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GUEST COLUMN: The ‘ballet’ of Slippy Larue, part deux

Mike Ragland -Cotton in my Blood

Mike Ragland, Guest Columnist

The continuing saga of Slippy Larue’s time living with Jug and Sadie:

But Slippy’s favorite thing was taking care of the goats. Sadie had ten or 15 goats and Slippy gave each a name and loved every one of them!

Yep, Slippy had made a new life for himself with Jug and Sadie and had become like a member of the family. He did not have one criminal tendency left.

Slippy wasn’t the only one that hung around Jug’s, there was quite a crowd of misfits, rednecks, and basically just good ole boys and girls that gathered on the weekends. Lots of beer got drunk and occasionally somebody would fire up one of them left-handed cigarettes. But the main entertainment was watching Slippy chase butterflies.

One of the good ole boys that hung around Jug’s was John the Plant Man (a landscaper by trade). He had brought Slippy a butterfly bush which, in season, attracted hordes of butterflies. Plant Man had also given Slippy a book on butterflies and he studied it every night. Jug’s crowd got a kick out of watching Slippy gracefully chase butterflies and try to imitate their flight.

Although Slippy was part of the scenery at Jug’s, you never knew what you were gonna see or what might show up. That’s what made it such an attraction.

One day an old man in a worn out pick-up truck with a 500 pound hog in the back pulled into the drive and asked to see Jug.

“That’s me,” Jug replied as he walked to the truck.

The old man had gotten out of the truck and had a small game rooster sitting on his shoulder. It was apparently an old rooster and only had one eye.

“I heard a fellow could get a fight over here,” the old man stated.

Jug walked around looking in the back of the truck. “What you going to fight?” he asked. Then stated “I don’t see nothing!”

“Thought I’d fight Pete,” the old man said, pointing to the rooster on his shoulder.

“I don’t fight for less than a $100,” Jug said seeing easy money. “Is that all right with you?”

“I don’t have that kind of money, but I’ll put that hog up against your 100 if it’s ok with you,” replied the stranger.

“Slippy, go get Mr. Wilson,” said Jug, referring to one of his prize roosters. “Plant Man, I want you to referee if you will,” Jug said, at the same time yelling out to Sadie. “Get your skillet out mama, I smell bacon a frying!”

Plant Man slipped the spurs on both roosters, gave the command to pit, then to fight and let go.

The little one-eyed rooster went straight up and drove a spur through Mr. Wilson’s neck and he was DRT (dead right thar). Jug was in shock! The old man retrieved his money and was getting ready to leave.

“Wait a minute,” Jug said. “I want another chance to get my money back. I’ll put up $200 against your $100 and the hog.”

“That’s fine,” replied the old man. “But this is my last fight of the day, win or lose.”

Jug told Slippy to go and get Samson (that was his best rooster). He had paid $150 for Samson from an Arkansas breeder at a sale over on SandMountain. Since then, Samson had won a dozen or so fights.

Once again Plant Man gathered the money and called the fighters to pit. This time the little one-eyed rooster side-stepped the larger rooster then came in high behind him. Results were the same. The old man got his money and drove away, much richer and with his hog intact.

Jug’s temper was legendary. He stood in the driveway and watched as the truck went out of sight. He wanted to break something, to yell and scream! He turned to his companions and said, “Would somebody tell me what just happened here. Some stranger pulls into my yard, stays 30 minutes and leaves with three hundred dollars of my money in cash and all I got is two hundred dollars worth of dead roosters. What happened?!”

“His rooster killed yours Jug,” said Slippy. “That’s what I used to do. Slip in and get the money and be gone before anyone knew what was happening!”

“Shut up Slippy!” said Jug. “Just shut up!”

Plant Man stayed for supper that Saturday night. Sadie cooked mashed potatoes, made gravy, boiled corn, butter beans, corn bread and fresh fried chicken that had been par-boiled till tender.

“Sure is good chicken, Miss Sadie,” Plant Man stated as he reached for another piece.

“Sure is,” said Slippy.

A long minute later Jug said, “It ought to be good Plant Man. It’s a $500 chicken dinner!”

Mike Ragland is a Cave Spring city councilman and a retired Rome police major. His most recent book is “Living with Lucy.” Readers may contact him at mrag@bellsouth.net or mikeragland.com