Author’s Note: “Dedicated to Big Gus, Daddy’s friend”…Big Gus was Aunt Francis son and when she moved in to take care of me, Big Gus came with her. They lived in a small clapboard one-room shanty nearby and they help raise me, I loved them both very much. Aunt Francis an elderly woman was a slave on a plantation on top of Burleson Mountain, she gave birth to Gus when she was only thirteen years old.
When days get bad within my mind, I travel back to another time. The fog
clears and memory sends to me, a gentle soul, and a man among men.
As a child his friendship I won, he a child of a slave woman, and the
Masters son. Everyone called him Big Gus, though when I knew him he had
shriveled with age, a religious man, he could recite the bible without
ever turning a page.
Big Gus looked upon life steadily, he felt alive and whole, he road an old
rusty bicycle wherever he would go. He lived in a little house on my daddy’s land; they
respected each other, man to man. We buried Big Gus one cold gloomy day; I did not
understand why my best friend had to go away. Daddy placed a marker upon his grave,
when he bought it he looked at me asking, “Besides his name baby girl, what should it
An inventive child, even in those days, of my childhood friend I knew exactly what I
wanted the marker to display.
“IN HIS LIFE HE WAS NEITHER DULL NOR WILD; HE WAS KNOWN AS BIG GUS THE MASTERS CHILD.”
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