May Jones
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May Jones

I guessed May Jones was the most brilliant singer I'd heard since I don't know who. Every Sunday she sings us all in to Heaven, I swear. She's done a really good job of reachin in and grabbin what she could from the Choir too. I guessed we had the best Choir in the County. Even Alice Kemp sounded tolerable and its a wonder since she went around screamin at her kids most times. It's a wonder she had a voice at all. After Billy's voice changed he became a real fine tenor and a credit to the Choir.

That's a real warm story for me. It was just after he'd come down from the Flag Pole and realized what was goin on in his mind about Jean. No wonder he didn't have too much to say to me on that long walk home. Its no wonder he didn't have to much to say to most anyone in the following two weeks after his Flag Pole adventure. He had a lot of things on his mind I guess.

Well...I suppose May Jones'd rescued him in a way. When life hits ya in the face and changes things without your permission, what ya gonna do? May'd caught Billy mopin around drinkin sodas in her Cafe. She'd seen him mopin his way through Church and I guess she figured bein his age was what was wrong.

So anyways, May catches Billy this one day at the Cafe and tells him she could sure use another Choir member. You know, someone a bit younger and with a voice just like Billy's. I guess Billy'd almost fell off his chair thinkin he might be special to anyone. So May tells him to come to Choir rehearsal the following Thursday night at 7 o'clock sharp. Doesn't Billy high tail it outta the Coffee Shop and doesn't he land straight into me. After apologizing a hundred ways to Sunday he starts rattling on about how he's gonna sing in the Choir. I've seen changes come about in people but never was I so happy ta see this one. So off he goes chargin like a bat outta hell to home.

Billy'd been a regular Sunday School goer since he could walk. Now he was thirteen. Now he was gonna be part of the Church in a way he'd only imagined.To top it off he was gonna be in the Choir!How special could things get? He supposed the Busy Bee'd understand him havin ta go to choir practice Thursday nights instead of stocking the shelves. He'd have ta give up some of his working time. Oh well, he was gonna be in the Church Choir!

Friday morning, instead of staying in I decided I'd check out May's Cafe and get the details of the night before. Now, I'd just figured that Billy'd be more excited than a Goose at feedin time for his first practice, but the way May described it was something else. Of course everybody knew that May was prone to exaggeratin most of the time and I guess'd that was one reason she got so many customers. She was so entertainin, if ya know what I mean.

Well, I guess Billy'd quit work earlier than necessary so's he could go home and get spiffed up for the coming event. I mean, he usually started work at 4 o'clock and went until nine on Thursdays on account of havin ta stock the shelves for people's big shopping days Friday and Saturday. But, seems he'd asked ta leave at 5:30. Buzz Baker, the Manager had reluctantly given him permission all the while wonderin why he couldn't work til 6:30 at least seein how the Church wasn't all that far away and wouldn't Billy have lots of time to get there. It was five minutes down the road. Buzz was pretty smart and Billy'd always gone that little bit extra for him, so...

Anyways, May says Billy'd arrived at 6:30. She knew since she'd arrived just as he was about ta set down on the Church steps ta wait. He was beamin she says but lookin just a little bit outta breath with all the rushin she'd guessed he'd been doin. He had his Sunday clothes on. She thought he'd even spit and polished his shoes. He was a real concern she said. Now I knew Billy was always real ready to please. June and Norm Brown had really raised a fine upstanding member of the community. I also knew that May Jones had a pretty high standard when it came to her choir. As much as she was willin ta give Billy this chance and knew that it meant all the world to him, she was tough.

Now here I was setting there listening to May recount her story of Billy's arrival and wasn't gettin just what I wanted, if you know what I'm sayin. Here was May on about his shoes and his Sunday Best clothes and his beaming face, tellin the rest of the customers how excited he was in her very best and loudest voice. I wasn't sure what to think until May pours herself a cup and sets down next ta me. I supposed May knew why I was there since I wasn't a regular Friday mornin customer and she knew Billy and I were pretty comfy. So, she leans over her cup and not in her usual loud voice starts tellin me the awful story.

Well, I guess they'd gone into the Church and May'd got Billy busy doin some chores for her, settin out the music and all. Come seven o'clock everybody starts arrivin and talkin and the usual carryin on til May gets to tellin them to settle down for practice. Well, May says she told Billy to listen to the first bit and then she'd have him join in. She gives him his part and doesn't he open his mouth and let out the biggest frog voice since the beginning of time. Well, she says, everybody just sat there not knowing what ta think let alone what to say. Billy's face just hit the floor and she says, he darn near started to cry. May'd seen this happen before she says and well she could hardly keep herself from burstin out laughin.

Well, I was settin there listening to old May Jones make fun of my Billy and I darn near grabbed her throat. Before I could leap at her she grabbed my arm and put a big May Jones smile on and said calm down. I guessed she saw me comin. Its lucky the Old Bag had a sense of timing. She leans further into me and starts tellin me how beautiful his voice was. Talk about a turn around. I knew May was a kidder and full of stories but I'd get her back for this one. Seems Billy had a beautiful Tenor voice the likes she hadn't heard in she couldn't remember when. I left May's Cafe thinkin I'd never go back after her raggin me on so, but beamin brighter than a star in a clear blue night, so proud I was of Billy. I couldn't wait to get to Church on Sunday.

Come Sunday morning I put on my best dress. This was a very special occasion for me and I guessed for Billy. I set myself down right up front wantin Billy ta see just how proud I was of him. The Minister, Reverend Plaskett, was wondering what was up since I never set so close. I just winked at him and smiled. He could ask if he wanted to. I guessed he wouldn't.

Well, I never sang so loud and was never so moved by a Sermon before in my life. I think the whole event got me going like Church never had before. Billy sang like a bird right down in front of the whole Choir. They sure found themselves a gift in that boy. I don't know but God sure works in mysterious ways. That's most of what all I can say about it. God bless May Jones for givin him the chance; God bless Jean Kemp for gettin married; God bless Buzz Baker for understanding the needs of a child; God bless Norm and June for havin him and God bless Billy for bein Billy.

Well, I guess I was pretty darn lucky. I guessed I wouldn't be sleepin in on Sunday mornin like I sometimes did. May's Cafe seemed like the place ta go for a real good cup of coffee. The whole darn town took on an even bigger importance ta me and Billy and Me seemed to have a whole lot more ta think about.

Harmonyville Links

The Folks of Harmonyville
Madge Farquarson
The Busy Bee - A Story
The Talent Competition
Dick Barrymore
Dog Days - A Story
Hank Brown - A Story
The Bake Off!- A Story
Guiness - A Billy Story
Back to Harmonyville

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