Pioneer Potluck: About Uncle Guy and Biscuits

  • By Grannie Annie
  • Tuesday, March 22, 2016 5:17pm
  • LifeFood

At the farm in northern Colorado

1940s and 50s


Dad loved Mom’s biscuits, but Uncle Guy loved them even more. The unwritten, unspoken code of the dinner table if Uncle Guy was setting at the other end of the table, opposite Dad was — never ever take the last biscuit — leave it for Uncle Guy.

The heaping plate of hot biscuits were placed close to Dad. Instead of passing the plate — Dad would just “sail” a biscuit at you! You got a teasing smile and a scolding if you did not catch it. All were caught except for mine — I seemed to miss judge the distance and it would end up in my lap. Dad would laughingly tease me and then sail another to another “customer.” Partly, Dad did it to “get Mom’s goat” so to speak. She would scold “John” and ask him where his manners were. His reply was “in the barn.”

Uncle Guy was the exception. Dad would pass the half empty plate of biscuits around the table to Uncle Guy. He would set them down in front of him. Carefully pick up a biscuit, lay it in his plate. Take his knife and cut it in two. Lay both halved on his plate in great reverence. Continue to fill his plate with goodies passed around the table. Usually mashed potatoes, fried chicken, or floured fried steak, corn and Moms very best gravy. The gravy was passed last and Uncle guy would generously spoon both halves of biscuits with gravy. Most of us kids liked butter and Moms home made jelly or apple sauce on ours. Dad and Uncle Guy would have gravy on theirs. Mom placed salt and pepper shakers at both ends of the table. Uncle Guys next ritual was to salt and pepper his biscuits and gravy. Pick up his fork and carefully cut a piece of gravy-biscuit, place it in his mouth and I swear you could see the contented peaceful look on his face. He loved, loved biscuits and gravy.

When everyone had their share of everything including another biscuit — no matter who was eyeing the last biscuit, it was a absolute rule that biscuits was for Uncle Guy. But Uncle Guy had manners. He would “slick up” his plate, put his fork down. Put his elbows on the table fold his hands,as if in prayer and say to my Mom. “L-L-L-Loretta, c-could I have the last biscuit?” Mom would say “of course,” and pass the gravy bowl as Uncle Guy split the last biscuit and laid it in his plate. We all watched as he slathered on the last of the gravy, salted and peppered it and took his bite of total heaven.

Uncle Guy lived with us off and on for a long time, and at times Mom and him crossed paths. Usually when Uncle Guy came home late at night and tumbled down the cement stairs. When us kids laying bed, heard him drive in, we waited for the tumble-bump-bump, thump. Dad would get up and go see if he was hurt. Come back to bed and Mom would have certain words to say to Dad. The next morning Dad would “have a talk” with Uncle Guy. This would go on for a few weeks until Mom would “evict” Uncle Guy. He would go live in a hotel until Dad really needed him on the farm and he would come back and try to be in the good graces of Mom. Thus he stuttered badly when ever he had anything to say to Mom.

We were always glad to see him come back. He brought us things! Living things! Kitties, horses, pony’s and one time he brought me a puppy that Mom said I could keep. The poor puppy developed Parvo and suffered in the basement furnace room for a week. When he died I was so crushed. I cried for weeks. My teacher was alarmed and wanted to know what was the matter. When I told her she cried too.

We all had crying boughts. The kitties had to be in the barn, not the house, ever. The horse was a big “jug-headed old mare” (in Dads words) and she had a will of her own! She would stand still while you crawled on her bare back. Many, many times we would get on her and with reins in hand, try and make her go. Nope not on your life! She would not budge. You could have someone lead her with the reins, but that was not my idea of riding a horse! So Ginger and I decided to ride her double-bareback. Well, we got on just fine, but she just stood there with her head down. Ginger pulled a white hankie out of her pocket, I grabbed it leaned down and waved it in front of her. She took off with such a jolt that Ginger slide off the back and I went tumbling into the cow feeders. She stopped at the end of the corral, waiting for us to walk up to her, gathered the reins, and lead her back to the barn. We took off the reins and went to the house and told Mom we did not like that horse, she dumped us off. Well, Mom saw it all, looking out the kitchen window. The minute Uncle Guy stepped into the kitchen for super, Mom informed him that horse had to go. Poor Uncle Guy — he just said “Y-Y-Y-Yes. L-Loretta.”

A few days later he brought a pony and a cart home. Uncle Guys favorite shopping center was the stock yard sale barn in Fort Collins and if something did not sell, he bought it and brought it home. That pony would tolerate the cart being hooked up to him — then you could get in — just barely and he would take off at a dead run down the path to the beet field. Make a big stop, turn around and come heading straight back for unsuspecting by-standers. Uncle Guy would grab his reins and jerk him to a stop. Mom said he had to go, also.

Uncle never learned until he brought a monkey home for us kids. We were thrilled. Until the monkey tried to bite everyone in sight, headed up the cotton wood tree and sat there giving us the “what-for!” Moms terse words from a “spittin’ mad Mom “ were “Get THAT monkey out of the tree — take it back where you got it and if you bring anymore of your orphan animals home — you will go and be gone forever!” Uncle Guy like his basement bedroom, so he got the message! He never brought anymore animals home for us kids. He did tell us many times he saw the cutest kitty-puppy-horse-etc., but he could not bring it home, your Mom would not like it. YUP we knew that!

Have a Happy and Blessed Easter.

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