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In a Drunken Stupor

Updated on October 22, 2017
Larry Fish profile image

I was born and raised as a country boy in the rural Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. I love the art of writing..

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

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    • Larry Fish profile image
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      Larry W Fish 6 months ago from Raleigh

      I'm a beagle man also, John. My beagle that I have now has health problems. epilepsy, gall bladder disease, and developing lumps on her back and sides. I love her so much though and give her the care she needs. That story about the beagle puppies happened to me 62 years ago and I can picture it like it just happened. It honestly was horrifying to a 7 year old.

    • john000 profile image

      John R Wilsdon 6 months ago from Superior, Arizona

      I'm a beagle man. This story hit me where it hurts. You have described something similar to what many may have seen and/or tolerated. I have a few scenes like that in my brain, too. It's good to talk about. Makes me realize how good dogs are, and how nasty big drinkers can be. Good hub.

    • Larry Fish profile image
      Author

      Larry W Fish 8 months ago from Raleigh

      Yes, it is sad, Peggy, but unfortunately alcohol has ruined so many families. My other uncle was just as bad but I rarely ever saw him, he lived far away. My father was an alcoholic as well but not as bad as my Uncle John. I will never forget about those puppies as long as I live, nothing in life has ever affected me as bad as that day.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 8 months ago from Houston, Texas

      What a sad story on so many levels. It is sad that your uncle was an alcoholic. It was sad that it affected his family as well as others...particularly you. It was also sad hearing about the demise of those poor little defenseless puppies. Alcoholism is a terrible disease!

    • Larry Fish profile image
      Author

      Larry W Fish 8 months ago from Raleigh

      Thanks for the comment, Devika.

      Sometimes we have no choice but to deal with it.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 8 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Certain experiences show us hate and love. In your story you showed me courageous person.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 8 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Wow!! Nearly a half century!! Bless you both & congratulations!

    • Larry Fish profile image
      Author

      Larry W Fish 8 months ago from Raleigh

      Thanks Paula! Actually I am a very pleasant and happy man, but certain times of my childhood do still haunt me. Maybe it is best that I don't forget. I guess my wife keeps me on the happy road, we will be married 47 years in December.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 8 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Larry...I sincerely understand that such a traumatic incident to a 7 yr. old can be a lifelong haunting. Each time this thought disrupts your peace & happiness, please hug a dog or cat or read a pleasant book about people & their pets...like, "Marley & Me."

      You need not convince me of the horrors of alcohol abuse, believe me. I can imagine what you went through.

      I don't know who actually said this but I recall reading it many years ago: "If life is just a bowl of cherries, why am I dealing with the pits?" I think we've all felt this way a time or two. Keep smiling, Larry. Paula

    • Larry Fish profile image
      Author

      Larry W Fish 8 months ago from Raleigh

      Thank you for your comment, Paula. It has been 62 years since I witnessed that horrible time in my life and honestly it still haunts me. I can vision it in my mind like it just happened. Actually that is just a tip of the iceberg as to what I saw the effects of alcohol do to my family. My father was also a heavy drinker, not as bad as my uncle, but bad. Life is not always a bowl of cherries.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 8 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Larry....OMG...I burst into tears just reading your story. The vision in my head was unbearable. Had I witnessed such a hateful, inhumane event as you did, I truly believe this could traumatize me (any small child) for life. Inconceivable, quite frankly, Larry. I'm so sorry that you had this wretched experience. I hope it comforts you to give constant love to your own pets.

      If I saw anything remotely similar to this as an adult......I would............Never mind.....what I would do immediately to that person is not something that should be in print! I'm going to hug my dog. Peace, Paula

    • Larry Fish profile image
      Author

      Larry W Fish 8 months ago from Raleigh

      FlourishAnyway, thank you for your comment. Yes, that man stomping those puppies to death haunts me to this very day. No child should have to see such a thing. He was not a good man, but when he drank he was pure evil.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      That’s such an awful memory. And to think that you had to witness that as a young child. I love animals so much. It’s particularly the visuals that I’ve experienced in life that still haunt me decades later. Anyone who abuses animals like that was likely either already abusing their family or capable of it. I’m glad they left this terrible man.

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