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Christmas Eve 1975

by Rob Warr

Part 2

Thanksgiving was fast approaching, and as always it was a big thing at the farm. Granny always cooked a huge turkey, a ham, and she and mom would prepare all the usual side dishes, desserts, and of course granny's home made yeast rolls. Since our neighbors, the Hadleys, had so many kids, and according to gramps, didn't have two nickels to rub together, the last two years we had invited them to dine with us.

Of course, having their pride, the Hadleys insisted on bringing some of the food, and that's how I was first introduced to raisin pie. Now as a kid, I'd always thought raisins were nasty and disgusting. After all they were dried up....grapes or something, right? But Mrs. Hadley's raisin pies were delicious. Of course it took some doing to get me to even take a bite of one, but just to be polite I took a small piece, and wound up eating two more that first Thanksgiving. Of course raisins are a natural laxative, and I paid the price the next day, but that's another story.

This year, not only were the Hadley's coming for Thanksgiving, but so were Will and his mom. His dad was out of town, some big deal in Chicago Will said, but after hearing his concerns about his dad I wondered if he was out 'getting some' instead of being at some meeting.

But I wasn't about to let that spoil my Holiday. I had all that food to think about, plus my best pal would be sleeping over Thanksgiving night, and if we could talk the grownups into it, Friday night as well. School let out early on Wednesday, and Will and I met out front to discuss our plans for Thanksgiving as I waited for my bus. Since Will lived in town, he rode his new bike to school most days, but that day his mom had brought him and was picking him up.

"I can't wait till tomorrow," I said excitedly, "Granny is baking a ham and a turkey," I said, my mouth practically watering at the thought of it.

"My mom is bringing a turkey too," Will said, "I guess with so many people going to be there she figured they could use some extra meat," he chuckled.

"Too bad your dad isn't gonna be there," I said digging a little.

"Yeah, well...he's not much on Holidays anyway. I won't really miss him all that much," Will said, sounding angry all of a sudden.

"Is everything okay with your mom and dad?" I blurted out.

"No, it's not, but I don't wanna talk about it, okay?" he said stiffly, and I let it drop.

Fortunately his mom pulled up about then, and we were saved any awkward and embarrassing conversation. Instead I put my arm around Will's neck and bumped heads with him, "I can't wait till Thursday," I said giving him a little hug to boot, "we're gonna have so much fun."

"Yeah, thanks," Will said wiping at his eyes, "see ya' tomorrow," he said giving me a weak smile."

"What time you all coming?" I asked as he walked away.

"Ten, I think. Mom said she wanted to help your mom and grandma get things ready."

"Great, maybe we can talk gramps into letting us drive the tractor again," I said grinning.

"Yeah, hope so, that would be neato," he said as he opened the door of his mom's car, then turning to me he gave me a big smile before climbing in.

The bus pulled up about then, and I piled on and headed toward the back where I usually sat. There were a few older boys back there, but there wasn't a lot of bullying and stuff that went on because our driver, Mr. Daniels, was very strict when it came to that kind of stuff. His favorite thing to say was, "don't make me have to stop this bus and come back there and yank a knot in your tail." I couldn't ever remember him ever having to do that, so I guess the kids who liked to misbehave did it elsewhere.

"Hey Bobby," this kid named Sammy said as he peeked over the back of his seat at me.

Sammy was red haired, freckle faced, and had booger green eyes. Well, that's what Will called them. He said it looked like someone had blown their nose in Sammy's eyes and left big green boogers. I didn't think that was very nice, but I laughed anyway, does that make me bad?

"Hey Sammy, gonna eat lots of turkey tomorrow?"

"Naw," he said frowning, "my old man lost his job and we ain't got no money for a turkey and stuff."

"That's too bad," I said, genuinely sorry for Sammy and his family.

"Yeah, well it's okay. My dad will get another job pretty soon. Meanwhile it's eggs and taters. Anyways, I was wonderin' if you had a pencil I could have. I won't say borrow, cause I can't pay it back, least ways not right now," he said blushing and looking ashamed, embarrassed, and tragic.

"Sure Sammy," I said feeling even sorrier for him, "here, I said fishing two number 2 pencils out of my pencil case, "and don't worry about payin' me back, it's okay."

"Thanks Bobby, you're swell."

"You're welcome. it just you and your mom and dad?"

"I gotta little brother, he's 10," Sammy said.

"Oh yeah," I said, remembering the small version of Sammy from last years town picnic, "You and your mom and dad and little brother should come over to our house tomorrow. We're having the Hadley's over, and Will and his mom, and I reckon four more won't make no difference."

"That's mighty nice of you, but I don't know if my folks would go for that. But thanks for askin'."

"Will you ask them Sammy? I'd really like it if you'd come. We could have a lot of fun on the farm."

"I guess I could ask em'," Sammy said looking confused or something, "Uh...Bobby, how come you're bein' so nice and all?"

"I don't know. I guess I try to be nice most of the time, but sometimes I guess I ain't. I like you Sammy, and I just thought it would be nice to have you and your family over to meet my family."

A tear formed in the corner of Sammy's eye and he wiped it away, "I'll ask em'," he said in a husky voice, "thanks Bobby," then he turned back around and was quiet the rest of the way to his stop.

