Vin and the Great Big Huge…..

by Kathy M

ATF Universe

Written in response to the special creativity challenge to write a story based on the song that was the number one hit the day you were born.

Mine was The Ballad of Davy Crockett by Bill Hayes

“Hi Da, where’s Chris?” asked six-year-old JD, running into his adopted father’s arms.

“What, aren’t you happy to see me? You want Chris?” teased the big man.

“No, Yes, Da, ya’ know what I mean,” said JD sounding exasperated. “I think Vin needs him.”

“Where is he, what’s the matter?”

“He’s in his room, he won’t play, he’s says he’s got like a month of homework, he’s gotta do this great big huge…..thing.”

Buck scooped up JD and found Vin sitting at the little desk in the boys bedroom looking at a piece of paper and sighing.

“Hey, Junior, what’s up?” asked Buck. “Chris is in another budget meeting and should be home in about an hour.” He dropped JD on his bed and ruffled the eight-year-old’s shoulder length hair.

“Lookit this, Buck. My class has got to do this great big huge combined project thing. We gots to pick one of the guys from this list of famous Americans and then there’s a chapter book to read about them. Then we gots to do a book report, and make a art poster thing, and do a presentation in front of the whole class, so everyone can learn about all the famous people that we all have to read about!” Vin looked up at his second dad and tried to stop the tears from welling up in his eyes. It was all just too much to even think about.

“See, Da, I told you,” affirmed JD, bouncing off the bed to stand next to Vin.

“Well now, Vin, I’m sure they wouldn’t give you more than they think you’re capable of,” said Buck, sitting on the edge of Vin’s bed. Vin had come a long way in the year that he had been with Chris and Buck, overcoming his near illiteracy and coping with his slight dyslexia to now be in a class with his peers, but Buck knew Vin still struggled with reading, and was very self conscious reading in front of the class. “You’ve done chapter book reports before, and I’m sure they’re allowing lots of time for this. Let old Buck take a look.”

Buck took a look at the list that included old presidents and other historical figures.

“You got anyone in mind yet?”

Vin just sighed and shook his head as JD tried to read the list himself.

“I didn’t always find schoolwork easy myself,” admitted Buck, “but it was always easier when it was interesting, so the trick is to pick someone that you’d actually like to read about. I guess you recognize some of these names, hhmm, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, wow, now, lookee here, boys. Davy Crockett, now that sounds right up your alley, Vin. He was a frontiersman, an outdoorsman, even fought at the battle of the Alamo in Texas. He wore a coonskin cap.”

“What’s a coonskin cap?” asked Vin.

“Can I have one?” asked JD.

“It’s a hunting hat made from the fur of a raccoon,” explained Buck as he told them the little that he remembered about Davy Crockett, probably most of which was from the Disney movie, and a little about the battle of the Alamo. By the time Chris got home Vin seemed to be in a much better mood as he rushed to greet his dad and tell him all about his project and who he’d picked.

After dinner Chris sat with Vin and they read over the details of the project together.

“I know it seems like a lot Vin, but you’ve got four weeks to do it, so I suggest reading the book and doing the book report first. I agree with you and Buck, I think you’ll find Davy Crockett real interesting. Just do your best, Vin, that’s all I ever ask. I’m so proud of you.”

Vin looked up at his dad, sky blue eyes met forest green and held for a moment. Vin read the truth there, no words were needed so he just smiled shyly and nodded. Chris smiled back and hugged this child of his heart.

“Buck says they’s a Disney Davy Crockett movie but we can’t watch it ‘til after I finish the book report part ‘cause it might be different than the book. He says sometimes movies sort of ‘xaggerate a bit.”

“He’s right. I remember liking the movie when I was a kid about your age so I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. That’ll give you something to look forward to. I know you’ll do just fine, son.”

The next day Vin’s class went to the school library and signed out their selected book from the grade appropriate ones that had been set aside for their class. Vin liked the picture on the cover that showed the man wearing a coonskin cap.

Vin started reading the first chapter in class and finished it after school before the dads got home. It was actually kind of interesting. After dinner he worked on making his notes from the first chapter, and Chris reviewed them with him while Buck listened to JD read and checked his math. Vin was feeling pretty good about it until later when Buck went out and Chris went to the den to catch up on some paperwork and Vin started thinking about it again, and his tummy started feeling funny.

