Monday, November 16, 2009

Karl, Ed & Billie

Now anyone who's lived in Firth during the last few decades will know about Karl, Ed, & Billie. These three were the Jenkins brothers and lived in Basalt for years. For whatever reason, all three of these grown men were mentally handicapped. They also became known as the town "characters" and many a story was passed along regarding them. Each brother had his own quirks and personality. After someone told Karl that he'd go to hell if he didn't go to church he started attending regularly. He wasn't always happy with what he heard however, and occasionally would stand up and shout "You're a damn liar!" (I suspect others in the congregation may have had similar thoughts.) You rarely saw him without a big old cigar in his mouth and he was the more intimidating of the three brothers for me.

Billie was in love with his bicycle--I never saw him without it. He was of slender build, sat with his legs crossed at the knees, and while smoking his cigarettes, often observed those around him as if they were inferior to him. He was the quieter of the three brothers and I don't remember much about him.

And then there was Ed. Now Ed and I had a personal relationship--unbeknownst to me. I worked at the Tree House when I was a teenager and Ed came into the restaurant on a frequent basis. He usually came in for a cup of coffee and some chatter. Mostly he ranted and raved about how he was "gonna get DRUNK!" Apparently that statement got a "rise" out of people so I think he said it often for that intended purpose. Being the only young girl working at the Tree House, Ed developed a crush on me. He would often order his cup of coffee, give a quarter tip to the waitress with express instructions to give this to "that other girl". I got razzed about it from my friends and co-workers. Then came Valentine's Day. Ed went all over town telling people that he had given his girlfriend "chocolates" for Valentine's Day. Girlfriend--being me! Well, I got no chocolates from Ed--nor from anyone else for that matter. But I got the teasing! A few weeks later I was talking to my Aunt Loraine and she was telling me that her best friend Wanda was surprised on Valentine's Day to open her front door and find a box of chocolates sitting on the step. Wanda had gotten MY CHOCOLATES! What's more--Wanda had eaten those chocolates. I got the razzing--Wanda got the chocolates! The only consolation I got from that situation was the knowledge that Crazy Ed had no idea where I actually lived! Thank heaven for BIG favors!

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