Cemeteries and Switches

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Friends, I was just thinking back when we were kids — “we” being all us brothers and a couple of cousins. We were known to come up here and play in the old cemetery! Did yall ever do that?

Now, mostly we did this during the day, because … well … just because! One time, we were up there playing around, and somebody decided to ring the old bell!

Well it got to be a competition as to who could ring it the loudest! Everything was fine and dandy until we heard someone coming up the road! It was Paw Paw Will! He came flying up in his old pickup! (Well, he wasn’t exactly flying in a ’48 Ford, but he was going pretty fast!)

He roared into the driveway and jumped out before the dust could settle, and said, “Who has been ringing that bell?!”

Well, when nobody said anything, he told us to line up, and then he broke off a switch and whipped every boy there!

Then he said, “Y’all know why I whipped you?”

Then he went on to explain, “That bell in earlier times was used to gather people in case of emergency! If someone rang the bell, then everybody dropped what they were doing and ran to see what the problem was! It might be somebody had died and they needed to dig a grave! Or someone could be hurt real bad and need help!”

So I raised my hand, and he said, “What do you want?”

I asked him, “Did you say if somebody was hurting real bad they could ring the bell?”

He said, “Yes. Why?”

Well I told him I was still hurting from that whipping and I was going to ring that bell!

I got another whipping! Wasn’t too bad, though! He couldn’t do it! He was laughing so hard!

So when you’re at a cemetery, and see an old bell, that don’t mean you have to ring it!

And life goes on, on Thompson Hill.

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