Lord, Thank you for this food and for this day, and for all our many blessings! Amen!
Those are the words my family used to bless the meal we all shared with Carlton Trigg the first day we ever met him.
Some stories just linger there and never get out unless I make myself realize that the story does not get told because
it might be a bit embarrassing, and then I realize just how silly such a thought like that can be. Then again, I hesitate
to tell another Carlton Trigg story on this site because I question if someone might think I was just too envious of him and
his lifestyle, and that might be true in some remote ways. What I did envy the most about Carlton, though, is how much fun
he seemed to always have.
How can anyone not envy that? However, I did NOT envy the limits he sometimes pushed, no matter how much fun he seemed
to have; I guess I was born a mite too conservative to have had all the fun he had.
For instance, I will never forget when he first started to come by our house every now and then. He was a long-time
friend of Carl Goetz, and Carl was a new friend of my older brother, and that meant I was sometimes around to catch some of
their action. The magnet that attracted Carlton to our home was that Carl and my older brother had the mechanics’ skills,
and tools, and at times our house had an empty garage stall they used to work on their own cars and their friend’s cars;
and Carlton wanted his 1957 Chevy worked on by people who he thought knew what they were doing. That is how I came to first
I remember that it was a summer day, probably the summer of 1958 or 1959. Carl and my brother had installed a set
of two four-barrelled carbuerators on Carlton’s beautiful car, the one I coveted so much with red-hot envy. It was a
job that had taken most of the afternoon, but they were finally finished, and it was nearing suppertime. Carl Goetz
had just left in his black Ford Convertible.
My mother, a tolerant person who always welcomed company, naturally assumed Carlton would accept her invitation to
stay for what we always called supper, and he did, so mom set the table for the five family members, and Carlton.
As could be predicted in those days, there was always on the table ample pinto beans, fried potatoes, cream gravy, sliced
onions, and fried chicken, iced tea and white bread. There was no need for anything else, in my opinion. I remember we ate
in the breakfast area of the large kitchen, even though there was a formal dining room just a few steps away. I vividly remember
Carlton enthusiastically accepting the invitation and even sitting just to my mother’s right at that round maple table.
He was never an awkward guest. He felt at home wherever he was. I see now that whenever Carlton was around anywhere,
the atmosphere seemed charged like a building summer storm. You just knew anything could happen.
I don’t remember what was said, but we were well into the meal when Carlton thought something my older brother said
was very funny, and with a mouth full of cornbread and beans he laughed out loud, and in doing so, he accidentally spit food
out across the table, right toward my older brother.
Of course the rest of us thought that was funny. After all, you didn’t see first-time company do that sort
of thing very often, and we all started uproariously laughing, except for big brother. Big brother quietly picked up
some food out of his own plate and threw it at Carlton.
The fight was on. I couldn’t believe it! In response, Carlton dug into his plate and let his handful of potatoes
fly at brother Butch! My mother got caught up in it and threw part of her food back at her oldest son. Well, if they
could throw food, my sisters and I could throw food, and suddenly the mess was flying everywhere, and all of us were dying
Finally, all of us sobered down to amazement and rib hurting mirthful laughter as we started to run out of ammunition.
To end it, Mother stood up, shook her head and rolled her eyes and announced that all of us had to help clean up the
kitchen. And we did, Carlton included. It didn’t take too long to scrub the beans and ketchup off the dining room wallpaper
and off the tiled floor.
Never before and not since have I seen or heard of anything like that with people and a guest who hardly knew one another,
and none of us ever forgot the first and last meal we ever shared with Carlton Trigg.