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That Fellow Dessy & The Martin Point by Gary D. Crawford

That Fellow Dessy You never know who’s going to walk into your bookstore, do you? Usually it’s someone you’ve never laid eyes on before; occasionally it’s an acquaintance you haven’t seen for years; sometimes one of the regulars drops by. The other day it was one of the regulars, a spry gent who likes to challenge things I’ve said or written, or to ask me questions. To protect the guilty, we’ll just call him Mr. Frazer. The other day Frazer burst through the front door with a flourish (as he always does) and stepped over to my desk where I was working quietly on the computer. Fortunately this happened during one of those (brief) moments between the waves of customers who so often plague us down at the end of Bay Hundred. (But, hey, we’re directly over the center of the earth!) “Who is Fello Dessy?” he demanded. “What fellow are you talking about?” I replied, buying time as I was unprepared for this query. “Not fellow. Fello. Fello dessy.” “Um, how do you spell it?” “F-e-l-o, d-e, s-e. Fello dessy.” Thinking quickly, I engaged my razor-sharp intellect and said,

“Huh?” He glared. “Look. I was reading about a court case where the big question the jury was trying to decide was whether some guy was a fello dessy. I just don’t know what a fello dessy is.” “Ah,” I said, “a court case. So, maybe this is Latin? What were you reading?” Frazer grinned impishly and said, “It’s right in here,” he announced, taking an enormous tome out of his bag and dropping it onto the counter. It was one of those big volumes of the Maryland Archives. This one contained transcripts of court cases from the 1670s. “So you just happened to be browsing through this and..?” “Yep,” he replied with a twinkle, “and I stumbled on this fello dessy question. Figured you might know.” Now, I know this guy Frazer pretty well. He is up in his 80s now, but still sharp as a tack, as he’s always been. So when he asks me questions, I sometimes have the sneaking suspicion he’s hoping he’ll stump me. I try, therefore, not to be stumped ~ or at least I pretend I’m not. But this question about “felo dese” had me perplexed. I read the


July 2013 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times July 2013

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