George Washington Carver and Freedom

Most people don’t know what freedom is. I can firmly attest to what it is because I’ve experienced what it isn’t. The following is the first in a two part series:

You might think this is a post about George Washington Carver the person. It is not. Among my numerous Texas stories from the past, there is one that I seldom relate and that one is as follows: In 1985, when my family moved from Michigan to Texas (minus my older brother who had already joined the Navy), I was in San Angelo all of two months when I decided that I hated it. As such I found gainful employment as a civilian working at the Lafonda Mess Hall at Goodfellow Air Force Base.

For two months I scrimped and saved every penny (my only indulgence I allowed myself being the purchase of a 35 millimeter camera) and by June I had managed to save up more than a thousand dollars. I promptly converted these to traveler’s checks and I made my escape back to Michigan, my Greyhound bus peeling out in a blaze of glory. I entered upon an agreement to share an apartment and expenses with my troubled friend Tyrone who was compelled to live away from his family due to various circumstances. Tyrone’s mother thought it a splendid plan and it was all arranged.

My plan was well thought out except that it was flawed in one respect: I was just 15 years old which made me a minor in the eyes of the law. My mother let me leave Texas, firm in the belief that my efforts would come to no avail and that I would slink back to Texas in defeat. When two months had passed by without that happening, my dear old mother played the trump card, by which I mean that she called Tyrone’s mother in Lansing threatening that if she did not send me back to Texas she would bring up charges of kidnapping. Tyrone’s mother capitulated in the face of the bluff and my triumphant return was thus cut short.

I cannot begin to tell how furious I was and how hopeless the situation seemed to me. I was dispatched back to the land of giant cowboy hats and belt buckles all the while racking my brains as to how to deal with the situation. My first impulse was to quit school and to shut myself into my room until my 18th birthday, taking care not to perform a single positive deed for fear of giving my mother the satisfaction of knowing that I had been conquered. Ultimately I decided against that as I’m not normally in the business of immolating myself for the purpose of freaking out the onlookers (morbid fantasies notwithstanding). Desiring to attain my ultimate goal of joining the Marine Corps, I made the decision to re-enroll at San Angelo Central High School.

This course of action was not an easy one. In the spring of ’85 I had talked back to my English teacher Mrs. Livensparger for which I was sent to see the assistant principal Mr. Cervantez. Mr. Cervantez was a West Texas Mexican redneck, complete with the good ol’ boy drawl normally associated with the Texas Rangers of old (the lawmen, not the baseball players). Upon learning of my rebellious actions this assistant principal promptly threatened me by implications “I’da slammed yew up against the wawl!” at which time I loudly yawned. I was immediately kicked out of school and sentenced to 20 days at the George Washington Carver School for Bad People. I will finish relating this story tomorrow as right now I’m busy eating a burrito.

2 Responses to “George Washington Carver and Freedom”

  1. Phelps says:

    Black beans or brown?

  2. mexi says:

    Atchilly, no beans. The menu said it was red beef burrito. It was a fat burrito with nothing but shredded beef and red sauce. There may or may not have been cheese.

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