Chapter 4
From Not Everyone Can Claim An Uncle Tom by Grace & Peter Ireland (2002)

Little angels

Tom had the most incredible eyesight.

Our dairy was about 100m from our house.

If Ruth and I were playing in our yard in the afternoon and our tennis ball accidentally went onto the vegetable garden, somehow Tom always saw us just at the moment when we were retrieving it. This booming voice from the dairy would yell, "GET OFF THE GARDEN".

We always did- and very quickly.

When we were young we often played cards at night. Dad would listen to the radio, and Grandma, Uncle Tom, Ruth and I would play 500.

After the cards had been dealt, Uncle Tom would nearly always have to go outside to "change" his water, i.e. the hose. This would take from between 5 to 10 minutes.

I remember once when Tom came back after being away longer than normal, and before anyone had bid, Grandma putting joker on the table saying, "Well I may as well lead with old feathery legs."

To this day our family still refers to Joker as old feathery legs.

My Grandmother, who was one of those traditional English Grandmothers, sat knitting most of the day. She always wore a pinny over her dress. She was always conscious of everyone doing the right thing.

I remember the family going to a funeral one day. My father was already sitting in the car waiting. Everyone was ready (my Grandmother in her best hat) and Tommy as usual wasn't to be seen. My father blew the car horn and then along came Tom, who was still to have a wash, a shave and get ready.

My Grandmother retorted, "Do make haste Tommy, oh do make haste! You have absolutely no respect for people when they're alive and even less when they're dead!!"

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