“Don’t you remember me, Mr. Cunningham”?

“Don’t you remember me, Mr. Cunningham”? 2001. Acrylic on Stretched cartridge paper.

Hey, Mr. Cunningham.”
The man did not hear me, it seemed.
“Hey, Mr. Cunningham. How’s your entailment gettin‘ along?”
Mr. Walter Cunningham’s legal affairs were well known to me; Atticus had once
described them at length. The big man blinked and hooked his thumbs in his
overall straps. He seemed uncomfortable; he cleared his throat and looked away.
My friendly overture had fallen flat.
Mr. Cunningham wore no hat, and the top half of his forehead was white in contrast to his sun-scorched face, which led me to believe that he wore one most days. He shifted his feet, clad in heavy work shoes.
“Don’t you remember me, Mr. Cunningham? I’m Jean Louise Finch. You brought
us some hickory nuts one time, remember?” I began to sense the futility one feels when unacknowledged by a chance acquaintance.
“I go to school with Walter,” I began again. “He’s your boy, ain’t he? Ain’t he,
Mr. Cunningham was moved to a faint nod. He did know me, after all.
“He’s in my grade,” I said, “and he does right well. He’s a good boy,” I added, “a
real nice boy. We brought him home for dinner one time. Maybe he told you about me, I beat him up one time but he was real nice about it. Tell him hey for
me, won’t you?”

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