Welcome to my world - The world of Tish

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Behind Curtain Three - Uncle Chica-chang-chang Bob

We now join "Four Uncles and a straight jacket" already in progress......

When you are young, living in the country with farm animals near seems pretty neat, until the first gust of wind fills the air with the aromatic fragrance of pig shit. Since Uncle Bob lived downwind from his prize pigs, all of his children had become immune to any and all odors. To this day, his grown children have no sense of smell and therefore have no idea when something stinks in their own home. We don't visit often.


Uncle Bob was a frustrated singer and guitar man.On every visit, he'd be sitting at the kitchen table wearing his threadbare Hane's t-shirt dotted with brown specks and dribblings of tabacco juice and a pair of dungarees. I called them blue jeans once and felt the sting of the fly swatter as he corrected me. He'd point his stubby cigarette at me and give me a ten minute lecture on how my generation didn't know nothing and how when he was young...that's all I remember since the stench damaged my limbic system permanently.

His wife, Honey, fluttered around the kitchen without any task accomplished. She just looked busy. But when Uncle Bob broke out his 'gee-tar', Honey always disappeared for a smoke. Good thing she smoked by the chicken house so the pig shit didn't detonate.

Anyway, Uncle Bob always had a new song. It might be a rip-off from the likes of Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, or the late Johnny Cash but with the Bob twist. Every song had such potential that Bob just had to capture it for eternity on his genuine tape recorder. Since it was purchased in the early seventies, it had that red RECORD button that had to be depressed at exactly the same time as the PLAY button. This was difficult for Uncle Bob as he didn't have full use of his right index finger. The accident with Lola wasn't proper dinner conversation, but let's just say that Lola was a pig and Uncle Bob should have known better.

When the mood struck Bob, which only required an audience of one, he'd perform his entire repetoire in the living room. Better acoustics, he claimed. I guess walls that aren't exactly at a 90 degree angle to the floor might give better sound. He'd perch atop his barstool, six string . guitar across his large beer gut. One string was always on the verge of popping so children were not allowed in a four foot diameter. As much as I'd beg my parents, I was forced to sit on their sinkhole couch for the entire performance. Here's what a little slice of musical hell sounds like:

"Well, I's born with the silver spoon in my mouth," chicka chang, chicka chang.
"But my love done gone crazy in the Sow-ow-owth," Chicka chang, chicka chang.
"Now I'm jus' drowning in the bottle for her loving face," chicka chang chang chang*.
"And she's found herself in that final restin' place...Restin' place, restin' place...." CHICKA CHANG, CHICKA CHANG CHANG CHANG, OLE!

It was the company's duty to tape every session for the album he would be making once the guys on the CB heard his talent. Most of the time, my mom would push the buttons but one time I had the responsibility of it. "Lil girl, you gonna remember this day when I'm at the Grand Ole Opry. You'll get to say you knew me when." I'd like to say I don't know you now, I thought.

The city condemned the house four times in ten years. Uncle Bob, fan of the mistress called alcohol, was a favorite of the Crossbar hotel. Honey even had his mail forwarded to the county jail a full three days before he was picked up for public intoxication. During her visitation, the county sherriff banned all musical instruments which angered Uncle Bob. Wonder why. His mistake was not outlawing tape players. Two inmates attempted suicide from just thirty minutes of Uncle Bob's musical genius.

Uncle Bob passed away from a heart attack in his seventies. There are times when I hear the 'chicka chang chang' of an old guitar, I can hear his steely, off-key voice bouncing all the way from Heaven. God must not have issued the 12th commandment* *yet: Thou shalt not play the guitar outside of one's own cloud.

Join us for the last installment of Four Uncles and a straightjacket for Uncle Catfish. Need I say more? Remember, family is forever, but not like genetic mutations.

*note the change up in the guitar solo, this is genius at work
**see previous posts about the eleventh commandment, Thou Shalt not call her Trish.

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