Most people in Belfry Village remember exactly when Gabe Brumley came out of the closet. It was two years ago, in August. The Yankees swept a four game series from the Red Sox, and Gabe, who previously kept his personal tendencies to himself, marched bravely down his driveway and slapped a Yankee sticker on the mailbox. The effect was stunning. So far as anybody could remember, Gabe was the first and only Yankee fan in town.
Of course, there are always a handful of summer people who callously wear Yankee caps around the lakes, in the post office or at Knights General Store, but for the locals, this obscenity merely provides additional proof of the outrageous behavior of flatlanders, and they are excused. But, not Gabe. Gabe is an embarrassment to the entire village, and nobody is more offended by his treasonous behavior than my friend Nibber, a charter member of Jerry Remy’s Red Sox Nation.
Local kids promptly took care of the Yankee sticker – and the mailbox – with a well-placed cherry bomb, but Gabe responded by taping a picture of Derek Jeter on the inside back window of his pickup and began picking up his mail in town.
The surprisingly bold coming out very quickly sparked a village-wide attempt at rehabilitation. To begin with, Nibber tried disowning him, claiming he was not a Maine native in any case. Although Gabe has been raising cows on the East Road for 40 years, Nibber claimed he could prove the man was actually born somewhere in Connecticut. Gabe paid no attention. Instead, he painstakingly raised and lowered his lawn mower to etch a Yankee logo into his broad front lawn.
Soon after, the gossipy librarian, Mal Grandbush, gave Nibber a clipping from the New York Times, claiming an inordinate number of innocent folks were being beaten, robbed, stabbed and shot by persons wearing Yankee paraphernalia. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/16/nyregion/16caps.html
Nibber made extra copies of the exposé and stapled them to telephone poles along Main Street. Gabe didn’t budge. Neither did he seem to care when he was made to sit by himself at Grange Hall bean suppers, or when, at Falling Waters Church, preacher Gary Peppard devoted an entire spring sermon to the virtues of sticking together in times of adversity.
Nothing worked, and for a time it seemed Belfry Village was simply
going to have to endure the shame. Then came this summer, and soon after the Sox whooped the Yankees for the sixth time in seven games, Walter let his lawn grow out and removed the Jeter picture his truck. Recently, after the Sox took two of three from the Yankees in Fenway, Gabe stopped wearing his Yankee cap to town. In fact, he hasn’t been to town much at all.
Come fall, when the flatlanders leave the lakes and the playoffs begin, there seems to be good reason to hope the curse of Gabe will be lifted, and Belfry Village will become unpolluted Red Sox country once again.