Thursday, November 1, 2007
It was 1947 and my Uncle Johnny from my mother’s side had came to our farm. He came every Monday to get eggs. Uncle Johnnie never married instead he stayed home and took care of his mother, my grandmother. Grandfather had died of black lung disease from working in the coal mines, when mother was very young, so Uncle Johnnie also helped raise her. He always teased me when that I was little about my teeth. Uncle Johnny had false teeth and he would remove them and then tell me to remove my teeth. I would pull and tug on my teeth but they would not come out. Then he would tell me did you nail them in so you cannot get them out? I would say they must be nailed in as I cannot get them out, and mother and Uncle Johnny would laugh and laugh and I could not figure out what they could be laughing at then. I had the most contact with Uncle Johnny. Uncle Romie lived in California sometimes come back once a year, he loved to drink beer and cook outs. Uncle Frank lived in Oklahoma and we seldom seen him. Grandpa Kime lived a half mile south of us but Dad did not like his second wife he married after his mother had died. Grandpa Kime died during my first year in school. Our cousin Louie, was in the navy during the Second World War, had three daughter and lived in California and usually came back once every year when I was growing up.
This day Uncle Johnny loaded me and my brother into his truck and took us to one of the ponds that was on the 160 acres that he owned across the road from our farm. He had also taken one of the guns from the summer kitchen. It was a single shot 32 caliber rim fire rifle. After Uncle Johnny died Dad gave this rifle to my Uncle Frank (Uncle Johnny’s brother) also from mother’s side along with a picture of the charge up San Juan Hill. I never seen them after that. It was a wonderful day when that we went to the barnyard and dug up some worms. Then we was ready to leave. Uncle Johnny drove to the pond. We set out our cane poles that Uncle Johnny had bought for us. We used real cork corks on our cane poles that had came from bottle tops. Uncle Johnny had split them half way through with his pocket knife that allowed then to be placed on the line on our cane poles. The line was tied to the end of the cane pole and the line was made the length of the cane pole. This could be easily handled with one hand by Uncle Johnny but required both hands by both me and my older brother Johnnie. We baited up our cane poles and soon we had bites and was catching both perch and catfish. We put these on a stringer on the pond dam that we was fishing on.
Then Uncle Johnny took the rifle from the truck aimed it and shot a bull frog that was by the shore of the pond. I started to run to retrieve the frog when Uncle Johnny reminded me that their were water moccasins (cottonmouth) poisones snakes in the pond and to be careful. I carefully walked around the edge of the pond and found the frog. I brought it back to add it to our stringer of fish. Uncle Johnny helped both me and my brother shot the many snapping turtles that was in the pond. It was a lot of fun having Uncle Johnny help us learn to shoot. It was and important lesson that would later save my life in Viet-Nam. All too soon it was time to leave. We loaded all of the cane poles the gun and fish and frog into Uncle Johnny’s pick up and went back to the house.
Posted by Ottster at 7:52 AM