Butter Files: Uncle Don

We were returning home from a family trip, seven of us packed like sardines into the Chrysler station wagon.  As our home came into view, my Stepmom was the first to make the connection.

“Oh no!”, she groaned.

“What?” we all thought, looking at each other.  Did we forget something?  Did we hit a cat?  Did this have anything to do with us at all?

And then we, too, looked towards our house and we also saw it:  The mile long Winnebago parked  in the middle of our lawn.

“Uncle Don!” we all yelled.  We kids adored Uncle Don.  For one thing, he drove around IN his house, like an eccentric, geriatric hermit crab on permanent vacation.  The freedom of the open road was Uncle Don’s.  He went where he liked, he slept where he liked.  I still was having a little trouble working out the mathematics of how a vehicle that big could turn corners but I hoped that one day I could learn to do it and join Uncle Don in his adventurous lifestyle.  The budding opportunist in me recognized that Uncle Don was approaching the age where license renewals were not a given.  At some point the man was going to need a driver.  And a nurse, probably, but that wasn’t my problem.  I wasn’t very nurse-like.  I did suspect, however, that I would be a very good driver.

What also occurred to me, though, as we pulled into the driveway, was that my gentle, sweet Stepmom who was nice to everybody, didn’t seem happy at the prospect of a visit from Uncle Don.  Why?  Wasn’t he her uncle, after all?  Didn’t he always show up unexpectedly, creating a sense of excitement and possibility?  Didn’t he take all of his meals with us, being careful to make us aware of his restrictions so that we didn’t accidentally send him into diabetic shock?  Didn’t he open his Winnebago  doors to us kids to explore and climb over and didn’t we all get the opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat, before he suggested we all go back into the house and have a nice long visit and maybe a snack as he was feeling a bit peckish?  And didn’t he always, always tell great stories while we waited for his laundry to finish washing?  Sure, they were the same stories he’d told on his last visit and the one before that, but they were mostly good stories, if a bit long winded.  I didn’t understand her visceral reaction to his unexpected presence.

Uncle Don had come calling.  How could this be bad news?  Who could understand the mysterious ways of grown ups?  Not me.  I shrugged my skinny shoulders, hopped out of the wagon and raced  across the lawn, calling first turn at the wheel.

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  18 comments for “Butter Files: Uncle Don

  1. March 15, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Great post. I suspect many of us have an Uncle Don; later in life he may morph into an in-law, or a spouse's friend. I wonder if I'm becoming that person….

    Like

  2. March 15, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    And how many more visits did it take for you to figure out the answer? 🙂

    Like

  3. March 16, 2014 at 12:39 am

    You are welcome to park on my lawn anytime, SFM

    Like

  4. March 16, 2014 at 12:40 am

    I eventually asked. Uncle Don was a bit of a mooch

    Like

  5. dbs
    March 16, 2014 at 4:48 am

    My favourite Uncle had no thumbs. Seriously. And by favourite I mean I was mostly terrified.

    Like

  6. March 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    You communicated your joy and your Mom's lack of same, very well but your descriptions.

    Like

  7. March 16, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Grownups sucks. I refuse to join their world. Uncle Don clearly has made the same decision. I like him. 🙂

    Like

  8. March 16, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Oh your poor step-mother. She already had the 7 people in the car to take care of and along comes Uncle Don. Kind of reminded me of Eddie in the National Lampoon Vacation movies with his motorhome. Hopefully, Uncle Don didn't stand out on the lawn in his bathrobe yelling “shitter's full!”

    Like

  9. March 17, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    I used to dream of dropping out of the 4th grade, jacking a Winnebago somewhere and hitting the open road, probably towards that mythical land called California. Never made it. Ahh, well, I enjoyed your Uncle Don enjoying his life on the road.

    Like

  10. March 17, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    I seem to recall vaguely a winnebago lumbering down the beach at South Padre whilst camping, and wondering how if he got stuck in the sand there?
    Our ' 65 goat would get stuck at the mere mention of sand . . . maybe more weight is better weight . . .

    Like

  11. March 17, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Wow. Farming accident? That is a little terrifying. Yet, strangely compelling. I think we just found your next blog post!

    Like

  12. March 17, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    My in-laws showed up one night, late, about 24 hours earlier than expected. That's the closest I've ever come to getting it. It's not the person, necessarily, as much as it is the disruption to routine, the kids going bonkers, and the lack of silence

    Like

  13. March 17, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    I have a vague memory of him sharing Necco wafers. Definitely not a grown up.

    Like

  14. March 17, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Ha ha. No, he never did, but he may have owned a pair of white loaferrs.

    Like

  15. March 17, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Thanks Shelly-in my neck of the woods, the mythical promised land was Florida.

    Like

  16. March 17, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    So you've met my uncle, then? If that happened now, we can be sure there would be a you tube video about it. Hey, maybe there IS a you tube video. I'm going to check.

    Like

  17. March 17, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    And so there was. If anyone is interested. http://youtu.be/4FGGpl6uSPE

    Like

  18. March 19, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Good one . . . cept my bago that I saw was one of those older ones that seemed higher than they were long with junk on the top, and this sucker was driving down the BEACH!
    He/she may still be out there somewhere, toward Mexico, living, buried.

    Like

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