Jones of Old Lincoln (Chapter 7, page 2 of 27)


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Chapter 7

They were stripping tobacco in the bright noonday sun. Working alongside them was a sunburned white man in overalls and a broad brimmed straw hat. He was telling a story about seeing Old Jones and Andy Johnson speaking in Fayetteville on the subject of "people's gov'ment." Along the tobacco patch edges were great and green woods: cedars, oak, and elm. There was a high, hot sun and hectic buzzing bugs. The heat's radiation quivered in the sunshine. The smells of a hot summer day were strong.

***

Other scenes and episodes also appeared in my dream sleep.

There were green, felt-covered tables with ledger books, stacks of gold coins, and dull brass, whale-oil lamps burning bright…illuminating the high ceilings of cold rooms.

I saw white sails and blue waves, an auction block on which stood stripped, naked, young, and terribly frightened black men and women-terror reflected in their eyes. Their deep, deep, dark-brown skins were unnaturally shiny. Their bodies appeared oiled. Before them, whispering to one another, were white men dressed in old-fashioned, white linen suits. They wore wide straw hats and were gesturing with their canes towards the activity on the stage.

In my fitful dreams I also saw a rough looking farm family riding in an old, rickety, work wagon in a fine rain under a gray, foreboding sky. The sun served as a bright backlight high in the fog. Six or seven excited children moved around in the back of the wagon. The team, wagon, and family were crossing a new stone bridge. The mules' hooves sucked the mud as they walked. The mother was gothic quaint with a large, dark-brown sunbonnet. She was starkly pale and solemn. Her man was blank faced, with his eyes fixed on the shiny, wet rumps of his team. An old rain-soaked, felt slouch hat was pulled low on his head. His bearing was so very haggard. The young ones were laughing and throwing rocks off the wagon into the fast-running brown Elk River below.

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