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Some Kids

You just never know

By Grant WhitehurstPublished 3 years ago 4 min read
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Some Kids
Photo by Séan Gorman on Unsplash

Jimmy was a child with some anger issues and other behavioural problems. In the first grade, I remember him being the only kid in class that threw tantrums and beat on his desk with his fists. The teachers pretended not to notice. If he ever caught us snickering at his fits, he’d laugh and beat on the desk harder, reveling in the attention.

Jimmy was my best friend. His mother was known to have a few drinks too many and pass out in her car from time to time. His step father was hard on him and his little brother. He may have been abusive to them at times. But he kept their bicycles repaired and in good condition. One time Jimmy showed his appreciation by working on and destroying his stepfather’s lawnmower. Kids will be kids.

Our nearest neighbors warned me to stay away from him. They said he and his family were nothing but trouble. But my parents never told me not to hang out with him, so I hung out with him. During summer break, we were almost always riding our bikes all over the rural county we called home. For seven year old kids, we got around.

I often marveled at how Jimmy knew where the kids on the other side of the county lived. A couple of those kids bullied us in the first grade. When we paid them a visit that summer, they were amazed at how far we were allowed to ride our bicycles. The next year in second grade, we didn’t get bullied.

Jimmy was prone to getting in trouble, but not when he was with me. I had a stabilizing effect on him. Even so, we often ventured into dangerous places like old abandoned homesites. They often had abandoned wells which we would peer down into. One such well was extremely deep. We never imagined the danger of getting too close and falling in. I once heard a teacher describe that sort of behavior as “blind courage.”

At that age, neither of us could swim, but we often played around Potato Creek and a dammed up pond. We waded in the cool water of the lake. We often went to the other side of the dam and played in the creek. But we were both warned to never get around and play in any bodies of water. We were careful to never get caught.

Jimmy would steal. He stole from his Mom and Dad. He stole money and things. For my birthday one summer, he gave me a box with a pocket knife, a working flashlight, and other odds and ends and two quarters. When Mom and Dad saw the box of treasures, they knew they were ill-gotten, but they said nothing about it.

For all his faults, Jimmy was a generous and caring boy. He always liked to stop and talk to an elderly neighbor whose name I’ve forgotten. The old man was a widower and he enjoyed our visits. He always had lemonade. Jimmy always brought him a candy bar, usually a Payday or a Zero. These he stole from a little country store.

At the start of my third grade year, Jimmy and I were pretty popular with the other students in class. They now knew us as the kids that could ride their bikes anywhere and get away with it. But a month after the beginning of that school year, my family packed up and moved back to Griffin.

I only saw Jimmy a couple of times after the move. When my little brother who was a year younger than me was tragically struck and killed by a car when he crossed a busy city street, he and his family came to visit us. A couple of years later he came again and we spent the day riding around Griffin on our bikes. After that, I never saw him again.

At the age of thirteen, we read in the newspaper that Jimmy had drowned at Dukes Pond. Like me, he had a little brother that was a year younger than him and another little brother that was about five years younger.

The article in the paper reported that the three boys were wading in the pond in the shallow end. Jimmy’s little brother Bob was a year younger and stepped out too far and went under. None of the boys could swim. Jimmy reached out to help Bob as he struggled. When he grasped Bob’s hand, Bob pulled Jimmy to get out of the deep. Jimmy was pulled into the deep and Bob found himself safe in the shallow, but he was exhausted and recovering from his battle with the water.

Gene, the baby of the three, was crying. When Bob got his breath, he asked Gene what was wrong. Gene pointed at the deep and said, “Jimmy’s gone.” Divers found him later that day.

I found out many years afterwards that the parents were both from families that never learned to swim. They both told me about siblings of theirs that drowned in about the same fashion that Jimmy had drowned. I was fortunate. I learned to swim when I was ten years old.

Many adults in the rural area disliked Jimmy and his family, but I knew that the family was a good family and that his parents tried their best. I also know that even though he couldn’t swim, he didn’t let that stop him from extending his hand to his little brother and sacrificing his life to save him.

grief
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About the Creator

Grant Whitehurst

61 years on planet Earth

Graduate of Mercer University

Served my country. Showed a willingness to die for it. U.S Army

I study the paranormal, UFO’s and aliens, cryptids

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