First negro pitcher to play in the junior league. That was 1946. That year he struck out nine in one game on more than one occasion and in those days pitchers played the whole game. Beanpole Kentucky only thought of those days anymore. Nothing had ever happenned that would grant him a better memory..
He may have been just a negro but he was some kind of negro. The other players, the white players used to invite him into their clubhouse after games to drink corn whiskey and tell tall tales. That never happenned to negroes then. He always gratefully obliged, and would try his hardest to tell the fellas jokes they might have heard before, because, Beanpole, he saw no politics in gettin along. .
Time had taken his pitching arm and with his pitching arm went his notoriety. That was more than fifty years ago. Now, despite the fact that his fellow negroes were now African-Americans, Beanpole had become just another negro. He didn't bother with the Malcom X's of his time, never gave a hen's uncle about politics or civil rights. He had shone his light on the world and was happy just to watch how it rolled on by.
Sitting at the Main Street Station was the only thing he cared to keep on doing. He had, since the big times, married and remarried and saw both wives widowed off. He had carried a few jobs, none to be be boastful about, but he had fed who he neeeded to feed. And that was good enough for him.
His children all had children of their own, and some of them had children of their own. He was of the opinion, that an old man like himself would be simply an interference in their remarkable lives and so let them find their own shing light. Sure, he still sent cards, Christmas and Birthday, just so they knew that they were loved. He always filled them with the shiniest wishes, and of course a little money for whatever spending they could do with it, but that was, all, he was sure, they needed from him. And all was just fine with Beanole Kentucky in his little corner of his little world.
His last eight years had seen a friend pass, each one. And throughout those years he always found time for a tale or two, and maybe a just a bit of the old corn whiskey.And now, here at the Station, he needed more than two hands to count the barmen he had seen come and gone. Every one was different to Beanpole though and every one of them had a joke that Beanpole had never told.
Onlookers, who didn't know Beanpole, would comment it sad that an eighty four year old man would spend his days sipping bourbon at a place of such low repute. Beanpole, of course, never cared about such things. And if you were to tell him what was said, he would laugh a toothless, knowing laugh and he would say "Oh Mercy me." And he'd give you a delightful grin, shaking his head, leaving only the sparkle of his one good eye as a vivid reminder that he carried little sorry about much nothing at all.
Now Beanpole was losing his vision but he still had a keen eye. And he saw Joel that day. Saw him every morning, the fella that slept in the cardboard box not causin no harm to nobody. Beanpole would see him from his window seat, sometimes study him, like he studied most people those days
Sometimes that boy would sit in that box all day readin' a book ,of all the crazy things. And Beanpole would wonder why a smart fella like him would spend his all his whole darn days sittin in that old box made of cardboard..
But the one thing Beanpole Kentucky had never seen, was a little girl so damned scared of a seagull, as happenned across the road that day. And what happenned next surprised just near about everybody.