I hope you, the reading audience remember Carter Edwards, our young man who seems to lose every battle his life encounters. Other Carter stories are in the files on 6/18 and 8/13.
For a young man whose name would never be found amongst the pages of "Who's Who Of Lucky People," Carter Edwards seemed to be on a roll. A month had passed since he acquired the giant hulk of a ‘72 Buick Electra from Webster McCarver. Much to everyone's dismay the enormous barge still ran. Carter, it seemed, never owned a car with a life expectancy over three or four days. With this Buick he discovered his own personal Nirvana.
The term "running" to folks about town had implications of exaggerations, but for Carter, making it up the driveway meant the car held promise–case closed. As of this day an inventory of missing parts from the date of purchase included one half of an exhaust system, a vent window, one headlight and a wheel cover. Whereas the car came equipped with dual exhaust, the Buick was only half as deafening as it could be. Other parts mysteriously seemed to come and go with no logical explanation.
Carter soon discovered owning a 455 cubic inch premium gas guzzling battleship came with a price–one he could scarcely afford. If this car continued to crawl up the driveway then Carter would have to undertake a new outlook on his life and find secure employment. Jobs were scarce in McComb county and the cards were stacked against him. You see, in order to stay regularly employed at the town's only good paying job at the Avalon Mill, one would work until huntin' season came about at which time he would lend his job to a kin, then after the season was over, the kin left and one would take his job back. This rollover continued throughout the year.
Folks like the Edwards never had relatives take employment serious, so chanceS of finding work was about as slim as a dime. Gramps once had a job Jeronsville keeping the schools furnace stoked, but early one morning he stoked a little to hard and burned the school down. The village never rebuilt the school. Fortunately the Mason jar containing his beverage went up with the flames and gramps never again held another legal job.
Pa too had a job in his late teens drivin' hootch for a bootlegger. That's how he made enough money to acquire the Edwards' homestead. After his ‘52 Ford coupe ran into Elmer Klauss's chicken truck around the notorious sharp bend on the North Highway, breaking pa's leg and messing up his shootin' arm, he never ran the Mason Jar Highway again. Ma had about 12 kids best she could recall, so a job never crossed her mind. So as you can see, gainful employment is a word never brought up in conversation around the Edwards' household.
With no scrap metal left to sell, Carter started to contemplate ways to keep gas in his Buick. Selling Gramp's Studebaker pickup came to mind, but rumors over in Bruford said Gramps had been spotted at the Sheriff station trying to convince them his blue-tick hound had been abducted by aliens. Pa thought someday the family oughta go see if they could go find gramps around town, but nobody really took the initiative to do so.
Carter sat on the front steps of their small shack that chilly November morning watching a few brave squirrels who overstepped the safety of the woods. His mind remained out of commision towards solving the mystery of landing a job. Carter could only process four steps in his mind–car, gas, job and girls, all three were needed and soon.
As he sat there plunking rocks off the tin roof of the wood shed, a wild turkey flew up from the thick brush surrounding their homestead. Carter bolted for the door to get the family shotgun when he suddenly stopped in his tracks as smitten by divine lightning.
"Turkeys, he thought. "It's purteneer turkey eatin' time, dagnabit. I know town folks will be wantin turkeys. I'll run over to Jaronsville and buy me a load of them turkeys, sell ‘em, take the money and buy me some more until I get everyone sold with turkeys."
With inspiration bitting at his heels, Carter ran over to gramp's tool shed, grabbed a can of red paint and carefully wrote out "Carters Fresh Turkeys, Inc,. on both doors of his Buick. He had no idea what Inc meant, but the Avalon Mill trucks had it on their door and by gosh, he to would have it.
In order to scratch up a little operating capital, Carter scrounged up everything of value he could find in gramp's tool shed plus a few treasures of his own and made a journey to Honest Jakes Pawn Shop in Bruford. Once there he laid down a hand saw, two chisels, his own transistor radio, an eight track player, a complete collection of Gene Pitney albums plus three Civil War heros carved from Ash wood. To complete his exchange he bravely laid down the title to his grandpas' Studebaker truck.
"Are you sure you want to pawn your grandpa's truck, young Mr Edwards," Jake asked cautiously. "You know what a beatin he will give yo if he ever found ought don't cha." Truth be known, Jake was afraid of gramps as much as his own grandson was.
Carter nervously took the crisp $100 bill plus the two fifties and headed for Jeronsville to invest gramps' Studebaker in his future and present business venture. Even the Buick seemed to run smoother than ever. Yes, Carter had a dream and the dream was coming into sight rather quickly.
A smell akin to rotten sweat socks from the 150,00 or so turkeys residing in or around Jeronsville reminded travelers this was turkey country. To Carter the retched odor smelled like money. He pulled into the ButterBody Turkey number 16 plant, walked up to the office with his wad of cash in hand and told the secretary he wanted as much Turkey as this money will buy.
The secretary looked at Carter who by now had the continence of a ghost. She took the money from his shaking hand, counted it out and asked if he wanted fresh, frozen, smoked, turkey hams, breasts or gourmet flavored.
"Well you know, Thanksgiving turkeys," Carter said.
"Yes sir," she retorted. "Fresh or frozen?"
"Which is cheaper?"
"Then that's what I want."
About five minutes later a man with a blood splattered apron brought out 18 turkeys in cardboard cases.
"Where you all want these, Bubba?"
Carter looked in amazement. "What only 18 turkeys?"
"Well you should have only gotten 10 turkeys, but since you are such a high rollin' customer we threw in a free case," the worker said sarcastically. "Now where you want them son."
"In the Buick back yonder, put them in the back."
"Y'all got ice for these guys. Ya got to ice ‘em down ya know."
Carter shook his head no. The worker gave out a loud whistle and a short, rather stout worker came out with a cart of chipped ice. The worker then grabbed his shovel and proceeded to throw ice in Carter's back seat.
"Hey what are you doing," Carter yelled.
"It's the law kid. Y'all don't like it, tell the governor."
After filling up the back seat, the little stout worker turned around and wheeled the cart away. Carter jumped in his ‘72 Buick Electra business coupe and headed for Bruford. He was now in the poultry business.
TO BE CONTINUED
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