Another Thanksgiving Basket Story: Don’t Cry Over Spilled Coffee!


by Bill Rich

“If those damn Jones kids don’t leave my kids alone, I’m goin’ to come down there and beat the shit out of them!”

“Hi Melba, What seems to be the trouble?” I said.

“I’ll knock the snot out of ‘em!”

“What happened?” I asked.

“You know, I used to live with Sam Jones in the apartment next door till a couple of days ago and I moved in with Johnny Love in the apartment on the other side. Sam and his damned kids are pissed off at me so they started picking on my kids. And I’ll kick the shit out of all of ‘em if they don’t let up. I’m coming down there now and take care of it,” Melba said.

“No, Melba,” I responded. “You know I’ll handle it here. I don’t want you coming down to school now. I’m like the police here so just tell me what’s happened.”

“We’ll it was all fine until early this morning when I got up,” she said. “Sam was outside the door good and drunk. I opened the door to tell him to fuck off. He pulled his pants down and waved his dick around at me. He laughed at me and said I was a whore and he knew I wanted more of his dick. Why didn’t I just suck it one more time for old times sake? Then I just chucked my cup of coffee on his dick, the whole cup. He started cussing and jumping around and said he’d get me and my kids for that.”

“Ok Melba, “ I said. “I’ll handle it here at school. I’ll talk to your kids and Sam’s kids and there will be no trouble at this school. But you can’t come down here for a few days. I’ll call you later this morning to let you know how things are going.”

Melba was a very big and strong woman. I first met her face-to-face when she came to school on the first day and plopped herself down in the office chair looking pale and tired. She had completely red, blood shot eyes. The school secretary, Betty, introduced us and asked how Melba was feeling?

“Tired out. Just had another baby at home yesterday.”

“How’s the baby doing?” asked Betty.

“Oh, fine,” said Melba.

Melba worked every summer in the woods as a cook for the logging camps. And every year she became pregnant with a different logger or cook. She had 7 children when I first met her. Of course CPS knew the home well and responded right away with a home visit after the secretary called. Melba didn’t hold it against her or me and was happy for the medical attention to her kids. According to Melba, the hospital wouldn’t take her when she showed up in labor. I visited her apartment once every other week in an overt attempt at building a kind of relationship with her. It was not easy to determine who lived where because there were many people and children around the row of one-story apartments. I always responded to her phone calls and worked at helping teachers understand the situation her kids were in. She got a turkey and food basket every year at Thanksgiving.