Chapter 2
Uncle Tom From Not Everyone Can Claim An Uncle Tom by Grace & Peter Ireland (2002)

Uncle Tom moved to "Carlyle" when his parents bought the property at the time when my parents were married. It was never intended that he stay. He was to have his own property; but a prolonged drought put paid to that.

"Carlyle" homestead is a very large house and in the early years had six bedrooms. One since has been converted into a dining room.

Meal times were a big event. We had my grandparents, my parents, Uncle Tom, the teacher and we three children.

Uncle Tom was NEVER on time for any meal — or anything for that matter. My grandmother and my mother spent all their days trying to make Uncle Tom punctual - but to no avail. His dinner would always be left in the warming oven and we would eat our meals without him. We'd clear the table, and then after Uncle Tom had eaten we'd need to clear away again.

He was a very messy eater.

On the farm Tom's clothes consisted of grey flannel shirts (the swaggie type with the grandpa style neck) with long grey trousers for winter and grey flannel shirts with khaki shorts for summer.

There were two things in life that weren't to be wasted. One was money and the other was water.

Sometimes Tom's grey flannel shirts could almost stand up by themselves as my mother could never get her hands on them to wash them. When she did wash his clothes she was always in trouble. Firstly washing them only wore them out, and secondly, washing just wasted water.

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