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Getting Back at Mean "Unk Jake"

Updated on March 25, 2016
 Post War Era 1948
Post War Era 1948 | Source

A glimpse of farm life

 Riding herd on cows
Riding herd on cows | Source

The two faces of uncles

Almost every family has one. That certain uncle "Joe," "Bill," or "Howard." All good guys. And all are so vital to your family that you would be lost if they did not show up on major holidays--Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July and New Year's. These uncles are special men.

And almost every family has one of "these" certain uncles. "Jim," "Tom," and in your case, "Uncle Jacob," or "Unk Jake," when you adored him at age five. Notice I used the word 'adored' in past tense.

Why you stopped adoring "Unk Jake," should have been written into a screenplay to be in the same thought as "Cool Hand Luke," so you would be set for life, but it wasn't. You were too scarred by what happened one dark day in mid-July when you were made to stay with this "Unk Jake," while school was out and both your parents had to work to make ends meet.

James Wilson  late 1800s  pioneer sheep farmer
James Wilson late 1800s pioneer sheep farmer | Source

Your story could be thought of with this classic film

"Unk Jake," the widower

There was no "Aunt" anyone, for "Uncle Jacob's" wife, "Katherine Leigh," mysteriously disappeared one dark night when the moon was hidden from view and although "Uncle Jacob," did put on one good act, in your opinion, in wondering where "Kathy," as he called her, had disappeared.

With the authorities holding "Uncle Jacob," up in high regards for being a hard working cotton farmer, pillar of the community and member of his small church, "Jacob," had easily skirted all suspicions of having anything to do with the disappearance of his wife.

Not "Unk Jake"

Humble  by Osher  Partovi
Humble by Osher Partovi | Source

Did anyone of your ancestors farm for a living?

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Wounds made at early age leaves permanent scars

You were six years of age when "this" soul-wrenching event happened to you. Even today at age 33, you, a single man, working at a successful CPA office, have flashbacks of "that" frightful moment when "Unk Jake," wrecked your life according to your viewpoint.

Oh, you were so naive at age six. And like most six-year-old's, you trusted the old folks who circulated through your life. Even "Unk Jake." But "that" moment, that scary moment underneath the old Oak tree at his yard's edge changed your trusting attitude to a dark, cold, cynical teenager and this darkness grew with you over the years to where you did not trust anyone. Thus the reason you never married.

You had made with your own hands, an airplane from the thin pieces of wood from an old Washington Apple Co. (crate) you found in "Jacob's" barn. How proud you were to have built this airplane strictly from memory of an airplane you had seen in a Progressive Farmer magazine laying on "Jacob's" couch.

When you ran up to "Unk Jake," holding your prize creation, your eyes were wide with sincere anticipation for "Unk Jake's" approval, but as he took the airplane and eye'd it from back to front, he let out a vulgar word and even more vulgar laugh like that of a high seas pirate with no soul and threw it into the air and laughed harder when it crashed. Truthfully, he laughed so hard that the tobacco juice in his mouth started to trickle down each side of his chin.

Introduction to farming

Farmer in from the fields.
Farmer in from the fields. | Source

Your laugh turned to shambles

You were so shocked you did not breathe for nearly five minutes. Did "Unk Jake" care that you could have died? No. He was too busy laughing at you. Not with you. And he continued to laugh at you most of the morning and until your parents stopped by to pick you up after they got off from work.

This serpentine-natured "Unk Jake," even made a Broadway production of sharing the news with your dad and mom who chuckled to humor him, but felt the pain in your eyes and saw how devastated you were from this ugly experience.

As time went by, the bitterness toward "Unk Jake" grew until one day, this harsh feeling evolved into vengeance. Yes, vengeance. And the plan you hatched at age 15 was pure genius. Even Albert Einstein would be jealous of your mind power at how you were going to get even with "Unk Jake."

This is your story.