As he climbed off I watched him till he was out of sight, and suddenly I realized just how good I had it. Oh sure, I wished I had my dad back, and that him and mom and me lived back in the city, but at least I knew I was loved, and we had food to eat, and good friends.

I felt a tear trickle down my cheek and I wiped it away quickly before anyone could see. Then suddenly I realized that I had just invited four more people to our Thanksgiving dinner without asking anyone. I didn't really think granny would mind, but I wasn't sure what my mom would say. I guessed I'd soon find out.

"Don't slam the door," Granny said as I breezed in, letting the screen door slam behind me.

"Oops, sorry granny. What's for snack? I'm starved," I said giving her a quick hug.

"Land sakes boy, you're growin' like a weed," she chuckled, "I might oughta stop feeding ya' to slow ya' down."

"Aww granny, you know you'd never do that," I said grinning, "you like feeding folks too much."

"Well, sit down sonny boy. I got a big slice of chocolate cake for you, and a tall glass of fresh milk."

As I ate my cake I thought of how best to bring up the subject of Sammy and his family. I was just about to begin when my mom suddenly breezed in with a basket of clothes, no doubt headed for the washer on the back porch.

"Oh hi honey, how was school?" she said pausing to kiss the top of my head and give my shoulders a squeeze.

"Good mom, really good...especially since we got out early," I said grinning.

"I guess you're all excited about tomorrow," she said smiling, "Well, there'll be a crowd here, that's for sure, but I think we'll have enough food."

Was there ever any question of that? I wondered, Was asking four more people going to stretch things too thin? I guessed I could eat less if it would help, and probably talk Will into doing the same. Well, best to find out now, while mom and granny were together. Then mustering up my courage I sighed.

"Do you know the Grangers?" I threw out, causing both of them to look my way.

"Fred and Sally?" Granny said, I've known the Grangers since that oldest one, Sammy, was a baby in diapers. He was a pretty baby, but he sort of grew out of it," Granny laughed, then she scolded herself, "I shouldn't say that, he's a handsome boy now, and very sweet natured."

"What about the Grangers?" mom asked, cutting right to the chase.

"Well," I sighed dramatically again, "On the bus today Sammy asked me if he could, have a pencil, cause he didn't have money for one, and he said his dad lost his job and they wasn't havin' no Thanksgiving dinner or nothing," I quickly added, trying to look pitiful, like it was really bothering me, which it was.

"That's awful," Granny said, "Fred is a good hard workin' man, but things are a changin'. These big companies don't care about nothing but profit, and they treat their employees something awful."

I was hoping for more, maybe like Granny or mom telling me I should have invited Sammy and his family over, but neither of them seemed to be thinking like I was.

I was just about to tell them what I'd done when Gramps wandered in and took one look at us and sighed, "What's wrong now?"

Great, surely gramps would see what needed to be done. Maybe it was the men folk who made these decisions. After all, he was the one who said the Hadley's didn't have two nickels to rub together.

"Oh we was a talkin' about Fred Granger and his brood. I guess Fred got fired or laid off at the cement plant and now him and his wife and younguns ain't gonna have no Thanksgiving dinner."

"What happened at the plant?" Gramps asked, ignoring the most important part, NO THANKSGIVING.

"Lord I don't know, you'll have to ask him," Granny said, "but I bet it's cause of that new plant manager, that Mr. Redding. I don't trust that man one little bit."

"Lois you don't even know him," Gramps guffawed, "Maybe we should call the church and see if they can help them out."

Now we were getting somewhere.

"Oh fiddle sticks, we'll just invite them over here," Granny said, and a big smile filled my face. Thank God someone had finally figured out the answer, "especially since Bobby already invited them," she added, giving me that look that says, you can't put anything over on me."

"I..." I started then granny started laughing and I just shrugged, "Was I wrong gramps, granny, mom? Didn't God tell us to feed the hungry and heal the sick, or something like that?"

Gramps burst out laughing, "He's got you there Lois (granny). And Mildred (my mom), you should be proud of this one. He's got a heart as big as the whole outdoors."

I blushed, but soaked up my gramp's compliment and the loving look he gave me. My mom smiled and patted my hand.

"Son, you did the right thing, but next time...ask first, all right?"

"Yes ma'am, " I said giving her my puppy dog eyes and producing a few tears for show, "I just couldn't bear to think that Sammy and his family went hungry on Thanksgiving."

She patted my hand, "We'll make sure that doesn't happen. But it takes a village to do a job like that."

"Huh?" I said.

"Well, the saying is, it takes a village to raise a child, which means neighbors need to get involved and help out where needed. In this case the village is the church, and pretty much everyone in Granger. The hard part is doing that without hurting their pride."

"Especially Fred's pride," Gramps offered, "men don't like to be reminded that they can't provide for their families."

"Well, pride or no pride, we ain't gonna let those younguns' suffer," granny insisted, "Fred can just eat his pride. Anyways, Sally said they'd be glad to come, but she insisted on bringing a dessert. I didn't have the heart to tell her we'd have plenty of food, but I guess we can always send some home with them and the Hadleys."

"Wait," I said suddenly realizing something wasn't right, "How did you know I'd invited the Grangers? Sammy couldn't have beat me home my moren' ten or fifteen minutes."

