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Sunday, June 1, 2014


Uncle Joe
A few deserving words about Uncle Joe (Actually my great uncle.)

There was now and then and it’s now in Uncle Joe’s life. I reckon it is only fair for me to include a little of both in this tale (Actually a true account) about a man some only judged by the mood he gets in his later life.

Now everyone gets moody once in a while only Uncle Joe’s was more pronounced. Some describe it as a spell where he is in what they call another dimension.

I am his favorite grand-nephew I guess because he will on occasion talk to me a little before he gets in his mood again.

He doesn’t talk to other people at all excepting Aunt Gwendolyn, that’s his only daughter who visits from town once in a while. If I have a question about Uncle Joe I just ask my Aunt and she will answer me if she is a-mind to.

Over time I have pieced together stories about Uncle Joe and I still don’t have the full picture but some of it has come into focus.  He was born into a family of six boys and a few girls (I don’t rightly know how many for girls weren’t that important in those days except for marrying) and they weren’t rich or poor, just the kinda like the get-along best they can class of today.

Uncle Joe’s family owned a smallish farm with a barn, house, well and of course the outhouse. With each new child the line to the outhouse got longer so they built another one out by the barn (with two holes.)  They were one of the few around who had two privies. Today we don’t think anything about having two inside (bathrooms) but then it were special.

Uncle Joe (My great uncle) was raised like any other child on the farm meaning he did chores like milking gathering eggs, and slopping the hogs and such. He was about a medium size build meaning he wasn’t real big or very small. He took his studies seriously and graduated the eighth grade with honors (Meaning he finished the eighth) where most boys didn’t and hardly any of the girls.

Perhaps I should explain about the girls; before they got in the grades above the sixth they were either married or pregnant or both.  In those days the shot gun caused many a boy to propose to the gal they had been diddling with.

Uncle Joe escaped that man- trap by sticking strictly to the good book and not messing around. When he was about twenty he decided to take a wife so he wedded a young woman who lived down the road and since there wasn’t room to move her into the home place he moved into her folks’ place.

He stayed with her for about six months and then returned home for he didn’t like it over there; but he was there long enough to sire the child Aunt Gwen.

One of his complaints was he didn’t like the way they cooked the fat back. They lived just down the road from Joe’s folks place and it was said he would visit his wife every once in a while.  (When her folks’ passed on she lived by herself for a while till later when she moved in with Uncle Joe.)

At this point of Joe’s life (After he moved back home) he began preaching and tried to build up a flock and work at the same time. He would preach it right out of the book but people just ignored him.

One of his favorite sayings was; “You might not be interested in where you came from but you better give attention as to where you are going.”

After a few years he just quit for only a small handful would come to hear him preach and some of them only come to make fun.  Joe decided that the devil and moonshine were just too much to overcome.

Joe lived a righteous life but as he said; if people want to ridicule you they will come up with something and many found comfort in the fact he left his wife pregnant and moved back home. They would say he wasn’t much-a-man to do that although most of them had done worse.

There were a few happenings that got people’s attention and that was when Uncle Joe took his bull-whip to several different men over time that tried to seduce his wife.
Joe could handle a bull-whip better than a mule skinner and he could cut the flesh with every lash.
As with all things over time the memory of the beating the most recent brave soul got would fade and someone else would make the mistake of trying it.

One occasion that was talked about a lot was when four men tried to set a trap for Joe.

One was going to make a move on Joe’s wife and when Joe came down with his whip all four were going to beat him almost to death. Joe figured something was up and he took his bear dogs with him. When the four came at Joe it was sic-um time and… well let me just say some plans go awry and that was one of them.

When Joe started using his whip and said sic-um to those bear dogs it was a short but violent time. Sic-um to those dogs was a license to kill.
Those men were from down river and they never got over what was meant for a bear or a boar along with the gnashing with that special whip Joe had brought with the little pieces of metal in it…crippled as they were and angry as they were they never dared to make a mistake like that again and stayed down river the rest of their crippled lives.

Joe never mention it till this day and I don’t expect he will again, but they were several who went down to see Joe get his Comeuppance (for a number of them had tasted his whip) and they told the story of what they saw over and over again.

From that time on no one ever tried to mess with Joe’s wife again unless they were an unaware door to door salesman who made a similar mistake and later they all said that were the biggest mistake they ever had made in their life.

Somehow Joe always knew when someone of that nature were in town and sought them out afore they satisfied their wants. He gave them what they didn’t want and… let’s just say what the town folks said; “They never saw hide or hair of them again.”

As Joe’s siblings married most went to town and got day jobs in the city but Joe stayed on the farm and raised his animals and farmed. The old folks passed away and the farm passed down to him.  His wife and Gwen moved in with him but he wouldn’t let them cook, only clean and wash clothes and on occasion gather eggs and some fruit for canning.

After his wife passed away my folks moved in on him. My mother was his niece and he allowed it would be alright if she and her kin moved in for daughter Gwen had married and moved to town.

My dad took over the work Joe couldn’t do anymore and Joe liked my ma’s cooking. By this time Joe would get up, eat and go out on the front porch and sit there most of the day. He would mumble all day long about the past and what he should have done.

He was hard to understand except when for a moment he would talk straight and I could get it. He talked about he should have kept preaching whether people listened or not and he wished he had baptized a few more.

He wished his wife had been able to cook to suit him for then he would have lived with her even though she couldn’t have any more kids after Gwendolyn.

He told about things nobody knew about and one thing was where he hid his money. I didn’t dare look until he passed on and sure enough it was where he said. Joe was strange to some but years later I realized all he was about was living righteously and most people can’t cope with a righteous man for their ways have an admixture of unrighteousness.

He was a good man but didn’t tolerate foolishness or people blatantly sinning against God or him.

Being around him his last years made me realize that if I chose to live a Christian life there will be bumps in the road but if I pass on by and stay true to the course it will be worth it all.


This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”


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