One August day two years ago, a few weeks before school opened, coach Jones got a phone call. Radio's mother had died of heart failure in the middle of the night, and Radio was out of his head with grief. He had smashed two holes in a wall of his house, and the police had been called to restrain him. Surely, now that his mama was gone, he would finally have to go into a home.
Coach Jones had always worried about what would happen to Radio the day he retired or the day Radio's mother died. He knew his assistants loved Radio as much as he did, but still.... He marshaled his staff and collected a big tray of food that day and headed to Radio's house. One by one the coaches hugged Radio and cried with him. If he could just hold on until football practice started again, and if Radio's older brother, Walter Turner—the only one of Janie Mae Greenlee's three sons who wasn't born with the defect—and Walter's wife, Pat, could take care of Radio in the evenings, when the school day was done, then Hanna and coach Jones and his staff would handle the rest. And that's just what has happened.
Summers, though, are still the most difficult time for Radio. Should a traveler ever get lost in upstate South Carolina some July or August day and find himself wandering near the railroad tracks in Anderson and happen to notice an old boarded-up school with a FOR SALE sign planted in the weeds out front, he ought to take a little look at the abandoned McCants Junior High football field just behind it. He might just see a man with sprinkles of white hair gesturing wildly at thin air, screaming, "All wight, tomowwow's Thuhsday, dot's a light day! You wear yo' shorts an' T-shirts, no pads, an' be on da fiel' at four o'cwock on da nose, you got dat, boys?"
Just smile and wave. It's only Radio, living the dream.