"And I guess he ran right to his momma and told her that you'd invited them to dinner. She called me right away. She was a little upset that Sammy had told Bobby their troubles, and the poor woman cried some. I assured her that I'd been in her shoes before, and it was no shame to let others help you when you were down, then to help others when they needed it. She said she might have a hard time convincing Fred, but she was determined to bring the kids no matter what. She thanked me a dozen times, and I felt bad for her. Bobby, did the right thing, and I'm proud of you, but like your momma said, next time tell us first and you can count on us doing the right thing."

"I know, I guess I just sort of thought to myself, what would momma, and gramps, and granny do, and that's what I did."

Gramps smiled, "The boy should be a lawyer, or a politician. No, not a politician, they're all crooked and Bobby is as honest as they come."

We all laughed, and I even managed to talk granny out of another small slice of cake.

I awoke early the next morning, dressed quickly, and headed to the kitchen only to find granny and my mom there already busy getting things ready for our Thanksgiving dinner. After a breakfast of oatmeal and toast, washed down by a big glass of milk, I helped gramps do a few chores as we waited for Will and his mom to arrive.

Promptly at ten they drove up in their Chevy and I ran to greet them. After bumping together and hugging, I helped Will and his mom carry in the food, and then Will and I went off to play. The Hadleys and the Grangers weren't due till noon, and we planned on eating about one o'clock. That was a long time for two hungry boys to wait, but I knew that granny would sneak us some food if we begged hard enough.

The weather that day was mild and sunny, which was typical for this time of the year in these parts, and we didn't even need a jacket. After a while Will suggested we climb up into the hay loft, and I followed him up the ladder hoping maybe he had the same thing on his mind that I did.

Ever since that weekend when he'd slept over and the things we'd done, I'd been thinking about him a lot, and not just in a friend kind of way. I was too young and näive to know much about those things, all I knew was what I was feeling, and I sure did like what we'd done. Will had said he knew other things we could do, and I sure was anxious to find out what those things were.

As soon as Will reached the top of the ladder, he went over and fell into the hay that covered most of the floor and just lay there. I piled down beside him and for a while we just stared up at the roof of the barn and didn't say anything.

"Whatcha' thinkin'?" I asked at last, not wanting to waste this alone time if I could avoid it.

"Not much, how bout' you?"

"Not much," I said with disappointment.

"I guess you're wonderin' bout' my dad," he said suddenly.

"You said he was out of town on business," I said rolling over to stare at my friend.

"Yeah, that's what mom said to tell folks if they asked," he sighed.

"What...uh, do you mean?"

He sighed, and sounding near tears he said, "my dad is at my grandma's house."

"But why?" I asked, more confused than ever.

"I told you," Will said sounding miffed, "they ain't been getting along so good."

"You mean, you mean they been fighting and stuff?"

"Not when I'm around, but I know somethings going on. My mom cries a lot and my dad is always mad for no reason."

"I'm sorry," I said rolling over and giving my best friend a little hug.

Will pulled me against him then and began to sob, and I didn't know what to do. I was only 12, and I had no idea what he was going through. All I knew was that my best friend was hurting, and that made me hurt too. I just held him till he stopped crying, and then he sat up and rubbed at his eyes.

"Sorry," he said hiccuping, "didn't mean to be a big baby."

"'s okay," I said blushing a little, "maybe things will get better," I said trying to cheer him up, "maybe if they take some time apart to think about things..."

"I, I think they're gonna get a divorce," Will said looking pitiful, "and if they do, I don't know what will happen to me."

"What do you mean?" I asked, but I'd already thought that same thing.

"I mean I don't know if I'd live with my mom or my dad, or where we'd live. You know? I might have to move away or something."

"But don't most kids live with their moms after they're divorced? I mean your mom is from here, right so she would probably want to stay here, right?"

"I dunno," Will said standing up suddenly, then walking over to the big open door at the back of the barn he just stood there staring at the fields beyond.

I walked up beside him and laid a hand on his shoulder as I tried to think of something to say. But I guess it was enough just to be there and let him know I cared.

The sound of a car crunching on the gravel driveway brought us out of our funk, and Will led the way as we went down to see which guests had arrived first. As we exited the barn we saw a beat up old pickup come to a halt in a cloud of dust, announcing the arrival of the Hadley clan.

Kids began to crawl out of the bed of that old pickup and soon we were surrounded by little Hadley's. Mrs. Hadley climbed out on the passenger side holding the newest little Hadley, 6 month old Linda Sue. Mr. Hadley walked around from the other side to join his wife, and by that time gramps had come out to greet them.

As the two men shook hands I looked the bunch over. Mr. Hadley was skinny and plain looking while Mrs. Hadley was a bit overweight. Gramps had often said that Mr. and Mrs. Hadley were like Jack Sprat and his wife. Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean. I used to laugh when he said that, well unless mom or granny was around.

The oldest boy, Johnny, was 10 and just as skinny as his daddy, but he had a reputation as being a tough little guy that was as good at scrapping as some of the older boys. I'd gone to school with him last year when I was 11 and he was 9, and though I didn't know him very well, Will and I sometimes sat with him at lunch. Most days his lunch was an egg or cheese sandwich, but sometimes he'd eat the school lunches which were cheap and filling. Will usually ate the cafeteria food, but I always brought my lunch since granny sent such good things to eat.

