Knights of the Hill Country

Knights of the Hill Country by Tim Tharp Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Knights of the Hill Country by Tim Tharp Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tim Tharp
did—they used rocks for decorations. Had them on little tables and shelves all the way from the front hall to all over the living room. Big black rocks, little gray ones, red ones and white ones and every kind of shape you'd ever want in a rock. They looked good and they smelled good, clean and hard.
    Sara caught me admiring them. “My parents are geologists,” she said.
    And she took me right in to talk to them too, instead of steering me off to another room the way a lot of kids will do, like their parents have some kind of disease that'd strike you down with a deadly case of boredom if you hung around them too much.
    Sara, she just leaned up against the side of the sofa next to her mother as comfortable as could be and even introduced her parents by their first names like I was fixing to be one of their buddies. Made me feel like someone worth knowing.
    Mr. Reynolds—I couldn't call him Mark even if he was introduced that way—was parked in a wheelchair next to thesofa and had him a guitar cradled on his lap. He didn't look like no one else in Kennisaw, and not just 'cause of the wheelchair neither. He had a little ponytail and a goatee and wore a black beret. I'd never seen anyone wearing a beret outside of TV. Course, I'd noticed him rolling around town before, but I never knew he was Sara's dad. It's funny, but even in a town of 9,500 people like Kennisaw, there can be whole different circles of folks. Whole different worlds, almost.
    Mrs. Reynolds—who Sara introduced as Nancy—looked about like she could've been Sara's big sister. Wore the same kind of comfortable baggy clothes, and there wasn't no mistaking where Sara got all her hair from. Her mom couldn't have been more friendly to me neither, just like Mr. Reynolds was. You'd think it never even crossed their minds to suspect how much time I'd done spent conjuring up pictures of their daughter on a converted-basement sofa with her sweatshirt and jeans tossed off on the floor.
    What I figured was they must've been keeping track of my football-playing in the
Kennisaw Sun
. I didn't know why else they'd bother being so nice to someone they didn't even know. That part wasn't different from just about every other adult I run into around town. Always beating me over the head with football questions. How bad was the Knights going to whip Sawyer or Okalah or Kiowa Bluff? Who did I want to play college ball for, OU or OSU? Was I planning on playing in Dallas and winning me as many Super Bowl rings as T. Roy Strong? It got pretty old, if you want to know the truth.
    So I wasn't surprised when Mrs. Reynolds come out and said how Sara'd told her I was on the football team.
    “Yes, ma'am, I play linebacker,” I said, getting ready for the same old questions.
    “That's nice,” she said with a smile. “How's the team doing?”
    “Uh,” I said. I sure wasn't ready for that one. Everyone in Kennisaw knew the Knights was working on their fifth undefeated season in a row. I thought they did, anyways.
    Mr. Reynolds chuckled. “She doesn't follow sports much.” He turned to his wife. “They're doing very well, dear. Undefeated, I believe?” He looked back at me, and I nodded.
    “So,” he said. “You play linebacker.”
    “Yes, sir.”
    Mr. Reynolds studied on that a moment. “Is that the person who stands behind the quarterback?”
    “Not exactly,” I said. “The linebacker's on defense.” I glanced back and forth from Mr. Reynolds to Mrs. Reynolds, wondering if maybe they was pulling my leg some, but they only smiled real bright like they was happy to have just learned something new. I swear, they must've been the only two people in Kennisaw, maybe even the whole hill country, that didn't know a thing about football. And still, here they was, interested in me anyways.
    After that, nobody brought up football again, and pretty soon Sara suggested we ought to go on and get to our homework. “I thought we could study in the garage,” she said. “My dad had

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