Getting Back at Mean "Unk Jake"

The  windmill was  a vital part of  any successful  farm.
The windmill was a vital part of any successful farm. | Source
1938 Southeast   Missouri   sharecroppers.
1938 Southeast Missouri sharecroppers. | Source
Rural Americans on a farm  circa 1900.
Rural Americans on a farm circa 1900. | Source
 Some farmers were working  with mules in the early days of farming in the U.S.A.
Some farmers were working with mules in the early days of farming in the U.S.A.
Slave labo  in North Carolina  late 19th early  20th century.
Slave labo in North Carolina late 19th early 20th century. | Source
This rugged farmer's face is proof of how tough it was to be a farmer.
This rugged farmer's face is proof of how tough it was to be a farmer. | Source
Kansas family  milking their  cows.
Kansas family milking their cows.

Child labor was evident in the early days of farming

Children work  at Cherryville Mfg Co  textile mill Cherryville, N.C.
Children work at Cherryville Mfg Co textile mill Cherryville, N.C. | Source
Invention of the cotton gin  created a big  economic boom in the early lives of American farmers.
Invention of the cotton gin created a big economic boom in the early lives of American farmers. | Source
Frank Arthur  NUCKOLS (left, 1858-1927)  Felix McConnell ROBERTSON  (1857-1926).
Frank Arthur NUCKOLS (left, 1858-1927) Felix McConnell ROBERTSON (1857-1926). | Source

"Unk Jake" meets your vengeance

First, you got a few of your schoolmates to help you with your rouse and head to "Jacob's" farm so you could con him easily for he was now in his early 80's and not too sharp mentally.

Then you convinced him that you and your friends wanted him to teach you and your group the fundamentals of farming to which his ego, which was still healthy, quickly agreed to do.

What lie in store for this "Unk Jake," like I said, would have been a box office smash.
When gullible "Unk Jake," . . .

  • Told you and your friends to look at the ground, you all looked upward and started dancing like the Apache Indians just before they made a raid on the pioneer settlers a few miles away.
  • Instructed you, his nephew, to take a shovel and dig a hole to plant tomato plants, you in your cool fashion, took the dirt and threw it in the air covering "Unk Jake's" worn-out hat.

(Now "Unk Jake" was growing angry, but could do nothing to you due to the number of witnesses there were around. Just like you planned it).

  • Picked up a tomato plant and went into a distertation on the benefits of tomatoes, you and your male friends were too busy telling jokes that are meant only for young men.

("Unk Jake" could only glare at you and your buddies and shake with anger--such as Frank "Sgt. Carter" Sutton when Jim "Gomer Pyle" Nabors left Mayberry and the Andy Griffith Show, to join the Marines).

  • But now, the female friends you brought with you in this conspiracy to get back at this mean man who wrecked your life, started throwing dirt clods at "Jacob," and screaming, "Snake! Snake! Kill the snake!"
  • Now "Unk Jake," arose from the ground dirty and embarrassed, but cranked his old Ford tractor. Bad move, "Unk Jake," for you hopped into the driver's seat, threw it in high gear and dug ruts into the rich soil while your friends yelled in approval.

("Unk Jake" was so angry that he could only weep as you tore up his field).

  • Before "Unk Jake" could scold you, your friends headed for his grapevines that he grew for making jelly and a little grape wine and ate them like starved bovine. You looked so innocent and said, "Awww, 'Unk Jake,' I hate that. But I can stop them. Hey, you there! Stop that!" You said in a whisper on purpose to aggravate the man who made your life nothing more than shambles when you simply wanted him to like your airplane.
  • Now to finish your plan of vengeance, you acted humble enough to convince "Unk Jake," to take you on in an old-fashioned wrestling match right then and there in the field of dirt. You knew that even at his elderly age, his ego would not let him back out. You took him in less than five seconds sitting on top of him laughing like a wild dog as your friends applauded.

"Unk Jake," was finished. Beaten in every way. Your plan had worked like a charm. And before you and your friends left him still laying on the ground, he managed to prop himself up on an elbow and said, "Nephew, just why did you do this to me?"

You intentionally gave him a few minutes to worry about what you would say.

"Oh, I was just remembering a special moment a few summers ago when I was six and had built a nice wooden airplane and ran to show it to you, but you only threw it and laughed at me and laughed because I cried, you poor excuse for an uncle. That's why. I just wanted you to once like what I did. Nothing more."

"Unk Jake" was trembling, weeping like a baby, and not speaking as you and your friends walked away from his field and farm.

Sometimes vengeance can be as empty as a hole in the ground.
Now you can live free without having "Unk Jake" and "that" dark cloud hanging over you.

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