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"The Day My Cousin Got What Was Coming To Him"

(This heart wrenching story comes from Will Campbell.)

When I was in the eighth grade I went to live with my aunt and uncle in 
Alabama. They possessed a son who was possessed. I never really 
liked him and I'm sure he felt the same about me. We tolerated each 
other...but eventually he grew to despise me. I think he was jealous 
because I had the good looks and was 'eat up' with talent. Yeah, that's it. 

We lived out in the country. We had what is known as well water to drink 
and cook with. Our well had a long cylindrical bucket that we lowered 
down with a rope and filled it with water and we'd pull it up and put it in a 
large bucket. The bucket was located on the back porch. It soon became 
a habit with me to get a drink from the bucket and hold the drinking 
dipper over the water bucket. My aunt and cousin did not like me doing 
this. I soon discovered that it was very pleasurable for me to irritate my 
cousin this way. This situation went on for quite a few weeks. 

One afternoon I was drinking 'over' the big bucket when my cousin 
sneaked up behind me and pushed my head down into the bucket. I 
sustained a small cut on my forehead. Well, naturally, I could not let him 
get away with this. A few days later, I was again drinking from the big 
bucket when I heard my cousin 'sneaking up' behind me to repeat his 
privious act of violence. I immediately swung around with the dipper and 
accidentally hit him in the head. Blood was all over the place. He started 
screaming and crying and ran to his mother.  Admittedly, I was worried. 
My aunt said a few things to me that caused me to worry more.  She 
emphasized that I was going to get a whipping when my uncle got home.  
Yipes! She played the "your uncle" card. 

My uncle worked as a mail clerk in a large distribution center. He worked 
all night long and came home at the break of day. I did not sleep a wink 
that night. Not a wink. Early the next morning my uncle pulled me out of 
bed and marched me out to his big red barn, where he was to perform 
surgery on my bottom. I was worried. I was extremely worried. Unknown 
to my uncle, his son had also come out to the barn to witness me getting 
a whipping. As my uncle was about to give me the first hit, my cousin 
made the mistake of laughing so loud that my uncle heard him. He 
stopped my beating and said to his son, "You think this is funny, huh?" 
"Come here, you little Hellion." "Get in here." My cousin reluctantly 
"entered the building." My uncle beat on him for about eleven minutes. I 
knew I was next...but it never happened. My uncle got so involved with the 
beating that he gave his son that he completely forgot about me. I never 
did get a whipping. My cousin got a busted head, and a beating. We 
walked back to the main house not saying a word. 

A few months later I came back to Orlando. My cousin eventually became 
a professional drunk. 


(Thanks, Will. You are the perfect guest. Jack) 

Copyright  July 6, 2007 by Will Campbell and host. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission.


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