The Stolen Beer Caper

Big Jimmy grew up across the highway at Smithwick, Texas from our Grandmother. Maw-Maw is what we called her, until in later years we called her Nonie, as she was called by many of her nieces and nephews. Nonie was derived from Leona, by her little brother years earlier.

Jimmy helped Kenny & me haul hay and with other work around the place as we grew up. After getting his commercial driver’s license he started driving a dump truck for our Dad on weekends and after school. Since Kenny always had a girlfriend and became occupied with her, Jimmy and I hung out together a lot. He was three years older than me, but we got along pretty well, especially when Kenny wasn’t around. Big Jimmy was always real big for his age, so I felt like he was someone good to hang out with. He was about as oversized as I was undersized for our ages.

A couple of boys (they shall remain nameless here) my age broke into a store and stole all the beer and cigarettes they could haul way. They hid the beer down under some rock ledges below a road on the way to one of the boys’ house. Big Jimmy was told about the beer and it’s location by the two. They were hoping to make a dollar or two a case off of it and thought with Jimmy being older and out of school already, he would be the perfect person to help them dispose of it. That was probably a good plan on their part, until he told me about it.

I ask Jimmy to get in with me and go see if the beer was really there. I had a “66” El Camino at the time. We took off down the way to where Jimmy had been told the beer was hidden out at. Upon arriving at the location, flashlight in hand I went to go take a look. Sure enough, case after case of beer was stashed under the rock ledges just like they had told Jimmy it was. I threw a couple of cases up and hollered for him to put the beer in the back of the El Camino. As soon as he got it loaded there was more there for him to load. In a few minutes I had handed up the last case that I could locate. When I got back up to road level, I discovered the back of the El Camino was level full of cases of beer. Some of just about every brand I had ever heard of.

About that time the two beer thieves drove up. They couldn’t believe how well everything was coming together, seeing all the beer leaving so quickly. When they ask Jimmy how much they would be getting, he just shrugged and turned to me. I let them know we wouldn’t be paying them or anyone else for stolen beer, and since it was already in my pickup, I considered it mine. I was sure they weren’t going to run home and tell their parents or go to the cops complaining.

Off we headed for Smithwick. We discussed where all this beer could safely be hidden. We finally drove down into Aunt Ollie Cox’s place, down on the Old Lodge Road, thinking we could leave it there. We found a big mesquite tree that looked like a good place to hide it. After unloading a few cases and drinking a few of the beers, we decided that with deer hunters coming soon to start building stands, that they would end up with all the beer instead of us.

We loaded everything back up. We would need to find a more secure spot to leave it. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Our basement at home would offer the perfect hiding place.

It was nearing midnight by that time and my parents were sound asleep. I backed right up to the front door. With all the commotion, Cec was soon standing there with a dazed look on his face. “What in the hell are you boys doing?” After explaining to him what had taken place, he carried more beer to the basement that either one of us. He was like a kid in a candy store. My mother, Bonnie Gay, just stood there shaking her head in disbelief. We never actually counted the number of cases, but I think there were at least 60 to 70. Plenty to make us all happy for awhile.

Those two culprits never did have a very high opinion of me after that. I told them they were lucky that I didn’t smoke or I would have made them turn over the cigarettes too.

I guess we were kind of like the Smithwick Mafia.

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