The Day My PapPaw met Bonnie & Clyde
I was going through some old books at my parent’s house the other day when I came across an old letter. The edges were kinda worn and faded, and you could tell it hadn’t been opened. Inside it was beautiful penmenship in pencil and a story by the first man that ever told me I was beautiful. A man I dearly loved and lost at 11 years old. And a story unlike any other.
It described a hot day in May in rural Bienville Parish where my PapPaw, then known as Melvin, was walking to a “prayer meeting.” It was an all day event…walking to church, having the prayer meeting and then walking back home. He had been staying with some relatives that day and had been walking a long time. Cars were scarce on those roads, but just as he was wishing for a break, a car came up and approached him.
There was a man and a woman in the car. He took note how devoted the man’s wife was because he was holding her husband’s cigar. He thought it was strange that she had a blanket covering something in her lap on such a hot day, but when they offered him a ride, he couldn’t refuse.
He rode with them a good while…hanging on the side of the car with his feet on the runner bar. He said they were such really nice people and he was almost sad when his ride was over. He thanked them for the ride and walked away feeling good about the kind people who drove him to church.
It never occurred to him when he heard that Bonnie and Clyde were killed that day just down the road from where they dropped him off. He had to see the vehicle himself for the proof.
My PapPaw wasn’t a man of many words, but he ended the story with this thought:
“I always wondered if they drove me there as a favor for a young boy, or if the young boy served as protection from the fate that was waiting ahead.”