"Hey Johnny Paul," I said giving him a little smile, "you all ready for some good food?"

"Sure am, I been up all mornin' just thinkin' bout' it. What you all been doin'?"

"We were just up in the hay loft fooling around, "I said looking over at Will who gave me a stern look. He didn't need to worry though, I'd never have told him about Will's folks' trouble, or anyone else for that matter.

The other Hadleys were gathered around us now and I felt a little uncomfortable. The next oldest was Tommy, who was 8, and though not as skinny as Johnny, he was close. He had big blue eyes and blond hair like most of the other kids, but he wasn't what you'd call a handsome kid. He had a big nose and a square chin and he was missing two teeth right in front which made him look like a jack-o-lantern. He was flanked by his little brother Jimmy who was 6, and then Rebecca who was 4. Rebecca was a cute little blondie and she was very friendly. When she saw me and Will she hugged our legs and told us hello.

"Hi Becky," I said bending to look into her cute face, "how are you doin'?"

"Just fine, thank you," she said grinning.

Mom and granny finally came out to see why no one had come in yet, and the women folk got to talking while gramps and Mr. Hadley chatted, so us kids wandered off to play a game of tag. The little ones were easy to catch, but everyone was having fun and it helped us forget all that food that was being prepared inside.

Sammy and his folks came right in the middle of the game, and after everyone said hi, Sammy and his little brother joined us in the game of tag. When we got tired of playing, some of the kids started playing together which left me and Will alone for a spell. Suddenly Sammy came up and sat down by us on the porch.

"Thanks again for invitin' us," Sammy said after a while, "pa didn't want to come at first, but ma told him if he didn't she was gonna' tie him up and bring him anyways," he laughed.

"That's good, I'm glad you all came. After we eat we can play a game of baseball. We got plenty of kids, that's for sure," I said grinning.

"That sounds like fun. I like baseball, but I only get to play at recess at school, on account I ain't got no bat or glove of my own."

"I got one, and so does Will, and he brought it with him cause we usually play catch or something, right Will?"

"Yeah, I like baseball a lot. My dad says I should try out for football, but I don't like it near as much as I like baseball."

"You mean on the school team?" Sammy wanted to know.

"Yeah, the Junior High has a team this year, but I guess it's kinda late to join anyway."

"Man, that sounds like fun."

"Wonder what time it is?" Will said looking restless.

"I'll go see," I said getting up. I walked inside and glanced at the wall clock in the living room and ran back to report.

"It's almost 1. They should be callin' us pretty soon."

"I can't wait," Sammy said, and I swear I heard his tummy growling at me. Maybe the poor kid hadn't eaten since I'd last seen him.

About then my mom came to the door and called us all up to the porch.

"Okay kids, we're ready to serve. Since there's so many of us, we've set up a table on the back porch and all you kids will eat out there. The grownups will eat in the dining room, but we'll get you kids plates filled first. Now instead of lettin' you kids get your own food and make a big mess, one of the grownups will help you and fill your plate. Except Bobby and Will, I know you two boys can do it yourself."

I was afraid Sammy would take offense to being lumped in with the little kids, but I think he was just happy he was going to get to eat, so I spoke up for him.

"Mom, Sammy is our age, he can get his own too, right?"

"What? Oh, yes, I plumb forgot about you Sammy, you can get your food with Will and Bobby, but the little kids go first."

"Thanks," Sammy said once the little kids were gone, then giving me a stern look he added, "but if you'd kept your mouth shut I'd be in there now gettin' my food."

I blushed bright red, and I was about to apologize when Sammy slapped me on the back and started cracking up.

"I'm just joshin' ya', I'm glad to hang out with you guys. It makes me feel good to be included."

"Well, it's only fair," I said, "if me and Will can be trusted cause we're older, then you should be too.

Eventually our turn came, and we filled our over-sized plates with the delicious food. Dessert would be served later after all the mess was cleaned up, so we loaded up on turkey and dressing, ham, and potatoes and gravy. I even took some of my granny's 3 bean salad, cause it's the best I ever ate. Then there was candied sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce, and of course my granny's melt-in-your mouth yeast hot rolls.

Sammy pretty much took some of everything, and his plate was so full everything just sort of ran together. Will concentrated on mostly meat and potatoes, but his plate was not nearly as full as mine and Sammy's.

Instead of eating at the table with the little kids, we sat down on the back step and arranged our drinks at our feet and began to chow down.

"Mmmm...this turkey is so good," Sammy clucked, "so is this stuff," he added pointing to the 3 bean salad.

"That's granny's 3 bean salad, I love the stuff, but it makes me fart," I laughed.

"Well, I fart a lot anyway," Sammy giggled, "cause we eat lots of beans at my house."

"Just don't fart while we're eating," Will chimed in.

"Okay," I said making a farting noise by placing my mouth on my arm and blowing.

"Ewwww..." I heard one of the little kids laugh from behind us, and we all were laughing before too long.

Will and I ate slowly, but Sammy was wolfing his food down like he was afraid there was a time limit, and someone would come along and snatch his plate away before he was through. However, since he had so much food we finished about the same time.

"Man that was good," Sammy said turning the plate sideways and licking the remains of the gravy and stuff off.

"And there's still dessert to come," I reminded Sammy.

