And it was every since IT happened that I knew for certainty when this day came that I would be frightened to the edge of my being. For it is on this day, every year for as long as I can remember, that Uncle Jack and I would take our camping jaunt to the Catskill Mountains. Uncle Jack was on my fathers side, and a real joker to the end. When we would come together on Thanksgiving it was always he who would take the reins of the dinner conversation, leading us through wave after wave of laughter until our sides felt like bursting.
He would go into such detail with each story, so well bringing it to a conclusion with his epic punch lines, that there was no escaping a snicker or two. But there is no more humor now, as I pack my bag dreaming of how it must feel to be a bird, and capable of flying away whenever you wished. I have this inswallowable lump caught in my throat which keeps me from talking properly. It always agitates me when someone asks, Hey, are you okay? Forced to answer, I will scrounge up a, Uh-huh, Im fine, but I always stutter it out thanks to the infernal lump impeding my speech.
Each time I stutter it out I get so angry with myself I can bite the head off of whoever asks it, but really, I am furious with Uncle Jack. Even when I say his name my face turns sullen, as if I have deprived myself of sleep for days. And now, with each brutal shove of clothes into my bag, I feel helplessly hurtling to an inevitably immeasurably humiliating experience. This is my story of how I handled what my Uncle dealt.
My RoomMy father, Tom Barnold, and my hideously grinning Uncle Jack entered my room. You could at least knock, I stated with as much animosity as the situation would permit. Ooh! The temper on this one! Jested Jack to Tom. My father, my own father, welcomed the jest with his discrete chuckles, but I can not blame him for he knew none of what that comment actually meant, and his ignorance was my fault, and mine alone. John, why are you all excited? I was just checking on you before you go off to the mountains with this loser over here, replied my father elbowing his brother, why all the fuss? With the directness of the question Jack was immediately alarmed, and from behind my fathers back he gave me a scowl that only I have ever had the privilege to witness, much in the contrast of his usually cheerful grin he brandished to everyone else.
No reason, I guess, blurted myself. My father seemed satisfied, and my Uncle relieved. Now Tom, you know your kid here has many of the same wussy quirks of his old man. It is just plain unfair to criticize him for your foul-ups. Uncle Jack slipped into the conversation to relax the tense situation with a little levity. My father laughed again and left, leaving me alone withhim.
Well sonny, that was sure a close call, dont you agree? his grin now completely faded, and I gave no response. Hey, dont get silent with me, when I ask – you answer! barked Uncle Jack. Yes, yes, yes, that was sure a close call. Do you have to bully me, even now, you have a whole week to dowhat you do I stammered with a hint of independence. Yeah well, you know me, the plush returning to his face, just getting in a few extra kicks. I glared up at him, completely unaffected by his joke, teaming with anger, and wanting to express it.
Just remember you little punk, dont say anything stupid to your father, or you may regret it, he retorted to my glare, and having reassured my .