Songs That Won the War

75 min

He's back.

My name's Lidia Simmons,

and I'm 12 years old.

And these here are my memoirs.

I can't really tell you much

about me nor my life

without first I tell you about

my brother Stu.

All spring

Stu had been kind of quiet.

Perhaps it was because

a couple months earlier

our father had gone out looking

for work and never returned.

It wasn't the first time

Dad went away.

Ever since he'd come back from

Vietnam, things hadn't been just right.

Mom held two jobs

just to make ends meet,

and we were still dirt poor like

everybody else in Juliette, Mississippi.

But this June morning

in 1970 was different.

All the flowers were in bloom,

and along with the color

and the sweet smell of summer,

our father had come home.

Looks lonely.

Looks more lonely

than anybody I ever seen.

Mom says that

war destroyed our lives.

It's how come

he couldn't find work.

It's why he's been gone

all this time.

Says if it weren't for the damn

war, we'd still have that house.

The house had termites.

That's why

the county condemned it.

I'll see you later.

Don't get arrested.

As I watched

my brother walk to my dad,

I knew he would start talking to

him as if no time had passed at all.

No one in my family

ever seemed to say "hello. "

I guess that was our way of

never having to say good-bye.

We sure had ourselves a lot of good

times in this old place, didn't we?

Yeah. We sure did.


Your house is on fire again!

Oh, no! No, no, no.

No, no, no, no, no, no.

You okay?


I'm fine.

Stu, don't you dare.

Why don't you go

and wake up your dad,

tell him

breakfast is about ready.

Yes, ma'am.

Dad. Dad. Hey, Dad. Dad.

Dad! Dad!


You all right?

Yeah, I'm fine, son.

I'm sorry.

Get ready...


Mmm. Mmm!

Eggs and everything!

Look how nice

it all goes together.

You don't think

it's too well-done?

No. No, not at all.

I just pretend

like I'm a starving Indian

and this is

my last piece of sausage,

and I got into a fight over it

with another starving Indian,

it tumbled into the fire,

and this is all that's left

between me and death.

I'm that Indian.

Give it here.

Give it back.

Give it back, Dad.

Stu, you wanna do us

the honor of saying grace?

Dear Lord, bless this food.


Hey, asshole!

Stu! Stuart!

Hey! That's enough. That's

enough now, both of you!

Just quit it.

You all right, son?

Tell your sister

I'll be gunning for her.

Yeah, all right, Lester.

I'll tell her you was gunning for

her in a doughnut shop, you moron!

You'll see, Simmons.

I'm gonna kick your ass too!

What was that all about?

Stuart, I turn my back

for a second,

you're in

the middle of a fight.

Who is that boy?

His name's Lester Lucket.

He's the reason Lidia got

stuck in summer school.

She hit him in the tooth

with a rock,

and he told the principal she'd

been cheating off all his papers.

She hit him in the mouth

with a rock?

Oh, yeah. He's always

calling her names.

So last year she vowed to knock

every tooth in his head out.

I'm gonna have to

talk to that girl.

She got

a pretty good start.

She doing anything else

I should know about?

Well, yeah,

she's doing a lot of things,

but I don't think

you should know about them.

I didn't bring you down here to

referee a boxing match, Stuart.

I brought you down here

to tell you about something

I've been putting off.

You know how all this time

I been out looking for work?


Well, something about that

ain't entirely accurate.

The truth of the matter is,

I been in a...

I been in a hospital.

For what?

Well, it has to do

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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