Uncle Jerry drank a little. In fact, Uncle Jerry never drew a sober breath from the time he cashed his paycheck at the liquor store on Friday after work until he got back to the shop on Mondays with a killer hangover. One time he told Bud, “I get paid today and I gotta get drunk. I had the flu all week and feel so bad I cain’t hardly drag. I shore dread it.”
Bud, who’d never been initiated into drinking at the time asked, “Uncle Jerry, if you feel so bad, why do you HAVE to get drunk? Can’t you take a weekend off?”
“Oh no!” Uncle Jerry told him. “I always stay drunk on the weekends.”
He must have been concerned about his reputation. He was Aunt Myrtle’s second husband. At the time I knew them, they’d been married over forty years. If Aunt Myrtle stuck by Uncle Jerry, I can’t imagine what her first husband must have put her through.
Mother went over to visit Aunt Myrtle one Thursday morning, not realizing Uncle Jerry was on vacation. They went out to the garden first to admire Aunt Myrtle’s tomatoes and the green beans that were starting to put out, picking a few for Mother. When they made their way into the kitchen, they encountered Uncle Jerry down on his hands and knees in front of the icebox (not refrigerator). He’d pulled the drawer out and was eating onions and turnips raw with the garden dirt still clinging to them. Considering it was Uncle Jerry, neither one said anything.
He looked up at them and remarked. “This is my icebox and I’ll eat anything I G__ D____ please.” They got their coffee and took it out to drink in the shade.
“Don’t let Jerry worry you none. I forgot to tell you Jerry was on vacation when I told you to come over to get tomatoes,” noted Aunt Myrtle.
“Oh, that’s okay. It is his icebox after all,” Mother replied.