Thursday, November 30, 2006

Redneck Hell Fire

While it is still November I thought I'd tell y'all about the Legendary Canned Thanksgiving When Uncle Larry Set Himself On Fire. Ok, first you need to know that Uncle Larry (UL from here on out) is a quiet, quiet man. He's been married to my Aunt Nina for just about as long as I remember. I'll never forget that wedding. I was a pre-teen and excited to wear my strapless gown in that crowded single wide trailer. They upgraded to a double wide a few years later and have lived there ever since. In all the time I've known UL I think he's spoken about 5 words to me. And that didn't happen until my wedding. He told me "Congratulations. This was all real nice." I even got a hug. It was a big deal. I should also state that I love my family, but I am not blind to the fact that some members of our family lean toward the redneck side of Southern. Just a bit. Heh.

So anyway, my mom, Morgan, and I headed down to their place for Thanksgiving one year. We brought a few dishes- some casseroles I'm sure, and I think the turkey. We walked in and noticed the complete and utter absence of any Thanksgiving dinner aroma. There was nothing in the oven. Nothing in the crock pot. Nothing. Eerie. We put away our offerings and retired to the big living room. Morgan went off to play with our cousin and my Mom and I resigned ourselves to watching the race or whatever was on the big screen tv with UL. We took a seat at the far end of the mile long sectional sofa. You know the ones- the velour number where each seat turns into a recliner and there are cup holders and shelves built right in. UL was on the other end smoking away. At this point he was smoking regular cigarettes but he had enjoyed his share of the wacky weed before we arrived and he still smelled like a dorm room after a Dead show. He got up at one point to adjust the antenna at the back of the tv. He was wearing a t-shirt with an unbuttoned flannel shirt over it. He reached across the tv (now this was moons ago, about 10 years, and the tv was one of those gargantuan jobbies with the big wood wrap around it) and was fiddling with the antenna, smacking the side of the tv, cursing under his breath. At one point he dropped his arms to his sides while checking out the screen and that's when we noticed his sleeve was on fire. He must have caught it on the Christmas candles on top of the tv. And by on fire I mean flames literally shooting up his arm. It is a miracle his mullet didn't go up in flames as well. Mom and I looked at each other in shock. I mumbled under my breath (so UL couldn't hear me)
-Mama, he's on fire. Do you see that?
-Yeah, what should we do?
-Well go tell him.
-You tell him.
-I'm not telling him. We've never talked. This is not going to be our first conversation.
-Well somebody's gotta tell him.
Meanwhile, UL decided he was pleased with the reception on the tv, walked back to his recliner portion of the sofa, sat down, and snuffed himself out.
-Oh my gosh, do you think he knows?
-Who cares? It's over.

A few minutes later AN appeared in the doorway and told us to let her know when we were ready to eat. We said we were ready and then all the sudden the mehhhnnnn of the can opener could be heard. The woman opened a can of corn, beans, cranberry sauce, and ham. Even the meat was canned. We ate on styrofoam plates with plastic utensils. For Thanksgiving.

After we ate my little sister and my girl cousin occupied the 2 bathrooms in the house, much to the dismay of my boy cousin who we'll call Cletus. There was much screaming of Mom! and They won't get out the bathroom! and I gotta pee! with AN screaming back in her Marge's sister's voice- What do you want me to do about it?? and finally, Then just go outside and pee!
With that, Cletus went outside, stood on the deck (which was right off the dining area through unfortunately sliding glass doors) and commenced relieving himself as directed.

That was our cue to pack up the car and high tail it down the dirt road and back to the highway. That was the last time we were there until 3 weeks ago when Lisa was in town. I know you're wondering why we didn't rush back for Christmas!


Connie said...

OMG - Thank you! I could give you the biggest hug right now. I am cracking up laughing with tears streaming down my face.

What a riot! Thanks for sharing that bit o'Turkey Day hell. Wow, wonder how things went on 4th of July! Poor UL...(tears still streaming amidst the laughter).

foodiechickie said...

How did he put the fire out?

Julie said...

Oh my Lord--I'm laughing my ass off right now. Great story!

jaj said...

You win! What a priceless memory!

Christina said...

LOL! Sounds like some of my husband's relatives. There's a great story about July 4 and a whole box of fireworks that comes up at least once a year. Maybe we're related! :)

Shannon said...

No matter how many times i hear it, I still crack up at this story.

Shannon said...

omg... that is crazy... but so funny... I had a set of realitves that way in IN... they had this cute house but never took care of it... and it was full of crap... boxes from floor to celing of junk... sweet people but man... just not right in the head lol...