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Telephone Pole Blues

The consistently revealed patterns of their life’s experience since the birth of their son William Rhys James had preconditioned them to just this sort of independent but simultaneous reaction. There was something about the urgency of wailing sirens in the dark skies of a New Castle night that called to mind shuddering visions of their reckless son Billy.

the intersection on a wobbly path until the engine finally stalled and the whole mess came to a crashing halt. Dick Ridenbaugh was once again pinned beneath 400 pounds of metal, but this time the motorcycle was mercifully silent and still. It was 9:05 p.m. when police and ambulance sirens could be heard across the east side, rushing to the scene of the accident. Two blocks farther east and two blocks north; less than a half mile as the crow flies, Cliff and Myrtle James heard the sirens from their living room chairs. Their quick glances collided across the top of his newspaper, then just as quickly drifted off at oblique angles. They said nothing. Nothing needed to be said. Cliff sighed heavily and rattled his paper. Myrtle, who seemed to be holding her breath, went back to her knitting. They had had the same thought at the same instant, and each recognized it in the other.

Myrtle rolled over in bed at 11:45 p.m. to confront the cause of the jangling noise. The anxious trill of the telephone had ripped her from deep sleep, instantly depositing her into the reeling darkness of a semiconscious struggle. Like a swimmer kicking toward the sur face, she fought upward through the murky depths of slumber as she reached for the receiver. She could only hope that the worst fears prompted by her maternal instincts were wrong, but with each passing millisecond, she knew she was not dreaming. Next to her, Cliff stirred and then moaned as he wearily propped himself up on one elbow. “Is Billy here?” “I don’t think so,” she whispered between rings of the phone. “Do you know where he is?” “No.” “I have a feeling we’re about to find out,” he mumbled “Hello,” she said into the receiver ... “Yes, yes it is.” ...“What?” ...“Oh dear.” ... “Are you sure?” ...“I see.” ...“Yes of course.” ... “What time is it now?” ... “Okay then, probably around


July 2015 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times july 2015