101 Stories

with which I follow the road of the Family for a Century

65. Uncle Otis.

Most of you know or remember Uncle Otis almost wholly as the man he is now in the old Grandpa Speer home place.

When I was 19 years and went away to college, Otis was only eight years, about the size of my Eleanor now. So, many of my home recollections of him are "little boy" memories.

When he was learning to build words he was unusually eager to spell out words everywhere. So as breakfast was being prepared he would spell out "s-t-o-v-e stove" everywhere he could find it about the kitchen stove.

After I had been gone about a year to college I harnessed the team one day when I was home but got the bridles exchanged on the horses. Otis thought it a good joke on me and laughed at me for what I had learned at college, as he put it.

He was a plump little boy. He always liked pumpkin pie very well. I would rub him on the stomach and say “What ye got in your bread-basket, Otis?” He would reply with knowing, shiny eyes, “Punk Pie!”

Eleven years’ difference in the age of two boys is enough to preclude their being much of playmates. Father used to say "One boy is a boy, Two boys is half a boy, Three boys is no boy at all." Perhaps that accounts for the fact that through all the years he had just one boy at a time on the farm.

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