"Oh yeah, I can't wait," Sammy said continuing to tongue buff his plate till it was spotless.

"We should go run around and work some of this down so we'll have room for lots of pie and stuff," I suggested.

"Okay," Sammy said easily, "what do we do with our plates and glasses?"

"Come on, I'll show ya'," I said getting up. I led Will and Sammy back into the kitchen, and though mom gave me a curious look, she didn't say anything. I could see her relax when she saw me rinsing our plates and glasses off before sitting them on the counter to be washed later.

The other kids were still busy eating, or playing and talking, and no one seemed to notice us as we passed by on our way out to the barnyard. I suggested we take a walk down by the pond and Sammy was raring to go. Despite being skinny, he was really very athletic and strong, and I'd seen him take down more than one bully on the play ground in grade school.

"Are there any snakes out here?" Sammy asked looking around with interest.

"Some I guess, but gramps says if you don't bother them, they won't bother you."

"I'm not afraid of snakes," he said looking around, "I think they're neat, and I'd like to catch one and take it home, that's all."

"Not a poisonous one I hope," I laughed.

"Naw, just a bull snake or a garter snake maybe."

"Bull snakes are big and mean, but I don't think they bite humans," I said. My one experience with one had been my first week on the farm when gramps was showing me around. The beast had come out of the barn and seemed to be headed right for us and I took off running. Gramps just stood his ground and the thing just crawled on by him and then shot off into the corn field. I got to admit, I think I pooped in my pants a little that day, but after gramps talked to me I wasn't as worried about snakes anymore.

"I hate snakes," Will said, they're evil. "that's what lured Eve into stealing the apple in the Garden of Eden."

I laughed, "How do you know Will? Could've been a cat for all we know."

"Naw, it was a snake, an evil hissing demon of a snake."

"Well, if any snakes come along offering me an apple I'll be sure to say, no sir mister snake," Sammy said, then we all busted up laughing.

We hung out at the pond for a while, and Sammy found a toad which he insisted on carrying back with us. Of course back then we all thought toads caused warts, but that still didn't keep us kids from catching and handling them, even when they peed on us.

Sammy's toad was a big hit with the little kids, and we left them to play with it while we drifted up to the hay loft to talk while we waited for dessert to be served. As we sat on the ledge looking out the big door, Sammy sighed and leaned back on his arms and closed his eyes. I took that opportunity to look him over and what I saw surprised me.

Up until that moment I guess I'd never really thought about how a boy looked. I mean, sure I thought some were handsome and some ugly, stuff like that, but now I was truly looking at this boy and realizing what I'd heard all my life, that beauty was only skin deep. It's not that Sammy was ugly or anything, but there were cuter boys (Will being the cutest), so I guessed you would call Sammy kind of plain. That is until you really looked at him and saw him for what he was. His booger green eyes sparkled that day and for some reason I thought they were the most amazing things I'd ever seen. Then there were his freckles. When you really looked close they seemed to fit his face just right, and give him character and make him seem special and apart from other boys. Then there was his lips. I'd never thought of a boys' lips before, well not that way anyway, but for some reason I thought Sammy's lips looked nice. NO, not just nice, but cute, sweet, kissable. Now where did that come from? I was definitely no expert on kissing, but somehow I just knew that Sammy's lips would feel soft and warm and...suddenly I realized I had a raging hard on, and I blushed as I tried to hide it by adjusting myself.

Sammy's eyes had flickered open while I was examining him, but he was looking out at the pasture and was apparently unaware of my boner, however, Will was staring straight at my crotch with an amused look on his face.

"You're lucky," Sammy said pulling my thoughts in another direction.

"Uh, how's that?" I asked lamely.

"To live on this big ole' farm and have good food and stuff."

"Well, you can come live with us," I teased.

"I would, except I gotta' watch out for my little brother and my ma. Pa says I'm the man of the house when he's gone, and I gotta' take care of em'."

That was a lot of responsibility to put on a 12 year old, but it wasn't my place to tell Sammy's dad how to deal with his son or his family, and I knew it.

"Well, you can just come visit then," I offered.

"Really, could I? Sometime?"

"Sure, Will here visits me a lot, but you can visit too."

"And spend the night?"

"Sure, why not?" I said, feeling especially generous.

"Neat, I'll ask my ma and pa about it when we get home."

Whoa, slow down, I thought, I didn't mean now, or anytime soon. So why did I offer then? Oh well, it might be fun, and who knew what might happen when we slept in the same bed. I blushed as I thought about that. Was I being unfaithful to Will if I messed with another boy? Why was I suddenly having these thoughts about boys anyway? It was all Will's fault, I realized, he'd started all this and he sure better finish it.

After dessert, which consisted of pecan, pumpkin, and raisin pies, chocolate cake, cookies, and ambrosia salad, among other things, we finally got everyone together for our baseball game. Since not everyone had a glove we had to toss the ball gently except to the batter, but we still had loads of fun. The little kids were fun to watch, but they weren't very good at the game. We didn't really care though, and no one was keeping score. The grownup sat on the porch and watched us play, laughing and talking and occasionally offering some advice to one of the kids, and I think everyone had a good time that day.

When it was time for everyone to pack up and go, mom and granny made sure they left with plenty of food to feed their family that evening. As we stood saying our goodbyes Sammy pulled me aside and I wondered what was on his mind.

