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Going To Williamsport

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What if you were much too embarrassed beyond mere words to see your own mother cheer you on as you take the big stage hundreds of miles away? This is Sooner's situation, and his story for the ages is Going to Williamsport, as he faces a mother suffering through acute paranoid psychosis, or just simply really crazy things, in the early years of deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill during the Eisenhower administration. As the awkward moments pile up, the dirty looks and misunderstandings multiply in town, and the psychotropic drugs and Demedication sessions gather endlessly without the option to "just put her away" anymore, the only child Sooner only sees his own embarrassment and severe contempt for a Semper Fi father who will not deny his marraige vows, nor his unbelievable love for his own son. Going to Williamsport matters more than anything to Sooner, but definitely not at the expense of seeing "her" in those stands. In his own yery young words, he takes as much as he possibly can, and then makes incredibly clear in the clearest of places that he alone, with his team is Going to Williamsport, and Dad isn't and certainly Mom isn't, either. Sooner's story plays out as a kid farther away from the far western Oklahoma Panhandle than he's ever been.

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Yes, My Name Is Sooner!

If I take just one more, just-one-more 105-degree dang day, I swear I will get in that town pool without my clothes on!

Now really, did you expect me to wear just underpants in the pool? Underpants! Some people in life just make you sick to your stomach. Me, I’m more decent about things. It’s too dang hot, I want to be cool, the shirt comes off, the jeans come off, so do the socks, so do those—yes those. The things parents buy when you’re not looking, when they trot you off to Tulsa or Oak City (that’s Oklahoma City for you Yankees) to buy cute, stupid, back to school stuff that supposedly designed to make you look smarter or your folks get their money back.

But in case this is not clear yet, I’m neither cute nor stupid, and my real name is Justin, but you better call me Sooner cause, well, that is who I am! I go to Catholic school and I’m in sixth grade now, for crying out loud. We wear uniforms there, not cute, stupid clothes, so let’s say that altogether now, u-ni-forms!

Admit it, mister, I open my little mouth once, and four letters come out of your big mouth—H-I-C-K.

Do you know—do you know I am from none other than Keyes, Oklahoma, population 324 ish? Spell it right, you dummy, because there is another Keys in the state! Ours ain’t like the keys to your car where you spent the last half of your last date, I know that so don’t pretend you didn’t. Let’s try this again, and try not to spill that coffee in your lap: K-e-y-e-s. See, you survived that spelling test, which shows you’re way ahead of my last fifth-grade 65 grade in the subject at St Lawrence School.

Larry would survive in Keyes, that’s St Lawrence when the nuns aren’t looking, you know. When it gets hot as a griddle in Keyes, what does Larry do? Get upset, hell no. Go swimming in his damn underpants, he’s a saint what is your problem? Stay inside and get too much gas drinking Dr Pepper, I hope not.

Let me help me you here: Larry takes everything off (those too), takes a nap on the griddle when it’s hot as a griddle, and when it gets to be too much here in the Panhandle, does he panic? Did you or did you not get the saint part of this? Larry simply says, “Turn me over, y’all, I’m done on this side!” Read it yourself, go to Mr. Butler’s book on the saint subjects, and tell me I’m a liar!

See? Now that we’ve established that your new friend Sooner does not lie about saints called Larry that refuse to cool off on griddles in the Oklahoma Panhandle just wearing their underpants, can we go on to the county question now?

You can look up this one as well—this is Cimarron County, and do not, do not forget the second r or you will regret it! If you can’t have a hullabaloo in my City of Keyes, we’ve got 2,500 of us in the county that can show you their truck, or their cattle, or their big ass ranch, or our county seat of Boise City, or their church, which probably isn’t Catholic but whoopdedoo to them, too!

Look straight north, and that is Colorado. Slightly right from there is Kansas. Turn the hell around, and you would be in the most worthless, God forsaken, underprivileged state in the union when it’s time for Texas-OU weekend in Dallas. Yeah, that one, and we pretend that one does not exist in mine. Look right before you vomit cow dung and you’ll see New Mexico.

Figure it out yet? Having fun in my world yet? Do you possibly think I actually care yet? Don’t get carried away on the friend thing yet, since you’ll really never know me yet or forever.

Dad and Mom? Yeah, I have one of both, isn’t that what the health textbooks say? No brothers or sisters, though. Dad can drive his 16 miles to the county clerk’s office blindfolded after twenty years working there, the first eight after his wedding over in Guymon, then I came along and then there were the next twelve.

Do we have to talk about Mom?

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