Uncle Jethro generally sat in the easy chair with a red Dixie cup and a beer. He sipped from one and spat in the other, and every now and then he’d take another pinch of dip and press it into his lip. He’d chuckle whenever someone told a joke even if the joke wasn’t funny. He was big on tricks like getting the youngsters to pull his finger and making dimes come out of your ear. He was a living cliché down to his overalls.
As soon as you were old enough to climb he’d invite you to play a game of “hidden treasure” which involved trying to determine in which of his many pockets he’d put a candy — one of those red striped peppermints wrapped in cellophane you get for free on your way out of restaurants — the incentive being you’d get to eat it if you found it. It was a game he always seemed to come out of the winner. He’d always show you it so you know it actually existed. Perhaps it was the same one all those years.
Once Linda was married she always brought the dish above to family pot lucks and she called it “Uncle Jethro’s Hidden Treasure Loaf,” making sure he got a nice big slice. Folks generally avoided it like the plague. He seemed delighted by this personal honor until that one year when she loaded it with buckshot and he broke a tooth.
Everyone laughed except Linda. I turned to look and caught her whispering “Touché, Asshole” as she pumped her fist by her side, slowly — so slowly you could see the air swirl around it, I swear.