I tell ya it’s the sweetest reason I’ve heard for a broken leg. Jimmy clean broke it in three places and it was painful as all hell, but he would’ve done it again in a heartbeat.
Ya see Mary just loved music, anything, and everything – she lapped it up as fast as she could listen. Whenever her Pa went into town, she begged to join him so she could visit with Jimmy from the record store. Now it’s true that they were loved up and it was cuter than a chick in a teacup, but that love started with pitch, tone, and beat.
Mary longed for music at home on the farm, she’d dance around the yard, throwing feed as she went, but they didn’t have the money for music. No record player, no wireless, they barely got by. True enough Jimmy struggled too, but that boy knew how to save. When he wasn’t at the record store, or with Mary, he’d run errands, paint houses, cut grass, you name it – he did it. One day he turned up at the farm with a big ol’ box that nearly made Mary faint.
She tore the paper off that box quicker than a fox in a chicken coop, oh my, lord she blushed with the biggest smile anyone did see. Together they took the gleaming wireless out of the box and sat it on the kitchen table. The whole family gathered round to listen, so Mary turned it on, turned the dials and got static. For minutes, hours, they took it around the house twiddling the nobs to find something, but all they got was the sound of the air bristling around them.
Ya see, the farm, for all its majestic views and wonderful vistas, was clearly and unmistakably surrounded by hills. It’s not your fault, she said to Jimmy, but those eyes showed nothing but disappointment. He went home that day feeling as miserable as a bobcat in a collar. Mary would wander around the farm with it, testing it here and there and everywhere, but didn’t pick up a peep, so there it sat on the porch. Maybe she was waiting for one of them hills to clean get up and walk away because that’s the only way that wireless was going to work.
One bright morning Mary swung open the door to the yard to start her chores and that wireless was gone, she looked under and around everything, even hollered at her family before giving the deepest sigh and heading out into the field to let the horses out for the day. Good morning, Mary came a yell from up above her and she stopped dead still in surprise. Up here, Mary came the voice of Jimmy and she looked up through the boughs of an old oak tree to see Jimmy up high.
Somehow Jimmy had scrambled up that tree without a ladder, carrying that wireless on his back and was balanced like a caterpillar on the edge of a leaf. He’d lashed that wireless to the highest branch he could reach and was smiling down at Mary with pride. She covered her mouth in shock and hope and her eyes opened wide as he started turning the dial – music started flooding out as loud as a morning chorus.
Mary danced around like the very Sun had taken hold in her heart – until she heard a snap and Jimmy came tumbling down. Now he’d snapped that leg of his in 3 places when he hit the ground but smiled all the way to the hospital. When they sent him home, Mary’s Pa picked him up and drove him back to the farm to watch Mary dance and sing to her hearts content.
Late into the night that music played, through the cicadas and cockerels the battery on that thing, just kept on going, never missing a beat. Coming into the second night her Pa’s last nerve was shattering and he threatened to shoot that thing out the tree, but Mary wasn’t having none of it.
For three days straight that music played and even now, every time she passes that old tree she smiles and hums a little tune.