Uncle Albutt Part 4

Uncle Albert had an interesting vocabulary.   Even when he didn’t get words right, he forged bravely ahead.  When his energy was low, he didn’t have much image.  When the doctor diagnosed him with emphysema, he referred to his ‘zema. Air conditioners were air positioners. He called my sister Phyllis, Phillips.  I liked that one.  I was Linder.  I didn’t like that quite so much. My mother Kathleen was Kathaleen.  He called Daddy “Willie”, his real name instead of Bill, the name Daddy gave himself once he left home.  Daddy cringed every time he was called Willie.  The only other person who got away with it was his mother.  I wouldn’t have wanted to be Willie, either.  For some reason, Daddy’s brother Parnell named his daughter Willie Carol.  She was a whiny, sullen kid, maybe because of that name.  It makes perfect sense to me.

On occasion, we saw some of Aunt Jewel’s relatives.  Her sister, Lucille, who incidentally had married one of Daddy’s cousins, had the hairiest legs I’ve ever seen, man or woman. The wearing of seamed stockings only made it more obvious.  A good proportion of the wiry hairs worked their way through the stockings, trying to escape, while the rest were imprisoned flat against her legs.  I don’t know which fascinated me more, the swirling mass of flattened ones, or the wild escapees.  I never got to look enough, and certainly wasn’t allowed to comment. Mother warned us off when she knew we’d see Lucille.  Daddy swore her legs had gotten hairier because she shaved them!  That just sounded nuts.  How would hair roots know a razor threatened?  He was death on leg-shaving, ascribing to the old wive’s tale that shaving made hair grow back thicker.  I don’t know what planet he was from that made his daughter’s legs, shaved or unshaven, his business, but Daddy thought he was God and his wishes,  commandments.  More likely, he may have feared he’d be stuck with his girls forever should we sprout hair like that.  Of course, Mother never volunteered the information that she shaved her legs.  I guess she didn’t want Daddy to know what was in his future.  Naturally, I shaved my legs as soon as I could get hold of a razor.  I can’t tell you how happy I was to get away from home.

Daddy’s methods did ensure he never had to deal with adult children boomeranging

home.  Times just didn’t get that hard.

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A Hog a Day Part 4

With Billy asleep under the porch, I was bored.  I noticed the toilet sitting down  the trail from the house.  “I need to use the bathroom.”  This needed investigation.  I knew what a toilet was, but had never gotten to investigate one to my satisfaction.  Mother had always rushed me through the process on the few occasions I gotten to use one.

”You’re going to have to wait.  I can’t go with you right now.  I’m in the middle of putting this permanent in,” Mother replied.  That fit in nicely with my plans.

”I can go by myself.  I’m a big girl.  I’ll be careful and not fall in.” I asserted.

”If you do, we’re just going to leave you,” laughed Miss Bessie.  “You’ll be too nasty to save.  She ought to be okay.  My younguns went by themselves all the time.”  I admired her good opinion of me as I sauntered off, though I had to wonder if that was where the lost little girl had gotten off to.

“Okay, but don’t fall in and come right back.” Mother looked a little worried as I left them to their project.

I considered myself a bit of an authority on toilets since we had an abandoned toilet in our chicken yard put there by the previous owners.  Mother had always threatened us away from it, but I had bragged to a couple of Mother’s coffee-drinking friends once, much to her horror.  As long as I could remember, she’d been after Daddy to pull it down, but he never found the time.  Not only that, I’d been lucky enough to visit a couple of toilets when we visited some of Daddy’s backwoodsy friends.

I was completely surprised at the daintiness of Miss Bessie’s toilet.  In contrast to her rustic house, it was a showplace.  The walls were beautifully with remnants of ornate wallpaper.  Though the numerous patterns varied widely, they were all right side up, unlike the magazine pictures and newspapers tacked to the walls of her house.  My favorite print was off little fat men in rainboots and top hats holding umbrellas on the ceiling.  Clearly, Miss Bessie had had control of this operation and was a high-class lady.  Bright floral linoleum graced the floor.  Wonders of wonders, a toilet seat covered the open hole I’d expected to see.  A toilet paper holder held a full roll, instead of the Sears and Roebuck catalog I’d been forward to perusing.  I never felt brave enough to look at women’s underwear unless I was assured of privacy, a rare situation in our busy house.  This expertly decorated toilet far surpassed our poor bathroom at home, a very utilitarian one with the usual drab features.

Naturally, once I’d completed my business, I raised the toilet seat to inspect the quagmire beneath, interested to know whether Miss Bessie had managed any improvements on the usual situation.  She hadn’t. The stench was overwhelming. Fat maggots squirmed in the disgusting mess, just like every other toilet I’d ever seen.  If the little lost girl was in there, the maggots could have her.

“You took long enough,” Mother said when I got back.

“That toilet smells even worse than Miss Bessie’s hair,” I informed the two on the porch.  “I sure am glad I ain’t a maggot!”

 

 

 

 

 

Lovely Old Barn

Old barn

Though my father saw a barn a’building, I saw a cathedral of rough-hewn lumber rising in the lot behind our house. Mr. Bradley, a crotchedy old grandpa in khakis, showed up about daybreak every morning for coffee, then shuffled on to his barn building. He and a helper worked all day till Daddy and a couple of his buddies took over and worked on as Continue reading