“Hey Vin, whatcha doin?”

“Nothin’, just thinking.”

“What ya’ wanna play, or do ya’ wanna watch a movie?”

“Nah, gots too much homework.”

“But Chris said you done all you gots to do tonight.”

“I just don’ feel like it, JD,” sighed Vin. “It’s just all too much you know.”

“Yeah, I guess. Hey want me to call Unca’ Ez? He always helps you.”

Vin just shrugged, so JD took that as a yes.


“Hi Unca’ Ez. It’s me, JD!”

“Well hello, Master Dunne, and how are you this fine evening?”

“I’m bored, bored, bored! Buck’s out on a date, and Chris is doing paperwork so I’m not s’posed to bother him, unless it’s real real ‘portant or like an emergency, then it’s ok.”

“Where, pray tell, is Master Tanner, your usual cohort in evening activities?”


Ezra sighed, “JD, what’s Vin doing? Why doesn’t he want to play? Is he perhaps not feeling well?”

JD heaved a huge sigh himself. “I dunno why he won’t play. He already done what homework he’s gotta do today but he’s just sitting and thinking and thinking about it. He’s gotta do this great big huge …huge…thing for school. Maybe it’s too much, do you think that’s it, Unca Ezra? Can you helps him?”

“Oh, yes, his first big project. Mr. Larabee did mention that to us today. Perhaps I should converse with him and try to enable him to put into perspective.”


Ezra sighed again. “Do you want me to talk to him about it?”

“Yeah! VIN! Unca’ Ez want to talk to you,” he screamed as Ezra quickly moved his phone away from his ear.

“Hi Unca Ezra,”

“Hello Vin, JD was telling me that you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed about your school project.”

“He did? JD said I’m what?”

“Yes, well perhaps overwhelmed was not the word he used. It means that you’re finding it all just a bit too much.”

“Yes, that’s it exactly, Uncle Ezra. It’s just such a great big huge project. We gots to read a chapter book and do a book report and make a poster and then we gots to stand in front of the whole class and do a presentation. I just hate that! I know I’m not supposed to say hate, but that’s how I feel.”

Ezra could tell Vin was upset about the assignment and was determined to help him in whatever way he could. “And what did your father and Mr. Wilmington have to say about it? Did they offer some advice?”

“Well, Buck helped me pick Davy Crockett and he’s so much more interesting than the other guys what were on the list. Did you know he was called a frontiersman? He was even called the King of the Wild Frontier, and he wore a coonskin cap and he became a government guy and then he led a bunch of volunteers to fight at the battle of the Alamo. That’s in Texas you know. There’s even a movie but we can’t watch it until I finish the book report in case it’s different ‘cause movies are more pretend than real. Buck said he’s gonna try to find some pretend coonskin caps for us too.”

Ezra was surprised, and pleased at how much the usually quiet boy was opening up to him. “Wow that does sound very interesting, and what did Mr. Larabee say?”

“Oh, he said he’d make the time to check my work, and make sure I keep on schedule, and he said as long as I do my best he’s proud of me. But what if it isn’t good enough, Unca Ezra? I don’t wanna, you know, disappoint him. I know I’m not such a good writer as some of the other guys, and it’s such a great big huge project. I just don’t know if I can do it, I don’t want to have to read my report in front of everyone, I just don’t!”

“You don’t have to.”

“I don’t?”

“I don’t think so. Do not the instructions state that you have to do a presentation? That doesn’t mean you have to read your entire report. In fact, what you just told me about Davy Crockett was actually a little report.”

“It was?”

“Yes, indeed. You know that whenever I get back from being undercover I have to write a ‘great big huge’ report about it, with all the details. Well you’ve seen me come over and meet with your father and give him a verbal report about it. I just tell him everything, like telling a story, and that’s all you have to do; just tell them the most interesting parts, and show them your poster and tell them all about it. That’s it!”

“That’s it? I don’t have to read out loud?”

