Tuesday, April 10, 2012

He Came in Through the Front Room Window …

An Excerpt from the Feb. 18, 1989, Interview with Sam P. Jones
by Bob and Betsy Jones
On File at the Lincoln Lawrence Franklin Library

(NOTE:           Back in the day, most everyone in Brookhaven didn’t lock their doors or windows. This episode most likely occurred in the late 1940s, early 1950s, at the landmark Scherck-Jones Home on S. Railroad Avenue.  Bob Jones included this story in his delightful book “Mississippi Gumbo.”

The following is Sam Jones’ own re-telling of the tale, in yet another playful indictment of his “no good” German Shepherd Mickey -- with a few minor edits on my part for clarity’s sake.)

Bob Jones:    I remember one person we knew came through the front window of your house.

Sam Jones:   Let’s don’t go into that here.

[female]:       As I recall, he crawled into bed with you and was irate the next morning, wanting to know what you were doing in his bed.

Sam Jones:    No, I had gone to bed that night. It was another rainy night, just a good night to stay home and go to bed and keep warm. And I woke up in the middle of the night with the feeling that somebody was in the room with me.

I could just feel it. Then I heard -- the bed kind of shook a little bit. I said, “There can’t be anybody here, but just to be sure, I’ll say something.” I said, “Who’s there?”

And I didn’t expect an answer, but an answer came back, “It’s me.”

[female]:       Who was the man?

Sam Jones:   Buddy Moreton. I still couldn’t believe it -- that there was anybody there, answering, there couldn’t be anybody there and I said, “Well, I’m just imagining this, can’t be anybody there.”

So I reached out for the lamp, which was on the table by my bed, and there wasn’t any lamp there, I was going to turn it on and there wasn’t any lamp there at all.

So then I knew I was crazy, and there wasn’t anything going on. But I kept fooling around and finally found it on the floor where it had been knocked over.

I turned it on and all I could see in the bed was somebody with the cover up to here and a pair of horn rimmed glasses and hat pulled down over the ears.

I pulled back the cover and I said, “Who are you, what are you doing here?”

He said, “You know me, Sam.  Turn out the light and go to bed.”

And he said, “Put that cover back on me.”

So I pulled the cover back over him and I thought, my God, what am I doing, and I pulled it off again.

I was sitting on the bed, sitting on the bed with my knees, just looking at him, and about that time my no-good dog Mickey, who was supposed to be a watch dog, but he slept upstairs with Ruth and Ella Mae in the winter-time because he was cold, came in and Ella Mae (followed) right behind him to see what was happening.

He (Buddy) was drunk. He was so drunk, he didn’t know what he was doing.

Ella Mae and I talked about it; we said, “What to do?”

And I said, “Maybe we’d just better leave him here.”

She said, “Yes, but you’ve got to let somebody know where he is; let his family know where he is.”

And so, first I called Kermit Roberts who worked for him, (and said, “Buddy Moreton is down here,”)  and Kermit said -- everybody I talked to said the same thing … I got so sick of having somebody say, “Well, what’s he doing down at your house?”

Bob Jones:    Kramer Roberts or Kermit Roberts?

Sam Jones:   Kramer Roberts. Yes, he worked for Buddy. And I told him what had happened and he said, “Well, Ursula, his wife, is out of town. I’ll come down if you want me to and take him over to my house, but that’s all I can do.”

I said I didn’t want to do that. I (just) wanted somebody to know about where he is.

So I hung up, that was enough for me, but wasn’t enough for Ella Mae.

She said, “You better call somebody else, maybe you better call Dr. Atkinson, if there’s anything you can do for him.”

So I called Dr. Atkinson at two o’clock in the morning and I told him, I said, “Buddy Moreton is at my house. I don’t know where he came from but he’s drunk as a cooter. He’s in bed. What can I do for him?”

The reason she wanted me to call Dr. Atkinson is because (Buddy) had severe heart trouble and was just out of the hospital with a little heart attack.

Dr. Atkinson said the same thing, “What’s he doing down at your house?” I said, “I don’t know.”

Then he started laughing. He just couldn’t stop laughing. He said, “He’s all right. The best thing to do is just leave him there, keep him wrapped up.”

                       Ella Mae said, “You better call his mother and father.”

I said, “I can’t call. I don’t want to upset them.” 

She said, “Yes, you have to.”

So I called. Gert, who is his mother, answered the phone. So I disguised my voice. I said, “Mrs. Moreton, is ... may I speak with Mr. Moreton?”

And she said, “Sam Jones! What are you doing calling at this time of night? Is something wrong with Buddy? It must be something about Buddy.”

I said, “No, it’s nothing. Just let me speak to Tom.”

And he got on the phone and HE was drunk. “What’s he doing at your house?”
I said, “I don’t know what he’s doing at my house!”

                        And (finally) Ella Mae said, “Come on, I’ll fix you a bed upstairs.”

So we started upstairs and Ruth (now aware of the excitement) asked, “What’s wrong? What’s going on?

(… Ruth never came downstairs; she had stayed upstairs. It was cold as it could be and I was running around that house on the cold floor with my bare feet.)

And Ella Mae said (to Ruth), “You and Mickey are the darndest people. Somebody, a burglar, could come in and run off with Sam, and you (two) wouldn’t do a thing about it.”

Ruth started giggling, giggled all night long. I was in bed shivering. 

I could hear her giggling. I’d get so mad. I said, “She’ll be sorry if I have pneumonia in the morning.”

                        So I was just getting to sleep when I heard bang, bang, bang! on the back door. And I got up and went downstairs and it was the Arrington boy -- Mr. Moreton and the Arrington boy, who was Buddy’s brother-in-law -- A.C. Arrington. They were going hunting, (and were wearing) hunting clothes.

They wanted to know what about Buddy. And I said, “Come in see for yourself.” And I took them in there and they saw there was nothing they could do, so they went on and left. But that was something.

                        The next morning, I guess, about six o’clock, I said I might as well go on and get dressed, so I went on in my room and went in the bathroom and so forth and came out.

Just as I came out, Buddy woke up. “Sam Jones, what are you doing here?”

I said, “This is my house. This is my bed.”

“Aw,” he said, “It’s not. It can’t be. I went to bed over at Mr. Behan’s last night.”

I said, “You might have thought you did, but you went here.”

And he just couldn’t believe it and he started crying. And he said, “I’m sorry, I’ve been drunk before, but never so drunk that I didn’t know what I was doing.”

I said, “That’s what you did.”

(And) that was the end of that.

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