Yes, I know I have placed this story in this paper in times past. There has been a special event however this week that has caused me once again be thrown back into the realm of realization that Uncle Ed is not going to change regardless of the circumstances in life. Read this story and I will pick up again at the ending to share a new event and the reason I re-ran this story.
Marriage in a family always brings new relatives. When I married my sweetheart over forty years ago she brought with her a good crew of kinfolk. Good people from East Texas.
Uncle Ed is just a few years older than I am. When I first met Uncle Ed and Aunt Brenda they lived in Dallas. Uncle Ed expanded himself physically and went from a long, tall, slender fellow to a long, tall, big guy. Now I don’t ever want to dis anybody about their size but Uncle Ed and I have “grown” and “lost” together with each of us gaining an overly proportionate share around the mid section.
Uncle Ed and I have spent many a good time together over the years fishing, hunting, shooting bottle rockets at each other and just having good times. It’s about one of our hunting trips I want to share with you.
Over my years of working I have moved from an outside, heavy sweat construction background to inside air-conditioned comfort. I have no desire ever again to have to earn my living outside. I am spoiled to the A/C and I know it! I don’t like to sweat anymore and I don’t like that sticky, grungy feeling I get when the humidity is real high. Because of my desire to stay cool and comfortable my personal habits allow me two showers per day, morning and evening. I like the feeling of squeaky-clean hair and the coolness the showers bring. Even when I go to the ranch to work I shower two times a day. I feel refreshed!
As all of us know our bathing habits, or lack thereof, can sometimes cause the paint to peel from the walls. You know the smell; the type of smell that can spoil the milk before we ever get it put into the refrigerator. That smell that can gag a gnat! When men get together in large overnight groups the extra body heat and humidity in a room can cause the roof to float up to catch air! This was the setting for this story. Several grown men and boy’s inside our ranch house several years ago and Uncle Ed was among the crowd.
Our sleeping arrangements matched Uncle Ed and I in a double bed. Putting the two of us in one double bed is like stuffing two cans of sardines into one. The two of us were suffering for room and there was none to spare.
Uncle Ed had already been at the ranch since the late night before and with the exception of yours truly nobody else had taken a shower. Because I was refreshed and clean smelling I felt I had the right to complain about everybody else’s B.O. Some of these guys and their clothes were already beginning to run the deer off and they hadn’t even gotten into the stand! They were pretty rank and Uncle Ed was among the crew.
As the lights went out for the night Uncle Ed plops himself on the bed next to me fully clothed, coveralls, socks, dirty gimmie hat and all! He didn’t pull back the covers. He simply fell on the bed right on top of the bed spread without pulling back the covers. I immediately told him how I felt about his odor and kindly asked him to at least remove his hat and socks. After a few moments of silence he refused to do so and I became perplexed as to what would prompt his need for socks and hat in bed? Again I requested him to remove them and again he refused.
Now keep in mind we are in one large, dark room with several other guys sleeping in various areas on the floor. As we all know when the lights go out our sense of hearing becomes enhanced and when one guy speaks everyone else listens.
Again I asked Uncle Ed to remove his socks and hat and he refused. I was really hoping he would have been able to wear something cleaner to bed and as the moments passed by my frustrations grew and grew. I covered my head with my covers but the smell was beginning to perminiate itself under the covers and I knew I couldn’t sleep with my head covered all night. I fussed and complained to no avail. Uncle Ed refused to accommodate my wishes and I grew more and more aggravated. After pleading, demanding and begging I tried to resolve myself to my plight for the entire night.
I turned my back to him and put the covers again over my head and my hand over my mouth and nose and was going to try to make the best of it. As I lay in the darkness my frustrations turned to anger and soon I bounded out of the bed and hollered some very poorly placed words at Uncle Ed, “ Uncle Ed, I ain’t sleepin with you unless you take all your clothes off”!!!!!!.
Well…… after realizing in a flash what I had said and knowing how it sounded, somebody jumped up and turned the lights on and every man in the camp was raising up from his sleeping area wondering what in the world was going on!!!!
Needless to say we had a good belly laugh and I simply moved to a less pungent area to sleep on the floor. I really think Uncle Ed kind of planned it that way and that’s why he refused to remove his socks and hat!
This past week Uncle Ed made a trip to the emergency room. He just wasn’t feeling good. I stopped by after work to visit him and as I entered the room and there he was, once again, almost fully clothed all laid up on the hospital bed with socks and gimmie hat to boot! He did however have his shirt off this time so they could hook up some wires but the hat and black socks were a dead giveaway as to the fact he has not and will not change but at least I think he had taken a bath…at least I hope so.