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Uncle Clete
After church on Sunday mornings, uncle Cletus would ride home with us and eat Sunday dinner. Big brother Ike usually took him home in the evening. After dinner, in the summer, dad, gramps and uncle Cletus would sit on the front porch in rocking chairs, talking, smoking and sipping from gramps fruit jar. Except dad. Neither dad nor mom drank. I don't know how that happened. The rest of the clan really sucked up the booze.

One thing that tickled uncle Clete was watching Daryl run. Daryl had a funny, hop-skip-jump sort of run, arms flailing in all directions, that reminded one of a pair of long johns on the clothesline on a windy day. Daryl was about 6 at this particular time. Dad, uncle Clete and gramps was on the porch, rocking, talking and sipping. I was sitting against the wall reading an old comic book. Daryl was sitting in the dirt beside the house, playing with bugs. Our sister, Angel came out to see if dad wanted more iced tea. Uncle Clete held up a quarter and said to Angel, 'You kin have it iff'n ya kin git Daryl ta run by the porch'. Daryl wouldn't run unless he had good reason to. He suspected something was up but never knew what. Angel knew just how to get Daryl to not only run, but scream and wet himself at the same time.

Daryl was not only scared of snakes, he was terrified of them. And, it didn't even have to be a real snake. Angel went back inside the house, came out the back door with a black leather belt. She ran toward Daryl at the angle that would make him run by the front porch yelling 'snake, snake' and waving it. It worked like a charm. Daryl jumped to his feet and took off running, screaming and peeing all at the same time.

Uncle Clete got to laughing so hard he rocked back too far and went over backwards, off the porch and into mom's rose bushes. Uncle Clete was thrashing around in the thorny bushes trying to get up, dad and gramps were laughing up a storm. For a brief moment I felt kind of bad for Daryl.

Uncle Clete died in 1950, all alone in his dingy little hotel room. That's how it was in those days.

Submitted By: Hop from IA on 2008-10-11

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