Memories of Uncle Virgil
I don’t remember this happening, but Uncle Virgil loved to tell the story about how we were all wading in his creek (pronounced “crick”), when I stepped into a hole and went under. I must’ve been around four years old. He reached in with one of his giant paws, grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, and brought me up, “sucking water like an old catfish,” he liked to bellow. He would then bend over, slap the leg of his striped bib overalls, and belly laugh until I was red in the face.
My earliest memory of Uncle Virgil’s farm was playing outside in his farmyard, while the adults were in his house, doing whatever adults do when visiting. I loved Uncle Virgil’s farm, and wanted to be a farmer just like him. There was an old John Deere tractor sitting outside his machine shed. I climbed on and pretended I was driving, making noises like the pop and bang that old John Deeres make. There was a foot starter, and I stepped on it. The tractor roared to life, and took off with me hanging on for dear life, screaming at the top of my lungs. My dad and Uncle Virgil came running out of the house, climbed on the draw bar (the tractor was barely moving), and stopped the tractor. I didn’t even get into trouble.
About that time, the Anderson-Erickson milk-delivery truck drove by. Uncle Virgil grabbed me, tossed me in his old GMC pick-up truck, and proceeded to chase the milk truck down. Here we were, flying around curves on a gravel road, trying to get the attention of the milk-truck driver. Uncle Virgil was honking his horn and flashing his lights. The milk-truck driver finally pulled over. Uncle Virgil stopped, got out, and walked up to the driver’s door. I saw Uncle Virgil pull some money out of his wallet, and the milk-truck driver hand Uncle Virgil a carton of vanilla ice-cream. Uncle Virgil wanted to have ice-cream for his visitors (and him).
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