In a Drunken Stupor
Our driveway in front of our house made a circle, so the cars could just pull in and go around the circle and pull right back out. It was what we called the flower bed. My mother planted flowers in that patch of ground every year and the flowers did make it look pretty.
The flower bed had a large rock on one end and on the other end was a nice rhododendron bush. It was pretty tall and got beautiful flowers on it. It was one of my mom’s prized possessions. She loved that rhododendron bush. It was hard to miss and was the first thing you saw as you approached the flower bed and continued around the driveway.
In that flower bed, my mother would plant petunias and marigolds every year. My mom always liked her flowers and she also planted in different places around the house morning glories and roses. Flowers have a way of brightening up any place.
There was one particular day when Uncle John came to visit us. He had an old pickup truck and I guess you could say he abused it pretty much. I was going to say Uncle John drank a little but I think I better say it like it really was. Uncle John drank more than a little.
I can usually remember many details of my young years but I just can’t remember why he came to see us that day. I look back at it now and have to laugh. It wasn’t funny then but it sure is now. As Uncle John hopped in his truck and started to leave he didn’t take the usual route of driving forward around the flower bed.
Uncle John slammed his truck in reverse and backed right over mom’s prized rhododendron. The poor bush didn’t stand a chance, it met an instant death. He had killed it. Uncle John never even realized what he had done. Mom was hopping mad at what John had done but there was no way to save it. We were standing there watching as Uncle John weaved his way out of our driveway. All of us were hoping that he would make it back to his house safely.
Every now and then for years to come, my mother would talk about the day John backed over her rhododendron. I can’t help but laugh thinking about it now.
Another time when I was seven years old my brother and I walked to my uncle’s house just for something to do. It was another time when he was in a drunken stupor. It was a bright sunny day. I can remember it just like it was yesterday. As we approached we could see he was really bad and mad about something. He was cussing to himself and he was weaving back and forth.
Getting closer he spit some tobacco juice in our direction. What a combination he had drinking and chewing tobacco. He yelled, “this bitch had little ones, I’ll take care of those.” The beagle was under the porch. He reached under there and pulled them out one by one. He proceeded to throw them on the ground and stomped them all to death right in front of us. I turned my head, I couldn’t stand to look, but the sound is something that will stick in my mind until the day I die.
As I turned around and opened my eyes I saw all of those newborn puppies lying dead in the dirt. It was something that no seven year old should have to look at. I looked up at my uncle weaving back and forth cussing a blue streak. I ran home crying and just threw myself on my bed and cried for the longest time. All I could think of was how cute those puppies looked and how much love they could have shown to someone.
Maybe that experience made me to love animals as much as I do. I look at the beagle I have now and hold her and pet her and tell her how much I love her. That day with my uncle was sixty-two years ago and I think of it so often. That vision will remain with me for the rest of my life. It just lingers in my thoughts.
I honestly hated my uncle for the rest of his life and I am sure I will hate him for the rest of mine. It was a long time before I went to his house again. I never felt the same about him again, never. I never even went to his funeral, I just couldn’t do it. Hate is a terrible thing. I don’t like to hate. It is not something that is in me, but that was the last straw. It was just too much for a little seven-year-old boy to take.
I will say that Uncle John really did have a green thumb. The garden in front of his house always had the most beautiful vegetables. He also planted acres of sweet corn. He earned a lot of money from that every year. We got a lot of sweet corn from him through the years. Back in those days, we got a dozen ears of corn for only 65 cents.
My uncle was a terrible drinker, it was a nonstop thing. Finally, his wife and daughter left him. It was more than they could take. The effects of alcohol on a person is a terrible thing. Yes, my uncle was an alcoholic. I can sit here and think of my uncle as I write this and those puppies just keep flashing in front of me. All I can ask is why, OMG, why?
Copyright Larry W. Fish 2017