Saving a Girl

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Larry, 1957-

“Being raised in a county by the Mississippi river, you had to be a good swimmer.”

‘Oh, my baby!’ I heard a woman holler. Thirty years ago, I was fishing on the Mississippi river. I heard the woman screamin’, ran up there and jumped into the river and got the girl. Being raised in a county by the Mississippi river, you had to be a good swimmer.

I felt pretty good about that, saving a little girl from drowning. Before they took her off to the hospital (she had lots of water in her lungs), the mother offered me money, but I wouldn’t take it. I felt good about that, too. Cause I did it from the heart.



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Involuntary 2nd Degree Robbery

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Larry, 1957-

“After, I couldn’t get a job. Even jobs I could have got, I couldn’t no more. I couldn’t do nothing after that. People didn’t respect me because I was a robber.”

My biggest regret? Going to prison. I went into a restaurant with my nephew and another friend. All of a sudden, my nephew jumps, me and my friend, we was shocked. He didn’t even tell me he was going to rob that place. Next thing I know, we all go to prison. And I regret it, I did three years in prison, he did nine.

I told the detectives what happened, I told the truth. Most of my in-laws hated me for it, they called me a snitch. He should have told me he was going to do this, but he didn’t. I went to prison and after, I couldn’t get a job, I couldn’t do nothing after that. People didn’t respect me because I was a robber. I wasn’t a robber, but I was because that’s what I went to prison for. Even jobs I could have got, I couldn’t no more.



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Coal Miner’s Daughter

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Larry, 1957-

“An old song, my best song. . . Coal Miner’s Daughter; remember it?”

COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER
Loretta Lynn

Well, I was born a coal miner’s daughter
In a cabin, on a hill in Butcher Holler
We were poor but we had love,
That’s the one thing that daddy made sure of
He shoveled coal to make a poor man’s dollar

My daddy worked all night in the Vanleer coal mine
All day long in the field a hoein’ corn
Mommy rocked the babies that night
And read the Bible by the coal oil light
And ever’ thing would start all over come break of morn

Daddy loved and raised eight kids on a miner’s pay
Mommy scrubbed our clothes on a washboard every day
Why I’ve seen her fingers bleed
To complain, there was no need
She’d smile in mommy’s understanding way

In the summertime we didn’t have shoes to wear
But in the wintertime we’d all get a brand new pair
From a mail order catalog
Money made from selling a hog
Daddy always managed to get the money somewhere

Yeah, I’m proud to be a coal miner’s daughter
I remember well, the well where I drew water
The work we done was hard
At night we’d sleep ’cause we were tired
I never thought of ever leavin’ Butcher Holler

Well a lot of things have changed since a way back then
And it’s so good to be back home again
Not much left but the floor, nothing lives here anymore
Except the memory of a coal miner’s daughter



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Patience

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Larry, 1957-

“I feel that life isn’t treating me good, but I refuse to give up on it.”

Most proud in myself? Patience. And gratitude. I was born and raised on a farm in Roseville, Tennessee. I was the black sheep of the family because I was different from the rest of them. Then I started drinking and they told me I was no good. I learned through the years to cover the pain, cover not to feel that way.

For the last couple of decades, I have been trying, but it gets worse and worse. I lost one of my eyesight to glaucoma and nearly lost the other one, but I’m still trying. I feel that life isn’t treating me good, but I refuse to give up, I refuse to give up on life. It can’t be no worse, it got to get better, right? Do not give up! The world is cruel, cruel justice systems, but just don’t give up. The poor, the middle class, the workers. . . we need each other to make the world a better place; don’t give up!

I’m waiting patient. To get off these streets, have a home to go to, shower, eat, watch the Worriers. Yes, the Worriers, he laughs. You know, I just want some peace.



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Drink One for Me

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Larry, 1957-

“He goes inside the store and gets me a six-pack; a police officer!”

‘Whatcha doin’? a police officer stopped me about two weeks ago.

‘You know where I’m going, I’m grabbing me a cold beer,’ I said. And so he leaves, then I see him coming back. I started running, but let me see what he wants now.

‘You say you gonna get cold beer?’ he asked. ‘Can you drink one for me, too?’ He tells me he can’t drink, his wife doesn’t want him to. He goes inside the store and gets me a six-pack; a police officer! I thought it was so funny, I think laughed for an hour.

When asked if he can be photographed, he laughs, points at the camera, and says, ‘Sure, but I’m so ugly, it might break!’



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