In the beginning...
Her name is Good.
And I reckon if' I don't tell you her story, well sir, it likely won't get told.
You see, Good ain't one for tellin' nobody nothin' 'bout herself. She'd sooner tell you ever' thin' I'm tellin' you now is just plain wrong, just to keep you from listenin' or from payin' too close attention to what all I'm sayin'.
Now I've knowed that girl since the day she got herself born. She's 'bout as much kin to me as my own progeny, if'n I had any.
Knowed her folks, too. Knowed 'em long 'fore she got herself born. If''n there ain't but two people in this whole wide world I coulda knowed better, it'd be them two. They were fine people. Both of 'em in the ground now, bless their souls. And since they won't be tellin' you much of anythin', on account of bein' at their eternal rest, guessin' this here storytellin' falls to me.
So I reckon I better figure on where 'bouts to commence from, and that ain't gonna be easy.
You see, you can't never tell where a story rightly begins, nor rightly where it ends. That's just the way stories is.
Seems to me this here story got started back when Good's daddy done pulled me up from the swamp. That were way back in the day, back when I didn't know no better'n for myself. You might even say he saved me. No tellin' what road I'd be travelin' down hence if'n it weren't for that man, but that there's another story altogether.
It's like this. All mankind's stories are a comin' and a goin'. They're sometimes runnin' along the same road together, sometimes criss-crossin' one 'nother, and sometimes bouncin' off one 'nother, or mergin' up for a spell.
And all of 'em are a goin' headlong lickety-split to their own destinations. But they're all headed in the same general direction whether they like it or not. We all come from the same place, and we're all a goin' to the same place. Just some of us is arrivin' a little ahead of the others, while some of us is draggin' our feet 'bout it any which way we can.
Well sir, I aim to tell you two things for sure 'nough certain. First off, there ain't no benefit in the end to bein' either early nor late. We'll all get there well 'nough. You can be certain of that. And second, we all gotta make us a fair accountin' in the end for the journey we commenced on.
Now you take Good.
Good's story begun long 'fore she got herself born. Just like mine do and yours. Just like ever' body's.
See, we all got us some history, and that there history were a goin' on long 'fore we took our first bare-nekked breath in this world. And Good's story begins with her daddy's dream.
Now I'll tell you what. Sometimes I weren't so rightly reckoned on what that dream of his were, even though I were his closest friend. He were a man of big ideas and even bigger dreams. And stubborn, too. But in that grand sort of way, like folks from history you admire and don't mind havin' to hear 'bout.
Now one day, Good's daddy were a muckin' around in the swamp, partially lookin' for that dream of his, and partially, I reckon, cuz he were just plain lost. But that's how we come to cross paths.
Yes sir, we were one sorry sight to behold. We come a strugglin' up out of the mire and muck, a clingin' to one 'nother like two wet rags.
Just then he stops himself up short, sweeps his hand all acrossin' the horizon and tells me his dream. Sez he's gonna build himself a big white screen, three-stories tall, right there where we stand. Sez folks are gonna drive up in their cars, sit inside 'em for hours, all the while a watchin' movin' picture shows. Sez them same folks are gonna be rarin' to slap down cash money on the barrelhead to do it, too.
Well, I'm here to tell you, he did that very thing.
And I'll tell you somethin' else. It were a big success. Least ways at first.
Sure 'nough, them folks come. They'd sit in their cars, plunkin' down their hard-earned cash money, all the while eatin' some of the worst food I ever did get a whiff of.
And then one of them days, one of them cars brought Good's momma, so her life story could cross paths with her daddy's.
Now Good's daddy were a tall, slender, handsome feller and Good's momma were a graceful young thing. And well sir, those two just hit it right off.
Weren't never two people I ever did see were more in love, nor better suited for one 'nother than them two.
Course I come to love 'em both. Got so I couldn't nary have a thought of one without thinkin' 'bout the other. And they treated me like blood kinfolk.