Uncle Bud

“Now take this here Trayvion business,” said Uncle Bud.  He stopped and took a sip, just like he always done before delivering his wisdom.  Uncle Bud worn’t axtually my uncle.  In fact, he worn’t no blood kin at all.  He had once been married to Mama’s cousin.  She had run off with a fellow named Irvin who made the cars in Deetroit.  Which told you a lot, Mama said, because she always hated the cold.  But since he was kin-in-law, Mama felt obligated to invite Uncle Bud to supper once in awhile.

Uncle Bud had been to Raleigh a couple of times for making the corn.  He said he didn’t make it no more, but he always had some.  Pretty good quality, too.  He had the Mason jar under his chair.  And another one of lower-grade stuff in the corner of the porch to slap on the moskeeta bites you got sitting out after supper.  It did a good job.  Killed the itch right away.

“I been to Flarida once,” he went on, after another sip, “when I was working on the railroad.  It ain’t no kind of place at all.”  Another sip.  “Ain’t nothing but sand, snakes, and Yankees.  You can have my share for a can of warm Pabst Blue Ribbon, and keep the change.”

“Now take this here Trayvion business.  The way the gu’ment went after that Zipperman boy tells me this.  For the gu’ment, black still trumps brown.  Of course, the white don’t count at all.  The first is only a temporary condition, but the second is perminint.”

Then Mama called from the kitchen that Lawrence Welk was on the reruns.  Uncle Bud screwed the lid on his jar and went inside.  Mama don’t allow no likker in the house no way.  That was the only show he ever watched.  I think he liked the blonde girl that jumped up and down playing the piana.

Uncle Bud Solves Terrorism—Almost

“Uncle” Bud was axtually, like I tole you before, Mama’s cousin-in-law.  He had a hole on one side between his neck and his shoulder like a chunk had been bit out.  He got that in Ko-rea.  I know it’s true because I once saw a official U.S. Army paper about it, even though some nasty folks say he got stabbed or shot in a gentlemen’s disagreement at a moonshine camp down in Sou’Calina.

Uncle Bud’s talk was near always interesting to younger fellows—especially when there worn’t none of the womenfolks in hearing distance and the ’shine was going around, which was usually the case where Uncle Bud was concerned.  Sometimes we would ask him to tell about Ko-rea, like boys will.  War is the thing boys are most interested in before they notice girls.  He would get a strange expression, different from his usual mean-natured look, and spit if he was outside.  “Never mind about that,” he would say.  “Just tell them not to call me again until them Red Chinese reach Bryson City.”

That did not keep him from commenting on “foreign affairs” when he felt like it.  “Now take this Nine-’leven business,” he said.  “It’s simple.  With them A-rabs a few big shots they call shakes keep all the women.  The rest of them boys are running around holding one another’s hands and half-crazy to blow up anything in sight.  What we need to do is make them shakes share out the women so they will all quiet down.  They’ll be so grateful they will pay us to take the oil off their hands.  What are they going to do with it anyway except maybe put in on the places where them camels has bit theyselves?”

“But, of course, that ain’t going to happen.  Because our big shots, like Little Boy Bush, are bosom buddies to them shakes.  They split the loot with them, and they ain’t about going to upset the gravy train.”

Uncle Bud and ESPN

As I was saying, “Uncle” Bud was really nobody’s uncle, at least nobody that I know of.  Uncle Hobart really was my uncle—by law if not by choice, as Daddy said.  Uncle Hobart knew he was more advanced than the rest of us.  He had been to Chapel Hill and got a regular paycheck from the state.  Opposite of everybody else, he wore a tie every day except Sunday, and denim only on Sunday.  When the fruit jar was making the rounds on the porch after supper he would kind of sniff and make a face and pass it on.  One night he was bragging about his new saturnlight-TV dish which could “GET SPORTS TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY!”

Uncle Bud almost never watched TV.  He used to watch the baseball a little, but gave it up when all the players started being foreign.  He took a sip and looked over at Uncle Hobart.  “Now take the basketball,” he said.  “I can’t think of anything more useless than a bunch of grown men watching a bunch of boys of the African persuasion running up and down throwing a ball at a hoop.”  He took another sip and then spit.  Uncle Bud is the only man I know who has mastered the fine art of drinking liquor and chewing tobacco at the same time.  I don’t suggest you try it.

“Wait a minute,” Uncle Bud resumed.  “Yes I can think of something even stupider: a bunch of grown men with a bag of high-priced sticks in a bag running around trying to hit a little  ball into a hole.”  The last comment might have been aimed at another uncle, who shall remain nameless at this time.

“As for the football, all those big fellows ain’t worth a damn for anything important.  They wouldn’t last ten minutes at the Chosin.  It was the little tough wiry fellows that came through there.  The big boys who bragged about how strong they were and threatened to beat you up, they folded—every time.”  Uncle Bud almost never talked about Ko-rea, but he himself was a little tough wiry fellow if there ever was one.