“No, you don’t. That’s it. You’ve done a chapter book report before, and you’ve made poster presentations before that you’ve had to tell the class about, just like at show and tell. Just think of it like three smaller projects; the written book report you know how to do. The art project like those you’ve done before, I’m sure you can find images of Davy Crockett on the internet, and then tell your class about it. I know you can do it. In fact it could be lots of fun. Just think of it as your undercover assignment. You know how I have to pretend to be someone else when I go undercover, and I have to find out all about the person I’m supposed to be. Your project is just like that. Mr. Tanner, this is your mission, to find out all about Davy Crockett. In fact, you and Mr. Dunne can even play at being frontiersmen and battling at the Alamo.”

“We can?”

“Yes, you sure can. In fact the sooner you get the report part done, the sooner you can watch the movies about him, and that will give you lots of ideas for make believe.”

“Wow, you’ve made it sound like fun. I think I can do this, I really do. Thanks, Uncle Ezra. I’m so lucky that you’re my Uncle.”

“And I feel so lucky to have you for a nephew. Now I think you better let me talk to JD. I’ll give him something to do so he doesn’t feel left out and it’ll keep him busy when you’re working.”

“JD, Uncle Ezra wants to talk to you.”

“Hi Unca’ Ez, it’s me, JD.”

For a split second Ezra had a flashback to a memory of some comedian and almost blurted out, “I knew that, why did you think I didn’t know that,” but, as always, he wisely contained himself.

“JD, I have a project for you too.”

“You do? I get a project too? Just like the bigger kids?”

“Yes, indeed. Think of it as a practice project. There was another famous frontiersman named James Bowie. You’ll have to look him up on the children’s encyclopedia CD that I gave you. I think you’ll find him interesting. His brother invented the Bowie knife, a famous large hunting knife and they searched together for the lost San Saba mine, and he fought at the Alamo with Davy Crockett. Your mission is to find out all about him so you can play frontiersmen with Vin. Also there is a Davy Crockett song from the Disney movie that you’ll be able to watch once Vin’s book report is done. I’ll find the link for the song and send it to your email so that you and Vin can listen to it and learn the words, so you will be able to sing along with the movie. In fact Vin can take the song to school for part of his presentation.”

“Thanks, Unca Ezra, you’re the bestest Uncle ever, I mean all my uncles are the bestest too. I love you.”

“I love you too, JD, now get a pencil and I’ll tell you how to spell James Bowie.”

It was a busy month, but with the help of their dads and their uncles both boys worked hard on their reports and presentations. Finally the imitation coonskin caps that Buck had ordered, with the help of Ezra, had arrived, and once the book report part of Vin’s project was done both boys thoroughly enjoyed watching the Disney movie, and often played their own made up versions of parts of the movie. JD was often heard singing, “Raised in the woods so he knew every tree, Kilt him a bear when he was only three, Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!”

The weekend before Vin was due to give his presentation to his class Ezra, Josiah, Nathan, Rain, Nettie, Casey, Mrs. Potter and her kids all came over so Vin could practice his presentation in front of a what felt like a crowd to him, having practiced in front of his family several times, and then JD did his little talk about Jim Bowie. Everyone praised both boys, telling them that the presentations were wonderful, and then they all stayed for a barbeque.

Finally the day of the great big huge project presentation had arrived, and Vin got up early to make sure everything was ready. Chris had made arrangements to start work a little late so that he could drive the boys to school and help Vin bring his poster board and a digital music player that Ezra had copied the song onto. Vin was wearing his buckskin jacket with his imitation coonskin cap and insisted on carrying the poster board himself, so Chris followed along, holding onto JD with one hand and Vin’s backpack and lunch kit in the other.

Anxious to hear how Vin’s day went Chris and Buck left work early arriving home not much later than the boys. Somehow Vin knew and as soon as Chris shut the engine off and got out of the truck he looked up and there was Vin standing on the porch, a big grin on his face, then he was running to meet his father.

Buck chuckled and ruffled Vin’s hair as the boy ran past him and he headed inside to hear all about his little boy’s day.

Larabee stood there smiling and reached out for his son and scooped him up. Vin hugged him, then pushed back and they just looked deeply into each other’s eyes. No words were needed. Not yet, later Vin would tell him all about it, for now this was all they needed. Vin nodded and Chris put him down, and holding hands they walked together into the house that was now a home.

