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    Legends of Booker County: Daddy Bea
    by Gilda Griffith Brown




    I knew someone named Bea, but the one I knew was no matronly aunt in the imaginary town of Mayberry. Fredric Drury Bea was a native of Booker County, Mississippi. Because of his great love of Homing Pigeons, he was called “Daddy Bea.”

    Located near the Packerhatch downtown area, Lutie Lane was lined with shade trees and dotted with Victorian and early twentieth century houses. I lived on Lutie Lane and so did Daddy Bea. He lived next door.

    Daddy Bea was twelve when he first took up with pigeons for a Boy Scout project, and by the time he was seventeen he was an expert. At least, his little sister, Sukie, thought he was an expert.

    Sukie’s real name was Abilene. According to Daddy Bea, she was named that because she was “concepted in Abilene, Texas.” Most people in Booker County knew that Daddy Bea was a little touched in the head, but Sukie didn’t know it.

    Getting back to the pigeons: Daddy Bea knew how fast pigeons could fly and how far in one day they could fly. He even knew how many feathers the average pigeon had. One day I heard my grandpa talking to my daddy. He said, “That boy’s touched, all right, but he sure knows a lot about those pigeons.”

    Early one summer morning, Daddy Bea went out to check on his pigeons. A few minutes later, he came around the house hollering and crying and even saying a few unmentionable words. Sukie and his mama, Mims, ran out front to see what the matter was. He was raising such a hillacious racket that the whole street ran out to see what in the world the matter was.

    “Something has thun got my pigeon, Baby Lovely. Baby Lovely’s feathers are scattered all around, but Baby Lovely’s gone. I’m gonna--” and he squalled and carried on and any words that could be understood were unrepeatable. Mims said, birds or no birds, if he kept up his cussing she was going to wash his mouth out with a bar of Lux soap.

    Beside himself, Daddy Bea became a sleepless maniac for a while. He sat out there in the backyard with his pellet gun for two nights, but no varmints came for his pigeons, his “baby birds.” He felt sure the culprit was a cat.

    On the third night, a full moon cast its light liberally on the pigeon roost. Sitting in the shadows, I kept Daddy Bea company while he waited with his pellet gun at the ready to do his “daddy job” and protect those little pigeons.

    It must have been about midnight when Mims stuck her head out the screen door and told Daddy Bea that she didn’t want him to stay up all night again. “You don’t need to stay out there another night, Fredric. You’re just going to make yourself sick.”

    About that time the pigeons fluttered all around, and there was a movement near the roost. The rest is Booker County history!

    Daddy Bea took aim and fired. It was a cat, all right! A breed of cat that my daddy called a “stream lined kitty with a fluid drive” -- one of those little black and white kitties. One of those little varmints most folks run from.

    That little skunk fell out in a deadly pose on his back, and before I could stop Daddy Bea, just as I said the word “No!” and just before I said “don’t shoot,” he did. Daddy Bea shot again. He shot that little Kitty Skunk right in its “perfume purse.”

    We had been suffering through a severe heat wave that had lasted pretty near to two weeks. Anyone that remembers Booker County in 1963 knows that most residents had no air conditioning. Windows were thrown wide open for any chance of a breeze.

    Now, I can’t begin to tell you about all the discontent and hard feelings that were caused by Daddy Bea shooting that Kitty-Skunk, but I don’t ever want to live through anything like it again. Suffice it to say that nobody slept for the next three days and nobody ate at home, either. Miss Lucinda cancelled her bridge club meeting, and Dorothy Jill canceled her backyard wedding. To top everything off, the entire neighborhood, including Mims, needed their mouths washed out with a bar of Lux soap.

    Not knowing of the circumstances, Grandpa came over for a visit though he didn’t linger long. Just before he cranked his car up and backed out of the driveway, he gave my daddy a deadpan look and said, “That boy’s touched all right, but he sure knows a lot about those Pigeons.”






Gilda tells us about herself:
"I am a retired nurse living in my hometown of Canton, Mississippi. I love to read most anything that I call 'Southern Funny,' but my writing leans to 'Southern Fictional Funny.' I firmly believe that the world needs to laugh more! I am in the process of writing a series of Booker County stories. Readers may click this link and e-mail me at ggriffb."


Read more of Gillie's stories!
Harkins Bakery
On Turning Sixty
Riding the Old Sow ~ A Southern Elopement




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