Deke 'n da Debble's Yarn, Part 1


  • Humor
  • ,
  • Faith

    Poem Commentary

    A bit of prosaic humor in three parts, offered in three installments.

    Deke 'n da Debble's Yarn, Part 1

    Deke had another name, but nuh-buddy ‘membered it.

    He had served the Shrieveport Salvation Temple

    deaconate for over thuty yeers. And culd dat big Creole yarn it!

    Like da time I wuz sittin in da shade of his porch sharin’ 

    an iced tea from a quart jar, ‘cept the ice wuz all melted.


    His long thin fingers stroked at some grizzled hair offin his chin,

    thinkin’, as he preened just so. Satisfied, he cast a dark eye

    my way, makin’ sure I wuz payin’ him proper mind.

    He had a way a lookin through ya, like a porch houn’ lickin’ his chops,

    watchin through da screen door at the slow gravy runnin’  down

    a plateful of steamin’ biscuits on da kitchin table.

    Earnest like dat, Deke wuz.


    Deke smiled, den began to laugh. At fust, I thought it wuz me.

    But den he started shakin’ his shaved head. Dark and glistenin,
    in da afternoon sun. “My son, jess call me from da Bible College

    last night. Hooo, what he did say! Wut did dat son o’mine say?”

    I looked back curious, my interest growing. I began to smell a yarn unravellin’.

    “So, wut did he say?” I mustered. Deke jess kept da laughin.’


    Der wuz sumthin’ ‘bout that laugh. It crawled inside ma shirt, 

    an’ tickled ma ribs like Momma sudsin’ da ‘nameled washboard. Helpless, 

    I began to laugh boyishly in spite of my attempt to be all grown-up like, 

    A nervously loud chortle betrayed me. “Heh-heh, heh-heh, hahaha!”

    I din’t wan’ to disrupt da Deke ‘cuz he wuz going sum where

    An’ I wanted ta jus ride da shotgun. It wuz a promisin’ lookin’ ride from where I sat.

    But I need’nt ha’ worried. He wuz jus wurkin’ hisself to da task, he wuz.


    Dark eyes glinting in da sun, Deke began, “Well! - - My son

    Derek call last night alright, alright.  It bein’ campus revival week, ‘n all. 

    Tole me dat he saw our former preacher, Benny “Bing” Gilley dere.

    ‘Cept, he done been promoted. He now da Conference Bishop.

    Mebbe you doln ‘rmember his bes fren’ ‘vangelist Lazarus Leach?

    Ol ‘Laz’ wuz da ‘vangelist dat wuz here ‘bout ten year ago.

    You wuz jus a pink crawdad back in the day, small as frog bait.”


    I ignored the deprecation. Derek wuz my best frien’ and only one year older.

    Back in da day, Deke referred to, I wuz two inches taller’n him, 

    and never lost a wrassle, neither. Besides, Deke wuz smilin’ 

    his big side-faced grin, an’ I wuzn’t ‘bout to let him have da pleasure

    of a cheap zing.  So I jes chang’d da subjeck.

    “I ‘member Pastor Laz, he always had da bes stories in his sermons.”


    “Yessuh, an’ he wuz da’ drezzer, dat one. If’n he weren’t da man o’ da cloth,- -

    man o’ da cloth,” Deke repeated, savorin’ his pun,” he’d a bin a ladies man fo shur!” 

    Deke paused to stroke back an irritatin’ whisker along his top lip.

    “Fact, his missuz wuz da prettiest in da whole congregashun... 

    my own, excepted, God res her soul.” Deke let out a sigh, sorrowful like.

    He let the moment pass, and began ta laugh again.

    This time I let him laugh by hisself. Outta respect for the departed.


    Besides, it was apples agin’ oranges, or more precisely put, chocolate versus vanilla. Deke’s wife’s cheeks were chiseled out of light roast coffee, mixed with a bit o’cream. And Laz and his wife were handsome, but white, in a glamour tanned manner. Deke wore a smile of honest approval of their memory. In the racially segregated neighborhoods of Shrieveport, Salvation Temple was ahead of the times. 


    It was the first Anglo founded church for 200 miles, mebbe 500 miles around, heck, mebbe in da whole country, to acquire a Black pastor.  The day Reverend Walter B. Wright replaced the belov’d Bing Gilley, not a single Anglo member left. Not everyone in the community understood why folks would not just allow, but choose, an African-American as its pastor. And many adamently refused to attend for no other reason den dat, but dere excuses all rang a bit shallow an’ redneck narrow. 


    “Heh-heh, heh-heh, wheeez.” Deke allowed the laugh to die, an’ tried to compose hisself, but suddenly, he was fightin’ another memory, rudely interruptin’. Like da kid in front o’ you wigglin’ his ears just as da teacher calls on you; an’ cuttin’ da cheek cheese just as ya begin to ansa, dat kind o’ distractin’. 


    “Sorry, I’m gettin’ ahead of ma-seff,” Deke confessed.

    “See, Bing ‘n Laz wuz talkin’ ‘bout how da revival was agoin’, and somehow dey

    got to ‘memberin’ ‘bout somethin’ dat actually, factually happen dat very visit when Laz wuz last here ten year ago.”


    “ ‘Den dey took to arguin’ friendly like about da story. Pastor Bing, he say, “Dere’s some stories dat belong to da Debble, an ha’ no place in da sermon.” But Laz, he say, “I can tell even da Debble’s yarn, an’ use it fo da Lawd.” Bing, he try one more time to be da’ voice of wizdem, but Laz, say, “You watch, ‘Dis de las’ night, I’ll use it ‘dis jess afor da’ altar call. A man o’ God can take ANY story an’ use it to illustrate da Lawd’s truth.”

    Right then, I ‘membered sumthin’ Momma once quoted ‘bout pride a goin’ afor a fall;

    bright yellow lights aflashin’ in my brain. But Deke kept right on talkin’, as his wuz stuck on green.

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    wheelsal commented on Deke 'n da Debble's Yarn, Part 1


    Ok. I read this and now am pulled into part II. My green light can't wait. Don't even try for a prose poem with this. Put it all into prose. Luv the south talc. Ya doin fin.

    Stryx commented on Deke 'n da Debble's Yarn, Part 1


    Well - 'taint a pome, but I'm tellen ya I do like it a whole bunch.



    Not sure of Deke knows any pomes. We'll hav'ta see 'bout dat.

    SavVySam commented on Deke 'n da Debble's Yarn, Part 1


    You have set the scene and established the characters so well. I am really enjoying the telling of this tale and following along where you may lead us. Incredible usage of dialectal in their humor!



    Deke say, "Heh, Heh, Heh, SavVy, you 'bout to be in a teach'ble momen'!"

    dahlusion commented on Deke 'n da Debble's Yarn, Part 1


    You have exposed yourself as a master story teller of the highest light degree. Bravo!!



    Thank you, sir dahlusion!

    ginga commented on Deke 'n da Debble's Yarn, Part 1


    Harver, I read this one orally and had quite a fun time with the southern creole dialect. Very enjoyable and a bit of a diversion from your previous posts albeit refreshing! ginga

    Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion.

    T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) American-English poet and playwright.

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