SITTING UP WITH THE DEAD
from: Elroy Wilke

This was published in the Tinosa Blatt of December 1983.
Editor's note: Elroy Wilke was one of the great "Story Tellers."
On long patrols, a good story teller broke the monotony for those in listening range
.

Where I come from, we still sit up with the dead. When I was a boy, there were no exceptions to this. None whatsoever. Now days we have got kind of fancy and the funeral home director may get up at 10 O'clock in the evening and say the funeral home is closed and we will open again at 7:00 in the morning.

Not too long ago, we were having a funeral and the funeral director made this announcement. My Uncle Percy told him to go right ahead, it's your funeral home but my friend and neighbor, BROTHER CY is dead and I want you to know that we are not about to leave him here by himself. I am going to make two of my boy's stay here with him all night. Clovis and Eugene Ledbetter are going to be here with him all night and they won't be getting in your way. They will be settin right here.

About 30 minutes after everyone had left the funeral home; Clovis could see a neon light over a beer joint over yonder across the road.

Clovis said, "Eugene, I believe I will step over yonder and get us something to drink."

Eugene said, "No way, I'm not staying here with BROTHER CY all by myself.''

Eugene said, "'I'll run over and get something to drink."

Clovis said, "OH NO! I'm not about to stay here by myself either, I understand there are four more down the hall."

Sketch #13 by Wagner
Art work by Chuck Wagner

They sat there about another hour. They could see the bright neon light over the beer joint and they got to smacking their lips and their mouths got dry as cotton. They finally decided to go over to the beer joint and take BROTHER CY, with them.

They got him up. With Eugene on one side, Clovis on the other side, and BROTHER CY between them, they started over to the beer joint. Every now and then they would let a foot drag on the road so people would think he was walking right along with them.

They went into the beer joint and stood BROTHER CY up to the bar and put one of those four legged stools right behind him and proceeded to wedge him in. There he was with Clovis on the side, drinking and Eugene standing over BROTHER CY. The dead man was the best-dressed man in the joint.

About that time, a fight broke out, a good fistfight and busting chairs over each other's heads. Somebody hit BROTHER CY alongside the head with his fist and knocked him into the middle of the floor.

Well here come the police, lining up people, handcuffing them and searching them. Clovis saw CY laying on the floor and got down on his knees and cradled BROTHER CY's head in his arms and cried as hard as he could, screaming and pointing at a man and yelled, "You killed Him, I saw you hit him and you did kill him."

About that time, the Sheriff arrived and handcuffed the man that hit BROTHER CY.

The man said, "Sheriff, wait a minute, I did hit the man, but it was in self defense, he pulled a knife on me."

---end---

 

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