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The Legend of Whitburn County (standard:other, 15236 words)
Author: themaniacAdded: Sep 20 2000Views/Reads: 2234/1806Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Two friends grow up in a small town, playing basketball and learning about life.


I just want to go on record right now, in front of God and everybody,
that I never, ever planned it to wind up the way it did. Things just 

In the end, though, I'm glad it all worked out. 

See, Jared and I always wanted to play basketball. He was too skinny and
I was too short for football, and neither one of us could throw or hit 
or run very well to play baseball or track. 

There were endless nights playing half-court in the driveway of Jared's
family farm, shooting hoops until his mom finally flashed the outside 
light to let him know it was time to come in. I would take a last shot, 
he'd grab the rebound and score. We'd say our good-byes, then I'd walk 
down that driveway, cross over State Highway 58, and then take the slow 
walk up to our farmhouse on the other side. 

That was how we grew up. We did that for years and years. Then, when I
was in eighth grade, things started to change. And the next five years 
of my life would be completely different. 

The first thing that happened was the farm. My mom had died a few years
before, and my dad had to sell off some of our cattle to make ends 
meet. Jared's parents had helped out in that respect. However, two 
things happened simultaneously (almost, I don't know which happened 
first): my dad met Mary Lee, and we started having flooding problems on 
the farm. 

Mary Lee lived in the city of Whitburn. Whitburn was the county seat of
(surprise, surprise) Whitburn County, but in realistic terms, it wasn't 
much of a city. If I remember my civics courses right, Whitburn had a 
population in the last census of 8,343. It was the largest city in the 
county, mostly because Whitburn County had only 28,000 or so people in 
the entire county. Anyway, my dad fell in love with Mary Lee, and they 
were married in our equipment shed (basically, a barn with aluminum 
siding and a concrete slab that could house three tractors and a 

We were going to have the wedding outside on the side lawn, but in late
April we had an absolutely torrential downpour that flooded part of our 
planting area and the entire side lawn. After it had dried up a bit, we 
discovered that the rain had eroded part of the soil in the one part of 
the crops, and had actually opened an underground spring. Pretty soon, 
a good twenty percent of our farm was a huge pond. 

The problem with the flooding led to an obvious decision: We were going
to have to sell the farm. My dad sat down with me, explained what was 
happening, why we had to do this, and all the reasons why it was going 
to be all right. We would move to Whitburn with Mary Lee, who owned a 
house given to her by her parents, the old family homestead. 

It wasn't bad living in Whitburn - a lot of my friends lived in
Whitburn, actually, and it was a really nice house - but it was the 
other thing that happened that really affected me. 

You see, the entire county is one large school district. There are four
different elementary schools, Kindergarten through 8th grade, and then 
there were two High Schools. One was for the southern part of the 
county (Thompsonville High School, the "Fightin' Tigers"), the other 
was for the northern part of the county (Whitburn High School, the 
"Panthers"). They always were a little loose on which school you went 
to, though. The rules stated that wherever you went to elementary 
school for eighth grade was where you'd go to High School. Jared and I 
both went to Plainview Elementary, located in Plainview (which was 
exactly halfway between Whitburn and Thompsonville). 

My dad knew I wanted to still go to Plainview, so I could go to
Thompsonville High with Jared. I still was enrolled at Plainview, and 
because of the rules, I'd have to stay where I was, or I'd end up going 
to Whitburn. So we worked out this arrangement with Jared's parents 
where I'd stay with them during the week, help out with chores and what 
not, and on the weekends I'd go up to Whitburn and stay at Mary Lee's 

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