Jennifer Lewter and Jim Ledbetter, 1979.
Some things in this world are wrong. Lying feels wrong, cheating feels wrong, stealing feels wrong. Losing friends feels wrong. Not being able to see a friend in the hospital because his new wife is an evil _itch, is WRONG.
This is my Uncle Jim in our old front yard in Huntsville, Alabama. This picture was taken in 1979. That's me with Jim on his motorcycle, shortly after one of his cross-country drives from California. The little dog's name was Brownie, and she belonged to our neighbors across the street.
Uncle Jim isn't really my uncle, but I don't know what else to call him. He's known my parents longer than I have. They lived in the same apartment complex when my parents first got married in the 60's.
I remember visiting Jim's house in California when I was a little kid. (I was older than I was in this picture.) He had an apricot tree in his yard, and I couldn't stop eating the sweet little fruits. How did he get so lucky to have an apricot tree growing in his yard?! That is probably why California has always been a magical place to me. I was born there, two of my grandparents and Jim lived there, and California had the most wonderful flowers and fruits. Magical.
My family and I visited Jim in Arkansas many years later, when he decided to move back to his home state. He lived in Russellville, on a road near a large lake with huge, shady pine trees. I had no idea Arkansas was so pretty. I'd never been there before.
Jim told me I should come spend a summer with him and take some classes at the local college. At the time, I couldn't think of a good enough reason to do that. A few years later, that's exactly what I did. And then six years later, I returned to Jim's town to teach at that same college.
I am currently studying botany, and learning new plant things daily. I was a little amused to learn that Poison's famous rock ballad is all wrong....roses don't have thorns - they have prickles. A prickle is much smaller than a thorn, and it is made from a different part of the plant. Prickles can still hurt, of course, since they are designed to defend the plant. A thorn, however, has the potential to hurt a lot more...
Jim had a stroke last week and is currently in the hospital. He recognizes me, and can communicate well enough to ask me to come back to see him. But his new wife has opted to use her wifely powers to keep me from visiting him or talking to any of the medical staff about his progress. I saw her sitting next to him, a blond parasite with no respectable skills, like a huge Dodder plant in the flesh, colored all wrong and waiting to opportunistically wrap her creepy tendrils around my injured uncle.
I wish I had a truck-load of Roundup so I could set him free.