The excuse that almost never failed, "Davy wasn't looking out for me"
Published 4:55 am Wednesday, May 7, 2003
By By Lloyd Albritton
There were six of the Hammons boys altogether-no girls! This was just as well because Father Hammons needed all six of his boys to help him in the family business, i.e., cutting and hauling pulpwood.
Pulpwooding is hard, rough work and I have never known or heard of a girl choosing or being drafted into it. Even for a young man with a strong back and a fondness for hard physical labor it is not something that most would choose to do for a career, but rather, is a career that some get caught up in because of the south's plentiful timber resources and the enduring demand for wood products to manufacture paper.
In the case of the Hammons family, all six of the boys got away from it as soon as they learned of better ways to make a living.
Davy, the youngest of the boys became a Pentecostal Holinist minister while he was still in his youth. Davy's mother, being a devout believer in her religion, dedicated her baby boy to the service of the Lord by placing him under the tutelage of the church leader, a woman who laid claim to being, and was accepted by the membership as, a Prophetess.
Davy was possessed of a very large stature even as a young man, and was blessed with the voice and unique speaking talents to become a popular and charismatic preacher from the very start of his ministry.
Of course, the ministry never provided Davy with the financial resources to embrace it as a full-time career so, like his older brothers, he initially turned to the Louisiana oil fields for gainful employment, but eventually went off to college and became a math teacher at the local junior high school.
There was also among the Hammons siblings a brother named Randy who was mentally handicapped. Randy was easy-going by his nature and anything he did, whether it was talking or walking from one place to another, was done at a painstakingly slow pace. He never got in a hurry about anything Randy also possessed a deceptively keen wit and charm that most people found both entertaining and surprisingly insightful. When all his brothers went off to work on the oil rigs, Randy would go out with one or another of them as an assistant. He always worked with one of his brothers on these jobs, for all of them had received a recurring mandate and caveat from their mother from a very early age that it was their responsibility to "look out for Randy."
Now, being insightful as he was, Randy was not unaware that his brothers were charged with looking out for him, whether in the woods cutting pulpwood or out in the Gulf on an oil drilling rig, and he learned very early on to take advantage of this fact. When he occasionally landed in hot water with his parents for his own misbehavior, Randy would quickly invoke his inherent immunity by pointing a finger to the brother closest to him and proclaiming, "DAVY WASN'T LOOKING OUT FOR ME!" Indeed, because Davy was the closest in age to Randy, and because of his own kindly and benevolent nature, Davy was the brother most often charged with and held responsible for Randy's misbehavior.
For example, one time when Randy drove the tractor over some sharply cut tree stumps and punctured all the tires, his angry father grabbed him up and brandished his belt for a whipping and Randy screamed straightaway, "DAVY WASN'T LOOKING OUT FOR ME!" and Davy got a whipping instead of Randy. When Randy came home drunk one time and got into trouble with his mother, he quickly alleged, "DAVY WASN'T LOOKING OUT FOR ME!" and it was Davy who got a stern lecture from his mother, even though he had nothing whatsoever to do with Randy's wayward behavior.
One hot summer day while the family was working in the woods, Davy made mention to the others several times that, "If any of ya'll get a chance to go into town for anything today, I sure could use a cold Coca Cola."
Well sir, along toward the middle of the afternoon, Randy's father summoned him over and said, "Now Randy, I can't spare any of the other boys, so I want you to take my truck and drive into town and get me a file and some motor oil from the hardware store. And don't be lollygagging neither! Get back here as quick as you can." He handed Randy the necessary money he needed for the purchase and the keys to his truck.
Randy grunted an understanding of his assignment, stuffed the money into his pants pocket along with the truck keys and proceeded at a snail's pace to his father's truck, where he perched himself behind the steering wheel and started the engine. Now, at this location where they were working, there was a large open field grown up high with wild grass and weeds in one direction and a woods road leading to the main highway in the other.
Obviously, the second option was the correct one for a trip into town. To everyone's surprise, however, Randy took off in the old truck straight out through the open field at a lickety-split rate of speed. All the workers watched aghast as the old truck sped across the open field, plowing a path through the thick, high weeds. About a hundred yards out into the field the old truck hit a big drainage ditch, and with a big crashing bang, landed nose down in the ditch with the rear wheels left spinning in the air.
As Randy's father somberly watched this comedy of errors play out from the distance, Randy rolled out of the truck cab, clawed his way to the top of the ditch embankment, then slowly trudged his way back to where the others watched and waited. As he approached the curious group, Randy paid them no mind at all. He just sat down on a tree stump to rest a spell, took out his pocket knife and started whittling on a stick as if nothing had happened.
Realizing that Randy had no intention of explaining what had just happened, his father rushed over to confront him and yelled, "WHAT IN THE WORLD WERE YOU DOING OUT THERE BOY?"
"Well," Randy began to explain slowly and nonchalantly, "I was driving into town to get that file you wanted and Davy was running along beside the truck window shouting at me "Git me this' and 'Git me that' and I couldn't watch the road and I ran smack dab into the ditch. Davy wasn't looking out for me, Daddy."
Almost speechless at Randy's ridiculous explanation, Mr. Hammons finally found his voice and shouted, "BOY, I WAS STANDING HERE WATCHING THE WHOLE THING AND DAVY WASN'T NOWHERE AROUND YOU." He then jerked his belt out of his britches and gave Randy one of the few whippings he ever got. And one to remember.
"Did you really do that?" I asked Randy years later after Davy had told me this story.
"Yup," Randy answered with a mischievous smirk. Then, after a pause, he added, "Davy wasn't looking out for me."