The end

Davy Crockett Collage


If you want to listen to it you click on the link below and select Davy Crockett from the list to hear the song

Here’s the full version of the lyrics from google

The Ballad of Davy Crockett Bill Hayes

Born on a mountain top in Tennessee
Greenest state in the land of the free
Raised in the woods so he knew ev'ry tree
Kilt him a b'ar when he was only three
Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!

In eighteen thirteen the Creeks uprose
Addin' redskin arrows to the country's woes
Now, Injun fightin' is somethin' he knows,
So he shoulders his rifle an' off he goes
Davy, Davy Crockett, the man who don't know fear!

Off through the woods he's a marchin' along
Makin' up yarns an' a singin' a song
Itchin' fer fightin' an' rightin' a wrong
He's ringy as a b'ar an' twice as strong
Davy, Davy Crockett, the buckskin buccaneer!

Andy Jackson is our Gen'ral's name
His reg'lar soldiers we'll put to shame
Them redskin varmints us Volunteers'll tame
'Cause we got the guns with the sure-fire aim
Davy, Davy Crockett, the champion of us all!~

Headed back to war from the ol' home place
But Red Stick was leadin' a merry chase
Fightin' an' burnin' at a devil's pace
South to the swamps on the Florida Trace
Davy, Davy Crockett, trackin' the redskins down!

Fought single-handed through the Injun War
Till the Creeks was whipped an' peace was in store
An' while he was handlin' this risky chore
Made hisself a legend for evermore
Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!

He give his word an' he give his hand
That his Injun friends could keep their land
An' the rest of his life he took the stand
That justice was due every redskin band
Davy, Davy Crockett, holdin' his promise dear!

Home fer the winter with his family
Happy as squirrels in the ol' gum tree
Bein' the father he wanted to be
Close to his boys as the pod an' the pea
Davy, Davy Crockett, holdin' his young'uns dear!

But the ice went out an' the warm winds came
An' the meltin' snow showed tracks of game
An' the flowers of Spring filled the woods with flame
An' all of a sudden life got too tame
Davy, Davy Crockett, headin' on West again!

Off through the woods we're ridin' along
Makin' up yarns an' singin' a song
He's ringy as a b'ar an' twice as strong
An' knows he's right 'cause he ain' often wrong
Davy, Davy Crockett, the man who don't know fear!

Lookin' fer a place where the air smells clean
Where the trees is tall an' the grass is green
Where the fish is fat in an untouched stream
An' the teemin' woods is a hunter's dream
Davy, Davy Crockett, lookin' fer Paradise!

Now he's lost his love an' his grief was gall
In his heart he wanted to leave it all
An' lose himself in the forests tall
But he answered instead his country's call
Davy, Davy Crockett, beginnin' his campaign!

Needin' his help they didn't vote blind
They put in Davy 'cause he was their kind
Sent up to Nashville the best they could find
A fightin' spirit an' a thinkin' mind
Davy, Davy Crockett, choice of the whole frontier!

The votes were counted an' he won hands down
So they sent him off to Washin'ton town
With his best dress suit still his buckskins brown
A livin' legend of growin' renown
Davy, Davy Crockett, the Canebrake Congressman!

He went off to Congress an' served a spell
Fixin' up the Governments an' laws as well
Took over Washin'ton so we heered tell
An' patched up the crack in the Liberty Bell
Davy, Davy Crockett, seein' his duty clear!

Him an' his jokes travelled all through the land
An' his speeches made him friends to beat the band
His politickin' was their favorite brand
An' everyone wanted to shake his hand
Davy, Davy Crockett, helpin' his legend grow!

He knew when he spoke he sounded the knell
Of his hopes for White House an' fame as well
But he spoke out strong so hist'ry books tell
An' patched up the crack in the Liberty Bell
Davy, Davy Crockett, seein' his duty clear!

When he come home his politickin' done
The western march had just begun
So he packed his gear an' his trusty gun
An' lit out grinnin' to follow the sun
Davy, Davy Crockett, leadin' the pioneers!

He heard of Houston an' Austin so
To the Texas plains he jest had to go
Where freedom was fightin' another foe
An' they needed him at the Alamo
Davy, Davy Crockett, the man who don't know fear!

His land is biggest an' his land is best
From grassy plains to the mountain crest
He's ahead of us all meetin' the test
Followin' his legend into the West
Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!