my uncle is a trip.
a few years ago i took a road trip to texas to visit my grandmother, who was living in a home, bedridden, walking distance from my aunt and uncle’s house in Del Rio Texas. i went because i thought it would likely be the last time i would get to see her. while it wasn’t the last time i saw her, it was the last time i saw her when she was still lucid, so i’m glad i went. i guess she would have been 94 at the time. she still knew who i was, and could carry on a conversation.
but i’ll talk about her another time.
i stayed with my aunt and uncle while i was there. that was pretty cool, as i’d never really known them, living two states away. likewise with their two daughters, my cousins, who were several years older than me to the point where age-wise they’d be more like aunts than cousins.
tripped me out when i met them. i no more than walked into the living room and my cousin Michaelanna said “oh Greg i would have known who you were even if i didn’t know you were coming. you walk just like your dad” (she was a kid when my dad was a young man). thought that was kind of weird. didn’t know i had a ‘walk’.
anyway one day my uncle, who was retired, asked me if i’d like to come along on his honey-dos. “honey dos?” i asked. “honey do this, honey do that. i have to go get a key made for your aunt Brenda.” so i said sure.
we go to the hardware store and he gets his key and delivers it to my aunt’s office (she’s a real estate agent) and then we go to the grocery store and buy steaks and beer and other food and then to the liquor store so he can get a bottle of vodka. while we were there he shows me a pot by the window with a plant, says it’s a coffee plant, and isn’t supposed to be able to grow within a thousand miles of here, yet here it is.
we get his groceries home and he asks me: “you ever drink beer?”
"you ever go to bars and drink beer?"
"yeah, from time to time."
"you want to go to a bar and drink beer?"
i laughed out loud. “sure Uncle Clay, let’s go.”
so we went to some bar and i think i had like three beers. he would under no circumstances let me buy a round. he wanted to keep buying me more, but i cut myself off, as that evening we were going to have a big barbecue with the whole family and i didn’t want to be passed out drunk, as i was already buzzing.
while we were there we were talking to some guy from louisiana who was drunk off his ass, and i learned that slurred cajun is very hard to understand. the guy was hilarious even if i did have no idea what he was talking about.
when we left i said to my uncle that the southern accent must take getting used to because i couldn’t understand that guy. he said to me he couldn’t understand him either, he just thought he was funny.
we get back home and my uncle’s offering me more beer. i tell him no thanks. then he asks how about a vodka and orange juice. i had to turn that down too.
later my cousin Michaelanna’s back over and my uncle says something to her as a joke and she gets kinda pissy about it (i no longer remember what he said). my uncle shakes his head and says “people take life too seriously. no one gets out of it alive.”
i thought i was going to die at dinner. baked potatoes, salad, steaks. back home my father would have cooked one steak per person. not my uncle. that’s apparently not the texas way. he just cooked a big mess of tbones and filets. i ate a big old t-bone and the rest of the meal and he tried to push another t-bone on me. i was already feeling full, said no thanks. “how about a filet?” and i don’t know why but i did eat the filet.
when i finished that he tried to offer me another t-bone! or another filet! and this when i’m expected to eat cake after the meal (i’d had a birthday about a week or so previous and my grandmother insisted they buy me a cake. my aunt tried to tell her that my birthday was already past but my grandmother didn’t want any of her lip, so they got me a cake).
i ate a piece of cake and of course “more cake?” “how about more ice cream? or a t-bone? vodka and orange juice?”
it was a trip. it also explains why the south has a reputation for being overweight.