Morris Bastion knew my Mom. Well, just about everybody in Monroe City did, actually. "Tom Dierkes"? "Dorothy McClintic's boy.". "Oh, yes, I know you!".
When Alfred and I dropped by Morris Bastion's Purina Feed Store, Morris always treated me like I was a man. We spoke of crops, cattle prices, and other farmy stuff. Hey, the same stuff he talked to Alfred about.
Morris never treated me like an 11 year old boy. Not for an instant. Morris was one of my best friends.
During my early teens, it would seem I had two lives. One were summers in Indian Creek, which is near Monroe City (OK, near Hannibal, MO for those who are geographically limited.:) and the other were the other nine months in Independence, MO.
You would think with such good friends as Morris Bastion, Johnny Smith (nearest farmer to the west), and Tom Hayes (farmer living near the Green Place), that I would have been a very well adjusted young fellow. I was during the summers.
But the winters were long. My school friends were such that whenever two or more of them gathered together, I would be the butt end of their jokes. There was always friction between the bullies and myself as well. Insecurity was my constant compassion.
So is it any wonder I just wanted to work? Something that would endear me to Morris.
There is a comfort to be found in doing a job and getting recognized for a job well done. It's also a whole lot easier if you only have to be obedient.
There is no telling where this would have led if hormones and self hadn't gotten in the way when I was 16.