Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Labor Day marks the official end of summer down here in Texas. After ringing up 68 days of 100 degree plus temperatures, we celebrated Labor Day this year with a high of only 93. It was glorious, and I had a splendid day at a BBQ and Bluesfest where my good friend Buddy Whittington played.

Buddy is a local boy, and there are always a great group of friends at his shows. At Sundays festival my son was there, and the ex-Mrs Bulletholes was there too. My son Rip had a young lady with him, and he had a backpack too, I assume it contained Rip’s clothes and a toothbrush in for whatever he might be doing with the young lady after the show.

It was Rips backpack that became the center of much controversy, and nearly ruined my own plans.

See, the Ex Mrs Bulletholes has been keeping up with the boys backpack ever since his very first backpack.
In the first grade she would ask him if he had his backpack when he was getting ready for school.
In the second grade, she would have to take his backpack to school after he forgot it.
In the third grade, she would have to take him to look for his backpack whenever he left it out in a muddy field somewhere.
In the fourth grade, she would have to buy him a new backpack after he lost his.
All the way through 12th grade, she would task herself (often drafting me as well) with anything associated with his bloody backpack. The first question after school every day for twelve years was “Rip, where is your backpack?”

Everyday. Twelve years.

So Sunday night Rip is at the festival with his girl, and everyone is having a good time, and I'm up dancing in the crowd, and people are cheering me on,  and I have a very elaborate plan to slip away right after Buddy plays. There is someone meeting me outside the back lot, see, and the show is over now, the next act is setting up, and I’m just about to make my big break when the Ex Mrs Bulletholes grabs me and asks “Where is Rip?”.

‘He was sitting right there.“ I say, and I turn to point to his lawn chair. The chair is empty, except for his backpack.
“Well, he’s not there now and he left his backpack” she says.
“Hmmff” I say, because I could give a rats ass about where he is or what he’s doing because all I can think about is slipping out of this gig, and getting myself to the backlot.
‘You have to find him” she says “And make sure he gets his backpack.
I’m trying to stay cool. I need to split, like now.“Why don’t you call him?” I say ‘And you can see what he wants YOU to do about his backpack.”
“OK” she says and starts dialing her phone, so I say “Good, its settled” and start to leave but she grabs me and says ‘Wait, I may need you to help make sure he gets his backpack.”

Dear God in Heaven.

Well, that’s just not happening, because I couldn’t care less about Rips backpack; my business is ducking out to the backlot in the next 5 minutes… Here he is, 21 years old, 17 years experience dealing with a backpack, and the Ex Mrs Bulletholes has still got her finger on the pulse of his backpack, and is still, after all these years, recruiting me to help deny him his pain, his pain of losing his backpack. So while she was making her second call to him about his backpack at the Bluesfest, I was non-chalantly slipping further out of range until I turned and ran as fast as I could away from there.

I never even had a backpack, except the one in Scouts, and my momma never had a thing to do with it.


red dirt girl said...

HAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAA!! That's the best story I've read in a long time! And I can so relate because my youngest child is forever forgetting and losing backpacks. It's maddening - this backpack/mothering thing. Geesh, I hope I won't be dialing for backpacks when he's 21...I want to be slipping out to the backlot, too!


bulletholes said...

Yes, the backlot. That was the best part. He and I laughed and laughed about her taking care of that backpack. He said she called him 4 times trying to find out what she should do with his backpack. He told her just to leave it alone, he was up in the ferris wheel with his girl. Go figure.

Martijn said...

Feels like there's a great Life Lesson here. I will think about it what it is (slow man, me). But great story Steve!