A short story by Julie Means Kane
Fiction Award and President’s Choice winner
“Back in the days when North Carolina was just waking up to find the twentieth century half gone, a fellow by the name of Robert Henry Taft rose when the first church bells rang out on the other side of the river. He washed in the basin, shaved with care, then brushed down his only suit. He would be attending services with his mother this morning, something he rarely did these days, but he had been given no choice today. When she pulled up to the curb outside, he was waiting for her.”“I Remember You,” 2021
In the summer of 2019, as I was driving through rural Columbia County, NY, I heard a new song by Keb’ Mo’ on the SiriusXM BB Kings Bluesville channel. The opening grabbed my attention, and I pulled to the side of the road to listen.
The song was “I Remember You,” an early release from his upcoming album, Oklahoma. It started off, “My name is Junior, from Memphis, Tennessee/My daddy was a hustler, and a stranger to me.” Whoa!
Well, the summer flew past as summers did back before we were all locked down at home, and as the leaves began to change I was still thinking about Junior. What would it mean to be named for a father you never knew?
That’s when I began to write this tale. I am honored to have Junior’s story included among the fine writers in the Flying South 2021 literary journal. My thanks go to Keb’ Mo’ and the songwriters Kevin Moore and Bill LaBounty.