Half-thunk thought: Never walk in front of a man fixin’ to spit

This is a half-thunk opinion.

Don’t walk in front of a man fixin’ to spit. Sounds like simple enough advice, but it’s tricky.

In the south, a man is liable to spit at any time. You need to know the warning signs. Problem is, there aren’t any. Because a man is liable to spit at any time. Especially if he’s chewing on something ... like a thought. Or worse.

Yesterday was my sister’s birthday, and I got to thinking about the tragic day when she learned this lesson the hard way. I was about 9-years-old. Donna - I called her Nonny - was about 6.

A long, hot summer morning of Primitive Baptist preaching turned into a beautiful little white church-in-the-woods Sunday afternoon in the winding road hills of eastern Kentucky. The smell of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, corn bread and cobbler wafted through the pines as the church ladies spread their treasures across a line of picnic tables.

Released from the hard wooden pews, the kids ran around the church yard while the men stretched their legs, lit cigarettes and reached for their pouches of tobacco.

I was in the driveway picking out rocks to throw at fence posts when I looked up to see this scene play out in slow motion:

Nonny, wearing her favorite dress - the light blue/turquoise one she got for her birthday - came skipping towards me. She was about 30 feet away when she darted around a cluster of men on the edge of the driveway. One of the men, the one in suspenders with a pouch of Red Man chewing tobacco in the hip pocket of his baggy gray trousers, turned his head from the group just as Nonny approached - I saw it coming and couldn’t do a thing about it - and spit a huge glob of tobacco gunk all over the front of my sister’s pretty turquoise dress.

Nonny stood frozen, screaming silently in horror. She kinda looked like Sissy Spacek from the prom scene in the movie Carrie.

Happy birthday, Donna. Did that little turquoise dress ever come clean?

Never walk anywhere near a man fixin’ to spit.

This Half-thunk thought is from my book, “Half-thunk Thoughts and Half-fast Drawings.”


JD Crowe is the cartoonist for Alabama Media Group and AL.com and 2020 RFK Human Rights Award winner for Editorial Cartoons.

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