Payroll Bones Talkin About Howdy Leather Britches Forrester
got barbeque sauce all over tha fiddle you son of a bitch! Or is
say Howdy keeps on gettin seconds at the barbecue buffet up in
kind of meat are they eatin in sweet old heaven? Father's meat?
Forrester family was a damn fine fiddlin family. Grandpa Big Ardell,
his son Little Clyde and even Uncle J.J all played that devil's
all began a long gone time ago with Big Ardell Forrester. Big Ardell,
well he was once a young man and had to do things. Restless like a
possum on the edge of those new automobile highways he was and also
suffered a nervous disposition. Yes, he was a young man who had
ambition to do something with himself. One Sunday crisp night in the
autumn of 1904, Big Ardell had a ghost dream that shook him up. Was
the dream divine and good like the church? Or was the spook dream
from the god damn devil? The dream told him to pick up the fiddle.
Ardell couldn't play a musical bone in his body! He suffered and
trembled the dream for three nights in a row.
the third tremulous night, the dream gave him mysterious divine
sorted his convictions and the probabilities and decided good for the
ghost dream believing such revelation came from good angels in
heaven. God works strange in these lonely mountains and though rare,
he had given the gift of divine revelation to the sparse chosen few
out here to preach the gospel and reap more faith into the common
goodness for the hardscrabble isolated community.
Ardell walked late one night where the dirt road forks into two dirt
roads. The full moon was milky. He took a seat on the rock strewn
road. He held the fiddle up as if he was about to play, yet waited
earnestly not bowing or even plucking a single note. He sat perched
fixated in the eerie quietude.
of the blue, fallen leaves made violent sound on the dark dark
black snake crawled out of the moon glow thicket. Snake just snaked
on by and went into tha moon glow thicket behind young Ardell. Soon
enough, the snake crawled right back past and right back into the
moon glow thicket that started it all. A man who had no shadow
suddenly appeared down the road and walked without a sound.
he towered over Big Ardell. Now you see this was spooky funny
business. Ardell wasn't a small scrawny young man either. The "Big"
in his name was there for a reason. Well, the man who cast no
shadow reached into the sky with his left hand and pulled out a
fiddle out of now here's desolate darkness. It was as if the
moonbeams were a floating cascading river in the sky and the fiddle
was a catfish swimming beneath the luminescent light. He had eyes
made of pure silver. Ardell shivered.
man with no shadow may have been the devil himself. He played three
tunes six times--adding up to the mark of the beast 666. He played
old songs like "Squirrel Dragger," Mule Suck Tumble,"
Ole Sally's Left Shoe," and "Crow Caw Jimber."
man who cast no shadow with pure silver eyes and a crooked hat tole
Big Ardell Forrester in a deep river bottom voice, "Make no
mistake. This here a business deal. Business is business. I will
know thy blood of thy family for generations to come. I will get you
one day boy. I don't play no God Damn Fool. If you forget, well I
won't do any forgetting sonny boy. I recollect every thang from tha
mosquito's buzz to God's secret mistakes."
ran home in cold sweat. When he got home he could play every god
damn fiddle song there was. Didn't matter how much corn whiskey he
drank. Didn't matter the time he got a bullet in his leg either.
Motherfucker did not miss a note.
Big Ardell begot a son. He named him Little Clyde Forrester. Clyde
also sawed the fiddle and put rattlesnake rattles in tha fiddle and
that motherfucker also did not miss a note drunk and knew all the god
damn song. Little Clyde had a son when the time was right for family
making. He named his son Howard Wilson Forrester. Soon he earned
the rightful nickname "Howdy" due to his good disposition.
is trouble here though. The darkness of primitive evil and the sins
of the older generation falling down as wraith upon the next
generation. Yes the sort of tragedy that was all, sordidly straightly
sodden Old Testament brutality. Yes, tragedy always hit the
devil sent death to collect. It was early September and Big Ardell
Forrester had a fatal heart attack out on his tractor plowin tha
field. Then the devil feeling particular devilish and Mr. yellow
rotten tooth death deciding he was having a particular rewarding
streak in the corpse making business came to Little Clyde Forrester
one exact week later. That day was all hot lazy with stone heavy
sadness pervading like an unwanted drunkard courting the preacher's
so happened, six year old Howdy wasz just learnin to play tha fiddle.
That boy would practice sawin those strings outside the hen house as
if he was serenading his true love. He was natural of course. It
was the 33rd of September to be exact when that locomotive barreled
down those gleaming steal tracks. Howdy could see the tracks in the
distance and also daddy in the beat up old ford. The young boy
thought it funny daddy wasn't slowin down towards the tracks where
the furious locomotive screeched the piercing horn. Bad things
happen. Daddy Clyde was all mangle and mange when he met that quick
death. The head got decapitated and crushed while the whole left leg
and the whole right leg were severed. His chest was all caved in
pulverized meat slush.
the brightly magenta plumaged evening sadness got bled out to the
full emptiness of darkness, a full moon rose over the hills all bone
white death luminous fastidiousness whilst in the distance one could
hear a plaintive howling in tha tall green cornfield where that local
pregnant stray bitch dog had given birth to 13 still born puppies.
Also of dire concern, young Betty Lou had gone missin. She went to
pick wine berries down near Dryer's Run creek on Sunday and never
came back. A cool wind rustled the superstitious community and
everyone knew Autumn was gonna come on strong like a drunk falling
down the cellar stairs.