Two memories of Uncle Alma
Contributor: DdraigGoch Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Generally Uncle Alma was a kind and thoughtful, but fairly serious man. I remember two occasions, however, when that demeanor slipped, much to my delight. On both occasions, my sister and I were visiting Grandma Ida Rich Strong during a college holiday.
After Uncle Gordon died, Uncle Alma graciously volunteered to take his place in helping Grandma to balance her checkbook. That necessitated a monthly visit and often a rather puzzling session trying to figure out just what her various entries meant and how they matched with what the bank had sent. On one financial visit, for some reason, my very tidy Grandma had her hats spread across the dining room table, which was located in the living room before a large mirror hanging above a beautiful cherry-wood chest where she kept her fine china and best tablecloths. Uncle Alma spotted those hats and began to try them on, admiring the results, turning this way and that while looking into that mirror. I remember he looked particularly dashing in a little fur number. It did not matter. He had us all rolling with laughter, which only served as an impetus for him to continue the fun. Through it all, he maintained the straight, though pleasant face, which was his normal demeanor. When he was done, he calmly returned to his monetary duties, with the tiniest smile on his face. That little session has remained in my heart and endeared him to me.
On another occasion, we were all at Snelgroves Ice Cream Parlor, a favorite haunt of all members of the family, for their ice cream was unusually pure and delectable. Grandma ordered her usual all-chocolate concoction; Uncle Alma ordered some kind of soda or shake that necessitated a straw. At the time, Snelgroves had lovely little booths with half-walls between them so that patrons could enjoy their ice cream at leisure. We had just been served, and Grandma was already daintily tasting hers and paying no attention to the rest of us, when Uncle Alma quietly tore the end off his straw paper, pointed his straw at the dignified lady in the next booth and blew, as my sister and I watched. Of course the paper hit her square in the face. Without cracking a smile, he quickly turned and began calmly sipping his treat, as the lady glared at Sue and me with a very unkind scowl upon her face. I was so astonished that I could only stare back at her. Not a word was said by anyone, and Grandma just kept eating and never knew.