sister. Much younger than him--6 or 7 years or so--and Lloyd had warned his father, when we were in high school, if he ever touched Lloyd's sister he would kill him.

Apparently, looking back, the warning didn't take and at some point Lloyd's father abused Lloyd's sister.

So Lloyd took his daddy's shotgun and shot his daddy dead as hell. Just like that.

I was in college when it happened and missed the trial and the verdict. Lloyd spent some time in a prison in West Virginia for manslaughter, but his sister and his mother were liberated from the abuse none of us knew about. I'm sure Lloyd thought it was a good deal--a little time in prison for freeing his family from a monster.

I don't know why I thought of Lloyd as I was walking the dog. I haven't thought of him in years. And the thing is, I grew up in such a calm, loving family that I can't imagine (and don't want to imagine) what Lloyd's childhood was like.

But I know this: Lloyd is one of my real-life heroes and I hope and pray he's alright these days.

Had I been in his shoes and his genes, I hope I'd have had his courage and his outrage. Really. No kidding.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.