"I was wonderin' Bobby. You said I could maybe spend the night sometime. Do you think I could do that tonight?" he said quickly, then blushed, his pink skin now bright red, causing his freckles to stand out even more.

"I don't know..." I began, "Will is already stayin' over..." I sputtered.

"Aww...okay, I understand," he said sounding sad.

"I'd have to ask my ma, and make sure it was okay with Will too," I conceded.

"Would you?" he asked, sounding hopeful.

"Okay, wait here. Wait, what do your folks say?"

"They said it was okay, I sort of told em' you already asked me," he said blushing brighter.

I shook my head and rolled my eyes, "Okay, wait here."

I managed to get my mom aside and filled her in on how I had come to invite Sammy over sometime, but wasn't thinking about today, and how he had misunderstood me and had already asked his folks about staying over tonight. Well, at least that's how I saw it.

"Well, I guess one more won't hurt anything," she said smoothing back my hair, "What does Will think about it? After all you invited him first."

"I was gonna ask him next, but I wanted to make sure it was okay with you first."

"Okay, go ask Will, and if he's okay with it then I guess Sammy can stay."

"Thanks mom," I said giving her a hug, then running off to find Will, who not surprisingly was talking with Sammy."

"Can I talk to you a minute Will?"

"If it's about Sammy stayin', it's okay by me," he said shrugging.

"Oh, okay...yeah, mom says it's fine as long as everyone agrees on it."

"Okay, now that that's settled we can figure out what we're gonna do for fun tonight."

After the others were gone, we headed to my room and pretty soon mom came along and knocked on the door.

"Come in," I said hopping up off the bed and meeting my mom at the door.

"I want you boys to take a bath or a shower before bed. You boys ran around all day and got sweaty, and I want you clean when you lay on my sheets."

"Yes ma'am," we all agreed.

"Oh, and Bobby you can lend Sammy a clean pair of your underwear to sleep in."

Sammy blushed bright red but I just chuckled, "Okay mom, clean ones then, and not dirty ones," I said cracking up.

"You know what I meant wise guy," she scolded, but she was grinning. "Well, I'll leave you boys to your playing or whatever, just make sure you get your baths before everyone goes to bed."

"Your mom is pretty," Sammy suddenly said, causing me to look his way. When our eyes met he looked away and blushed, "Sorry, I didn't mean nothin' bad by it."

"Your mom is pretty," Will offered, "that's why Bobby is so pretty," he said jumping on me and dragging me to the floor for a tickle attack.

Sammy soon joined in, and it was every man for himself as we wrestled around and tried to overpower each other. Once, I had Sammy pinned and I looked down into his eyes, and then at those soft full lips of his, and I realized I had a hard on, and worse, that it was pressing against Sammy's leg.

I rolled off immediately onto my stomach and just laid there, afraid that both of them would notice I was hard, and think I was weird or something, but instead Will attacked me and laid down on me pressing his crotch into my butt.

"Oh yeah, I'm gonna get me some baby," he said giggling and moving around on me, and suddenly I realized something hard was pressing against my ass crack.

"Help me Sammy," I giggled, "he's raping my butthole."

"Really?" Sammy said, giggling as he moved closer, "Huh uh, you ain't naked so he can't get to it."

I finally managed to roll Will off of me and we all three sat there for a minute thinking about what had just happened. I wondered why Will had suddenly did what he did. Was it because Sammy was there and he could turn it into a joke. It did seem funny, but there was some sexual tension there too, and I wondered what else might happen with Sammy around. When it had just been Will and me, we really hadn't done all that much, but Will seemed bolder with Sammy here.

Things got quiet then, and Will suggested we read comic books for a while. Sammy seemed happy to just be here and amazed at how many comics I had. He picked out a Harvey Comics and was happily reading it as Will and I chose a book for ourselves. Around six granny called us down to supper and we ate leftovers, but none of us was really that hungry and we didn't eat nearly as much as we did earlier in the day.

Back in my room we read comics for a while and then played some cards, and eventually I decided it was time to start our showers since it was getting late. I offered to let one of them go first, but neither of them volunteered so I grabbed some clean underwear and headed across the hall to the bathroom.

The bathroom across the hall was the one my mom and I used, but I knew her habit was to bathe in the mornings. My grandparents had a bath of their own just off their bedroom at the back of the house, and once they went to bed we never saw them the rest of the night, so I thought nothing of crossing the hall in just my undies.

I decided to take a dump before I took a shower, and afterwards I felt much better as I stepped into the warm spray. With the curtain closed I was soon busy washing the dirt and sweat off. The bar of soap felt good against my skin, and before long I was sporting a boner. I looked down at myself and sighed. It seemed that lately I was hard more than soft and I considered jerking off, but decided to wait and see if anything happened with Will and Sammy.

I made it a quick shower so the others could have some hot water, and was drying off when Will came knocking on the door.

"Can I come in? I need to pee real bad."

"Sure," I said unlatching the door.

Will's eyes went to my naked body as soon as he was inside, and for once I didn't try to hide it. I continued to dry off while Will peed, and when he'd finished he began stripping off his clothes.

"I might as well go next since I'm already in here," he said as he dropped his pants and then his underwear leaving him totally naked now.

