Stories by Alice B. Clagett 


The Uncle with Blue Eyes
a story by Alice B. Clagett

When Bowie married, Uncle John stepped forward as substitute godfather for my mom's three young daughters.

Just in time, as we had been contemplating forlorn Saturdays, sans trips to town for ice cream sodas.

We weren't too sure about Uncle John. For one thing, he had blue eyes. What could that mean?

Secondly, he had an old, black Mustang. And a jeep with no roof and no doors.

He spent his days ploughing, or riding a combine, sweat dripping from his eyeglasses.

He had a way with stray dogs, that worked equally well with children -- a direct gaze and a serious mien, most especially when engaging us in ludicrous conversations.

At lunch one day in my grandmother's kitchen, he sat on the bench, elbows on the oilclothed table, knife and fork in hand. Leftover mashed potatoes and canned peas were served.

"Do you know," he asked, "the best way to eat these?"

Three pairs of eyes stared at him, across the table.

He piled mashed potatoes on the knife. Then arranged the peas in a line across the top of the potatoes.

Then ate one pea, and a little of the potatoes.

Three mouths dropped open.

My grandmother said, "John, stop that fooling around!"

--a gift from Alice B. Clagett
  28 May 2018


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