Jess Marie…

I’m goin’ to Texas…,the old man said…,You comin’…,rolled over and looked at the clock…the red numbers showing 3:00 in the morning…he stood above me with suitcase in hand…an overcoat on…and a Swiss yodeling cap placed upon his head…he meant business…

What’s in Texas pop…,I yawned…rubbed my eyes…turned on the lamp next to the bed…,Got a woman down there…,he said…,She’s sweet on me…knew her in high school…been talkin’ to her on the computer…,dad held onto his bag tightly…pushed up his glasses and then pointed at me…

I need you to drive me down there…pronto…get dressed…,he turned to walk out of the room…like he was marching in R.O.T.C….,Be quick…wanna get on the road ‘fore the Sun comes up…,the old man said over his shoulder as he opened the bedroom door…,I’ll give you five minutes to dress and pack…

I put on my robe and walked out to the living room where I saw him standing at attention by the front door…,Pop…why don’t we get some more sleep and talk ’bout this in a couple of hours…,he placed his trembling hand on the door knob…

You comin’…,his voice raised…,I can drive without you…,somehow he had found the keys to the Ford that I hid from him onna daily basis…,he opened the screen…

Hold on now dad…,I said…,Let’s talk this thing through…,he kept walking out into the driveway…I followed…

Talk…talk…talk…,the old man said…,All you wanna do is talk…I got a woman waitin’ on me…Jess Marie…says she’ll make me feel like a man again…says she’ll take care of me…and she’s rich too…last husband was a millionaire…left her all kinds of cash…,he marched to the old Ford and unlocked the door…

Pop…,I yelled…,can’t let you do this…,You’re not the boss of me…,he shouted back…,I ran over to him…bare feet on the sharp gravel…

Let go of me…,Pop said as I wrestled the bunch of keys away from him…,God damn it let me go…,he demanded…then gave me a shove…

Dad…give me those keys…give ’em to me and I’ll drive you down there…,looked at me…breathing hard…,You promise…,he said…,Yeah…I promise…,told him…

He handed me the keys and marched over to the passenger door…,I’ll be waitin’ for ya’…make it quick…,ran back inside to get dressed…came out and he was still inside the old pickup truck…

Texas huh…,I said…he nodded his head…,Let me get out here on 69 and we’ll head south…motioned yes again…and let out a chuckle…,That was easy…,he said…had to laugh myself…

turned on the radio to a country station…Glenn Campbell singin’, By The Time I Get To Phoenix…we both sang along to it…then a Tammy Wynette song came on…we didn’t know the words…

Where we goin’…,the old man asked after driving a half hour…,Texas I said…,he looked puzzled…,Texas…,he whispered…,Why…,adjusted his Swiss mountain cap…,Said there was a woman down there waitin’ on ya’ pop…,he looked out into the darkness…the Sun just about to come up…,Oh…,he said under his breath…,What woman is that…,turned to me…,I told him Jess Marie…he looked confused…,there ain’t no Jess Marie…I don’t know no Jess Marie…,turned down the radio…Porter Wagoner was singin’…

Dad…you o.k. …,the light was beginning to shine…,Yeah…,he said…,Just don’t know why we’re goin’ to Texas…

I kept quiet for a minute…,Wanna go get some breakfast and then head back home…

I guess…ain’t nothin’ in Texas…ain’t no Jess Marie…

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