My dick, which had begun to go soft, started to rise again as I gazed at Will's naked body and I turned around and used the towel to hide my erection as he stepped into the shower.

"Is Sammy still reading comic books?" I asked when Will was safely behind the curtain.

"Yeah, but truth is, I don't think he reads all that good. I think he's just mostly lookin' at the pictures."

"Then you should show him your nudie book," I joked, "nothing to read there."

"Hey, that's a good idea. I brought it, it's in the bottom of my gym bag. Think he'd go for that stuff?"

"I reckon so, he's a boy ain't he?" I laughed.

"Yeah, and I bet he'd like to see some tits and asses," Will said lustily from the shower.

I finished drying off and slipped on my briefs and was torn between going back to my room and Sammy, or staying there with Will and maybe getting another look at his naked body when he got out of the shower. Since I was afraid of popping a boner again, I decided to go see what Sammy was up to and hope that later something might happen with Will and with Sammy too.

Sammy was sitting on the floor thumbing slowly through a Richie Rich comic book, but when I entered my bedroom he turned his eyes to me. For a minute he just stared me up and down as if he was checking me out or something, then he went back to his book. I plopped down on my bed and grabbed a Mad magazine but my head really wasn't in it.

"You're next," I said referring to the shower, "Oh, I forgot," I said hopping up and bouncing over to my dresser.

Pulling out a pair of practically brand new, and still white Fruit of the Looms, I handed them to Sammy, "They might be a little big for ya' but the elastic is still good and will hold them up."

He took the underpants in his hand and looked at them as if he'd been handed a gold metal, "These are too nice Bobby, don't ya' have some old worn out ones?"

"Nope, my mom replaced all my undies when school started and I ain't got no old ones anymore. Mom made cleanin' rags out of em'."

"Oh, okay. I'll be real careful with em'," he said looking worried.

"Don't worry, I got plenty. Heck, you can even keep those if you want."

"Naw, I'll give em' back to ya'...after my ma washes em'."

"That's fine too."

Will returned then, wearing just a towel as he had the last time he'd showered at my house, and I wondered if he was going to put on a show for both me and Sammy tonight. Sammy seemed to take this as his cue to go take his shower however, and soon it was just me and Will.

Without wasting any time, Will removed his towel and began drying between his legs and his upper thighs. Then putting one foot in my desk chair he began drying his calves, giving me a good look at his butt and at one point his b-hole.

He'd seen mine that one time, and I wondered if he was doing this just to make us even. I had to admit seeing that little brown pucker made my dick jump in my undies, even if I didn't know how much fun a butt could be at that point in my life.

"You got a nice butt," I blurted out suddenly, then covering my mouth as if I'd cussed a blue streak, I blushed and waited for Will's reaction.

"Thanks, yours ain't bad either, but I bet Sammy's is skinny," he laughed.

"I was just joking," I said, suddenly feeling the need to justify my statement.

"Then I don't have a nice butt?" he asked looking hurt.

"Yes, no...I mean, I don't know. It's okay I guess, nice and round, and smooth..."

He laughed, "Do you want to feel it?" he said moving closer and then turning to present his perfect shiny globes for me to admire.

"Uh, that's okay," I said, pretending not to be interested.

"Aww...come on, just feel em'," he begged.

"I...," was as far as I got as my hand snaked out and I ran my hand along the soft, smooth skin of perhaps the most beautiful ass I'd ever seen. Well, okay I hadn't seen that many, but of all the ones I had, Will's was the nicest.

Just about then Sammy came barging through the door, took one look at us and burst out laughing, "What're you guys doin', playing dirty games?"

"No, I was..." I sputtered, but I had no answer, fortunately Will did.

"I dared him to touch my butt and he didn't chicken out. Now I dare you," he said, making it into a game.

"Sure, no problem," Sammy giggled, and not only did he feel Will's ass, both cheeks, but he even gave it a little squeeze.

Now I was jealous. I wanted to squeeze it too, maybe even...even, kiss it. Oh man, kiss his butt? I groaned, and I realized that given the chance I would gladly do just that and maybe more.

"There, now you've both felt my perfect butt," Will said, grabbing his underwear and slipping them on.

I couldn't help but notice that Will had chubbed up some, and it took his hand down the front and some readjusting to get the lump hidden away.

Sammy was wearing the briefs I loaned him and I finally turned my attention to him and looked his skinny body over. Naked he didn't look nearly as skinny as I'd guessed, but he was still a lot slimmer than me or Will. I'd have guessed he weighed maybe 10 pounds less than me, but he was muscular and wiry looking which fit the way he acted on the playground and in sports.

His skin was pale pink and he even had a spattering of freckles on his chest. His upper body was smooth, but I couldn't tell if he had pubes yet since he was wearing my briefs. I'd hoped to get to see him naked, but I guessed he might be a little shy being in a strange place and all.

"Now what can we do?" Sammy said looking at me and Will expectantly.

I looked at Will and he smiled and winked, "I know, ever seen a nudie book Sammy?"

"Yeah, you got one?" he asked excitedly.

"I sure do, but first we gotta lock the door and turn out the lights," Will said.

"But how we gonna see anything?" Sammy protested.

"With this," I said digging my flashlight out of the drawer.

"Oh yeah, okay...then let's do it. I want to see me some nekkid pictures."

