Friday, February 27, 2009

Photo Story: Uncle George

"Have you heard the one about Hugh and the monastary? You haven't? (chuckle, chuckle) Well...."

I went to a family reunion a couple of years back. They still let Uncle George have his moment in the spotlight, telling his signature crazy jokes: long, on and on, repetitive and ending in the merest wisp of a punchline. Whether it was the Yellow Fingers, or Motor the Bole Weevil, or Foot, Foot-Foot and Foot-Foot-Foot, they all ended with a total dissappointment among all the kids and big belly laughs from all the adults. I think the adults laughed harder the more disappointed the kids were.

The family reunion I'm talking about was different. I was ready. The moment Uncle George rested after one of his doozies, I lit into a joke I had wound around a chinese fable I had heard somewhere. I felt the getting up on waterskiis, whooshing through the joke with sound effects and repetitiousness, keeping an eye on whether the kids were getting to bored or confused and keeping an eye on Uncle George who was in some form of shock. I wasn't stealing his crown but I was certainly sitting on his throne for a long spell. Magical it was and the punch line did not break any records, but the best thing happened next. My cousin Sally jumped in right after me and took off like a gypsy wagon with three good wheels, wandering through her fairytale world towards who-knows-where. If George had gaped during my story, he was all smiles when Sally was spinning. He knew that the old Shaggy Dog Story was alive and kicking and would be for many more years.

George, I'm saddened to say, is no longer with us. He didn't make many more reunions after that one and I've missed a few myself. But, this summer we're flying from Oregon to Buffalo, NY and driving out to the Fingerlakes to attend a big reunion and we'll meet Sally there. I'm starting to think of one that will make the eyes roll in the front row and make the glasses raise in the back row to Uncle George. Maybe there will be room in my story for old Foot-Foot. How old Foot-Foot was confounded by a Cypress tree...

Photo: "Stupid" by Ramzi Hashisho

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