A Fable of Raised Expectations

T'ain't what it used to be, but times'll get better. (Monte Dutton photo)
T’ain’t what it used to be, but times’ll get better.
(Monte Dutton photo)

During the heyday of high school football in this town, lots of fans used to watch the team practice late in the evenings, after the mill shift ended. It was the late seventies, and that was a decade that saw Clinton win four state championships and reach the finals twice more.

One day I was watching from the plateau overlooking the practice field, a day or two before I was off to college. It wasn’t unusual for trash talking to take place on that level rise, and, on this particular day, one of the Red Devils’ more boisterous fans was holding court within earshot, which could have probably been a half mile. He’s no longer with us, and no noteworthy service would be filled by repeating his name now. Let’s just call him Pete.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

“Beats all ever I seen,” Pete said.


“All these winning football teams we done had, and yet they’s only one Red Devil ever played in the NFL.”

“Not many ballplayers make the NFL,” I said.

“Laurens got a heap of them,” Pete replied, “and they ain’t beat us in, what? At least 15 years.”

“Laurens ain’t got nobody in the pros, Pete. Name one.”

“Why, that’s easy. Sam ‘Bam’ Cunningham.”

“What? Sam ‘Bam’ Cunningham ain’t from no Laurens. He played ball at USC, and I don’t mean in Columbia. He played at Southern California ‘fore he went to the Patriots.”

“You sure?”

“Positive. Why’d you think he was from Laurens?

“Laurens always has had a heap of Cunninghams,” Pete said. “I just naturally figured he was one of them.”

I live and breathe here today.

This was a tough call. It’s a true story, but I changed a name, so, on a technicality, I decided to post it here. My, uh, even more real stuff is posted at www.montedutton.com. You can peruse and buy my books here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1

My third novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, is up for potential publication at KindleScout. You can help me by sampling it and nominating it for publication here: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1H8P26P38KYW8


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