We piled down in my bed, Sammy in the middle, and I held one side of the book while Will held the other and Sammy shone the flashlight on it.

"Oh man, this is bettern' the one my cousin had," Sammy said in awe of the full color pictures of men and women having sex.

"Hey, that's where I got mine," Will laughed, "from my cousin Ronnie, and he showed me some cool stuff too."

"Like what, jacking off?" Sammy asked with interest.

"Yeah, and other stuff," Will said mysteriously.

"Like what, blow jobs and butt fucking?" Sammy said, causing me to almost bust out laughing.

Wow things were sure moving along fine now, I thought, but wait, butt fucking?

"Not butt fucking," Will said, "but I know all about that too."

How? I wondered. Where could Will have learned about butt fucking, and was it really what it sounded like.

"My cousin butt fucked my other cousin," Sammy said evenly, as if it were no big deal, "my cousin is 14 and his brother is my age."

"Did you see him do it?" Will asked. I was glad Will was doing the questioning because I wasn't sure I was up to it.

"Naw, he just told me and I asked my other cousin and he said he did and that it hurt like a mother f-er," he said giggling.

"Wow, real sex," Will said.

"I bet it feels good," Sammy said suddenly reaching down to adjust himself.

"Do you jack off Sammy?" Will asked then he quickly added, "I mean, I know you do, all boys do. Do you do it a lot? Cause I sure do."

"Yeah, every day when I can find some time without my dumb brother bothering me."

"Well, just teach him how and he can do it too," Will suggested.

"I might," Sammy said.

The next page was of a blond giving a hairy guy a blowjob and Sammy seemed very interested in that one.

"Man, I wish I had her here right now," Sammy said, "I'd let her suck my pecker and I'd sperm in her mouth too."

So Sammy did make sperm, interesting, and probably had pubes too.

"Ain't no girls here, just us," Will said suggestively.

"Well, I guess we could jack off," Sammy said making it sound like the most sensible thing in the world.

"Yeah, me and Bobby do that sometimes," Will said eying me for my reaction.

"Yeah, and once we jerked each other off," I confessed. Might as well get it all out there.

"Let's do that," Sammy said, pushing the book down to reveal a rather large tent in the underwear I'd loaned him.

"Okay, but let's take off our underwear so we don't get nothing on them," Will suggested.

Was this really going to happen, was it really this easy? I wondered. It sure seemed like it and I suddenly realized that bringing Sammy into the mix had made things easier. I mean it seemed like Will knew just what to say and do to get him interested, and Sammy was anything but shy when it came to messing around.

Laid out naked, we checked each other out first in the flashlight beam and I was surprised to see that Sammy was circumcised. His pecker was fat with a big head and his balls were pretty big too. I almost missed his pubic hair at first, but then noticed a little patch of reddish hair just above his pecker. Hard, he was maybe 4" long, a little smaller than me and an inch smaller than Will, who had the biggest pecker of us three.

"Neat, you guys got ur' skin, all my brothers do cept' me. I was borned in a danged hospital and they cut mine off, but all the rest was borned at home and didn't get their peckers trimmed."

"It looks nice," I blurted out, "I mean that's kind of what mine looks like when I pull the skin back."

"Yeah, I like yours," Sammy said reaching for it and tugging at the skin.

I gasped in shock at how good it felt and reached over to return the favor. With his other hand Sammy reached over and took Will's pecker and began working it as well and before long we were all three breathing heavy as we enjoyed the feeling.

"Wait, I want to feel some one too," Will said after a while.

I wasn't sure what he had in mind, but I soon learned as he had us move into a sort of circle on the bed and we were able to make a little chain with me working Will's cock, him working Sammy's, and Sammy working mine. That way we were all working only one cock and able to better put all we had into it.

Before long I was panting heavily and I knew I was getting close. I stared over at Will who had his eyes closed, but I could tell from the look on his face that he was close too. It was Sammy however who came first, but it didn't slow him down as he continued to jerk my hard pecker, and pretty soon I was blasting away too. Last to come was Will, but it was a gully washer, as my gramps liked to say, and he got it all over my hand and his body.

I remembered the towel Will had brought in with him and somehow managed to get it without making a mess on the bed or the floor, then cleaned up and tossed the towel to Will who did the same then handed off the sticky towel to Sammy.

"You guys come a lot," Sammy said as he wiped his modest amount of thin clear liquid of his stomach.

"Yeah, well you did okay too," Will said, "man that wore me out. I'm so tired," he said stretching and yawning.

Then reaching down, he grabbed his underwear and slipped them back on. I followed his lead, then Sammy, and soon we were under the covers and working our way toward dreamland.

"That was fun," Sammy said sleepily, "thanks guys for letting me play with you."

"You're welcome," Will said for both of us, "maybe next time we can do something else that's fun."

There it was again, that promise of more to come. When was it going to happen, and what exactly was it? I guessed I'd have to wait to find out, and with that in mind I fell asleep.

As it turned out, not only did Will not get to spend the next night with me, his mom came and got him right after breakfast, and I didn't see or hear from him again until school on Monday. Sammy hung around till his dad came to get him around two o'clock, and then I was all alone once again. Those times were the worse for me, and I always started feeling sorry for myself if left alone too long. I tried to read, even did my homework, but by bedtime I was ready to just go to sleep and get away from my lonely life.

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