Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sometimes

Get help.
My Uncle Perry always smelled funny.

And when he banged on our door late some evenings I would always turn off the TV to watch him. Not because I wanted to. I had to. He was his own TV show. Not a sit-com though, not a comedy at all. Yet I laughed. And so did my parents, but I noticed my Dad shake his head and stare at the floor sometimes. I guess I learned from my Uncle Perry that sometimes people laugh because there's nothing else we can do.

Uncle Perry was loud. And big. He liked to slap his hands on his knees. Sometimes he would want to dance with my mother. They would waltz around the kitchen and my Dad would drink his coffee and open and close his fist. I felt sorry for my Mom turning in circles and circles, her brown curls bouncing, her chin pushed toward him, a smile painted on her face. When it was over she would reach for her cigarettes while Uncle Perry sat with his elbows on our kitchen table, his head hanging down like something almost unhinged, like a flower long past blooming and about to drop from the stem.

Maybe he was crying?

How would I know? This was thirty years ago. I was just a kid sitting in the living room hoping he wouldn't come in there. Sometimes I think I still am.

16 comments:

Al Penwasser said...

I can only imagine the stories my kids, nieces, and nephews will tell me about me. In my own best interests, though, I should probably help them write them.
I don't want to be known as the smelly uncle.

Nicki said...

Well-written and powerful.

Really reminded me of Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz."

Nubian said...

I do believe God provides us with entertaining family members. God wants us to laugh, a lot.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I've known a few Uncle Perry's in my time too. It's one reason I don't drink.

wendy said...

Ha ha, I think many of us have had similar Uncle Perry's in their lives eh.

Now I have to do some scrolling and catch up on your posts. Good to be visiting you again.

Vinny C said...

I've had a few characters in my family to deal with too. Your uncle sounds like he was more fun than most of mine.

Laoch of Chicago said...

Ugh, it sounds like he was bi-polar.

Windsmoke. said...

Looks like your Uncle Perry is a jolly fella to have around even though he's smelly :-).

dbs said...

@AP Edit out the bad parts I guess eh?
@Nicki Thank you. That's very kind praise.
@Nubian Or cry.
@DSWS I drink rarely for the same reason.
@wendy Sad but true.
@VinnyC That worries me.
@LoC Probably.
@Windsmoke Nope. Not. At. All.

Antares Cryptos said...

What brought this about?

dbs said...

I read a blogger's evocative post about her niece who died of an overdose. It stirred memories of my uncle (name changed) who was a severe alcoholic and the way his drunken antics made me feel. I still have this fear of drunks. Unfortunately though I don't think I communicated it very well in this post. I was trying to write an honest portrayal/profile type piece but I guess it implied genuine laughter to some readers.
Thanks for asking AC.

Alistair said...

I would have to agree with Al at the top of the comments.


- Where's my pen.......

Core Contrarian said...

Actually I think you communicated it very well and gave enough clues that it was an alcohol issue.

Antares Cryptos said...

Tragic.

Teachinfourth said...

Makes me remember a few stores of my own. This was very well-written!

PokerLawyer said...

Wow, I want to know more.

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