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We shook hands. "Glad to meet you," he said, smiling.
"Nice meeting you, too, sir."
He swept his hand toward the chair. "Sit down, Yella Hamma. Tell me what I can do for you."
Uncle Arbria declined. "No, thank you, Mr. Venable, I don't want to take up your time. I know you're a busy man. People are waiting outside. I just brought my nephew here to see you in person. He's heard me talk so much about you and how we played together as boys and what a fine man I thought you were; he wanted to see what you looked like." He laughed. "I don't think he believes we did all the things I said."
I felt a bit foolish, like a kid meeting a superstar. I don't know how James Venable felt, but he blushed. In an instant, his eyes met mine, darted away, then came back with, as far as I could tell, a rather modest smile. "Yeah," he said, "Yella Hamma and I have known each other a long time. Used to pick blackberries, steal watermelons, fish, hunt lizards. You can't find lizards around here anymore, can you, Yella Hamma?"
"No, you sure can't," my uncle agreed. "Mr. Venable, could you stand up for a minute, sir? I want him to see what kind of looking man you are standing up."
James Venable rose to his feet obligingly. He was of medium height and appeared to be in excellent physical condition for his age.
"Well, there he is," my uncle beamed, "Mr. James Venable. A fine gentleman."
"My uncle thinks a lot of you, sir," I said. "Talks about you all the time. Has nothing but good things to say."
He smiled and sat back down. "Where in California are you from?"