Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v16n16)
Poetic Thoughts - by C.W. Pruitt II
posted: Aug. 09, 2019
Reflections on Yedda
Yedda Bradford was my only friend for a few years in the Poplar Heights neighborhood of Grayson, Kentucky. She was three years older than me. She was bigger than me. She was stronger than me.
She could throw the baseball faster and hit it farther than me. In Little League Yedda played all nine positions. And she was a fierce competitor. My father still enjoys telling stories of girls who could clobber the boys in these contests (especially when they were playing catcher).
When I was in third grade, Mom and Dad bought us a basketball goal that was mounted against the house. Yedda would mercilessly back me into the post and score at will. If I was lucky enough to win our last game before her homework time, she would insist on playing again. Because beating Yedda required so much energy, she always won the next game. So Yedda left the winner. And I remained dribbling and shooting, trying to figure out how to beat her the next day.
When I was in fourth grade Yedda's family moved to another part of the sprawling hamlet of Grayson. It was pretty devastating to lose my best and only friend. Plus, deep down, I felt like my best basketball was ahead of me.
Then, four years later, I got a lucky break. My brother Jim was going to visit Steven Bradford (Yedda's brother). I asked to tag along with Jim, as I often did, to bask in the glow of my little brother's superior social skills.
When we arrived we realized that we had stepped into some kind of Appalachian paradise. They had go-carts with an oval track. And they had a beautiful basketball court.
I sensed my opportunity. I went into the Bradford house and said hi to Yedda, who was wearing a dress. I told her to change, so we could play some one-on-one. She said she didn't play basketball anymore. I insisted.
I was now much taller than Yedda. So I backed her into the post (like she used to do to me). I was blocking her shots like crazy. I defeated Yedda soundly.
When we had finished playing, I felt great. But Yedda didn't seem to care at all. She didn't even ask for a second game.
I haven't seen Yedda in over 20 years. I wonder if maybe she now has a little girl with a punishing inside game like her mother.