Monday, November 06, 2006

Tail of three Monkeys

My friend recently sent me a funny email joke about persimmons which brought memories from my childhood and youth, and promped me to write this BLOG concerning persimmon trees and monkeys.

Growing up on Woodrow Street in Frayser, we had 13 persimmon trees in our back yard. I know personally the effects of eating them green. I remember Possum Miller (Miller Auto Sales, Hwy 51 in Atoka) was our neighbor. He had gotten a monkey for Christmas but the monkey escaped and lived in the 13 persimmon trees in our back yard. He never could be caught and lived in them trees for about 5 years until one winter he froze to death. But during his lifetime, he used to pick persimmons off the trees and throw them at us kids whenever we were in the back yard. His aim got to be pretty good. He was paying us back for constantly teasing him. He use to mess with us too by sneaking up to the back door and knocking on it, then running back to the trees. He sorta liked me because I would sneak a banana and give it to him. He was too smart to come close. I had to leave it under the tree and go far enough away for him to come down and grab the banana. Whenever we had a picnic in the back yard, he would go bannans and throw them persimmons at us kids. But, I think he liked me as I made sure he had some watermelon.

My next encounter with a monkey was when I attended Memphis Academy of Arts in 1967, (I had won a scholarship). The class had gone to the zoo to learn how to draw tigers and lions quickly. Well, I wandered off and wound up going to the monkey house. I had heard a rumor that one of them monkeys smoked cigarettes. My curiosity got to me, so I took out a cigarette and was flaunting it to all the monkeys. Sure enough, this one monkey went bananas and wanted my cigarette. Well, I lit it and gave it to him. He was one happy monkey as he was swinging and smoking! However, a zoo attendant came in and I got busted and escorted out the front gate!

That monkey story leads me to yet another one. It was Vietnam in 1969 and my roommate had gotten a monkey from a local Vietnamese guy. The monkey lived in our hooch, but this monkey was an alcoholic. He was always dressed up in a vest and cowboy hat. He had a best friend who was a dog. You could not have a drink of whiskey without him having one. He also smoked. It was funny watching that monkey. He use to get drunk and jump on the dog and ride him like a horse. The monkey lived there during my whole tour of duty. He was a friendly monkey as long as he had a drink and a cigarette. I often wondered about his fate? He most likely died of cirrhosis or lung cancer.

I took this B&W photo back in 1969
where the monkey and I lived.

So, what did I learn from my monkey experiences?
That one monkey don't stop the show!!

Watch a smoking addicted monkey video


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