Uncle Sid visits the restaurant near the interstate highway

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Pettus Read

It was just after lunch time when I pulled in the long gravel driveway of Uncle Sid's and Aunt Sadie's farm.

The day had been a beautiful spring day as May days can be around the end of the month and I could see Uncle Sid just getting out of his old faded red pickup parked near the tool shed out behind the couple's white weather boarded home. A visit with the old farmer always sends me away a much better person than when I had arrived.

As I parked my car beneath one of the huge maple trees near the house, I could see Uncle Sid was all dressed up in his going-to-town overalls, but it was strange to see him without Aunt Sadie walking nearby. She never missed a trip to town and it takes both of them to get there and back. He steers and she directs.

He saw me pull in and immediately came around the house in my direction. I could tell by the look on his face that something big had happened and I was about to find out just what it was.

"Good to see you Boy," Uncle Sid said while walking and waving at the same time. I'm almost 59 years old, but he still calls me Boy and I guess he always will. In fact, I sort of like it that way.

"I was passing by and just thought I would stop by to see how you all were doing," I said as we met near their white Adirondack chairs under the shade trees in the yard. "Where is Aunt Sadie?"

As he sat down in one of the chairs while inviting me to do the same, he answered and said, "Oh, she had her FCE meeting today and they had a luncheon at Miss Edna Urn's house over near the church. That left me to fend for myself for vittles, so, I called your Uncle Sad and we went over near the new interchange off of the Interstate to eat at that new restaurant built recently. You know the one, The Cracked Pot."

Just thinking about Uncles Sid and Sad together in a nice new restaurant made me wonder what all really happened over the past two hours. They have a reputation of being up to something whenever they get together and eating out around strangers could have been more than they could have stood to have remained on their best behavior for that length of time by themselves.

"Well, how was it?" I asked.

"The food could not have been better," he said as he leaned back in the yard chair. "They had the best corn bread you can get without being at home and real tasty pinto beans. They were seasoned just right with plenty of juice, just like I like them."

So far so good, but I was starting to see a twinkle in his eye that meant something else was about to be told.

"But, Boy, those folks who stopped in there while on vacation sure do dress strange," he said while looking off into the newly planted cornfield.

Of course I asked, "What do you mean?"

"Some folks must not look in a mirror when they get all dressed up for vacation. They put on shirts that resemble some of my late grandma's wallpaper and those Bermuda shorts don't do anything but show off their "very-close" veins," he said as he expressed himself about the morning's visit.

"And, all those tattoos that these young folks are putting on don't make a bit of sense to me," he said with a wrinkled up nose showing dissatisfaction. "I bet in forty years from now, the new game they are going to be playing down at the nursing home is going to be 'name-what-my-tattoo-used-to-be' rather than Bingo."

With that comment I had to look away to chuckle and the thought of forty years from now just wasn't the same great expectation I had hoped for. In his last statement I could hear Uncle Sad coming out of the noon time luncheon at The Cracked Pot.

"One fellow came in wearing a yellow shirt and a pair of them yellow Bermuda shorts. He was about five feet four and shaped like a pear. His legs were skinnier than mine and he had a pair of UT tennis shoes on," Uncle Sid said as he stood up and showed me in descriptive form. "He looked just like a man riding a chicken!"

I had heard Dr. Carl Hurley, one of the southeastern United States funniest speakers I have ever heard, from Kentucky make that same statement about his self once before so I knew it was not original, but I'm sure it got told that day in front of strangers that I hope never know I'm kin to those two men.

About that time Aunt Sadie arrived out front and was getting out of Miss Bertha Sprite's car. Uncle Sid was already up and almost to the car telling Aunt Sadie and Miss Bertha about the man looking like a chicken.

Thanks to Dr. Hurley, two old men had a great day eating lunch and admiring visitors from the Interstate. I just hope they will be invited back again for corn bread, pinto beans and vacationer dress- bashing.