HOMECOMING/Steue Yates EVEN AFTER THE NIGHT of gunfire and cannon, of surging, drunken crowds on Market and Water Streets, all down the river front; after flares and rockets; even after the box-shaped gunboat finished thumping its bursts of fire and black mounds of smoke, men still staggered under the Weitzers' window and paused at the visage of the brown Mississippi River. One gentleman in glorious white trousers and a soiled but fine crimson coat, the collar pulled up to his cheeks, swigged from a bottle of amber liquor, then spat the whiskey in a glittering spray at the sun rising. "Kerr! Bee! Smith!" He shouted each portion of the name with happy derision. The newspapers the evening before, dated June 5, 1865, had proclaimed the Confederate general's surrender somewhere in Texas, so the last Confederate army in the West was no more. The gentleman drew a pistol and flung his bottle high into the air. Pressing her cheek against the window frame, Patricia Weitzer cowered. The bottle plunked in the mud beside the boardwalk. The gentleman slipped and fell to his knees, then blasted at the sky. When his pistol was empty he stared at it, then struggled
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1999
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