Don’t tell me on Friday……. An essay by William Marshall

When we were young, Ginger and I had a great neighbor named Guy Harris.  He was a retired Army Master Sergeant.  He was a veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam War.  His last job in the Army was running the Commissary on Fort Bragg.  Because of this, we always knew when the best sales on green beans were.

He used to watch our place when we were gone.  You know, bring in the newspaper, grab the mail.  Feed the dog when we had one.  He was a great neighbor.  He always used to call me over to have a drink with him.  I didn’t drink much at the time but every once in a while, I would sit with him and have a beer.  He drank Lord Calvert Whiskey and almost every time I was with him he would take a sip and exclaim, “MAN, how to do they it make so good, and yet so cheap?!”  Then he would put a little paddle made of wood, over his glass.  He used it to keep the fly’s out.  He had every tool known to man in that shop of his.  He liked to walk me through it and show me things that he had built and tools that he collected.  He had more Philips screwdrivers than I have ever seen.

I will never forget being at my parents house in Florida.  We were on leave and down there for a weeklong vacation.  It was Sunday afternoon and my cell phone was ringing, it was Guy Harris.  I answered and said “Hi, is everything ok?”  He didn’t normally call.  He said, “Yeah, Will.  I was gonna ask you the same thing. Ya’ll ain’t around and I was beginning to worry.”  I said, “Well Guy, I came over before we left and we hung out and I told you about our plans.  I helped save my number into your new cell phone.  Aren’t you calling me on it?”  He said, “As a matter of fact yes, I did think it odd that your number was in here.”  Then he said, “Was this on Friday?”  I said, “Hmmm, yes, I guess it was.”  I’ll never forget his reply, “I’m sorry, don’t tell me nothing on Friday, that’s my drinking day.  See you when ya’ll get back!”  and he hung up.

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