Saturday, June 15, 2013

House of Horrors

                My uncle Dale was an unusual man or should I say odd. I have tried to understand over the years the things that he did and why. Most times he was unwashed, unkempt, uncouth, and irreverent. He either had a little black Renzie stogie in is mouth or a chew of Beechnut tobacco wadded in his cheek. When he died, he died alone in his small trailer that my mom and dad had set up for him on an area at the back of their property.
                He was found sitting on a chair at the kitchen table face down on the tabletop.
                After the funeral, it was up to me and my immediate family; my mom, dad, brother, and occasionally my sister to clean and sort through his things. I coincidentally happened to be on vacation and spent most of it at the trailer working. We were confronted with the monumental task of cleaning, sorting, and throwing away. We would be unpleasantly surprised at what we would find in the various and sundries that he had accumulated and stored in his trailer.
                Let me give you an inkling of what I found inside. He was quite willing and often would tear down a motor, a gasoline engine in the middle of the carpet of his living room and it only got worse from there.
                In the kitchen, food was left in pans. Pots were not clean and sitting on the counter or in the sink. I started to clear an area to open up the sink to have water so that I could begin to clean up. Accidentally, I bumped the Crockpot. The lid slid to the side coming ajar. The stench was instantaneous and horrendous. I gagged. The odor chased me out of the trailer. After a few minutes of gagging, I regained my stomach. As much as I hated to do it, I pulled my tee shirt over my nose, I dared to re-enter the torture chamber. Ever-so-carefully, I secured the lid and cautiously carried it outside. I wanted no more of that odor.
                I opened the back door to allow the air to circulate. I went back inside now that the smell had dissipated. I was going to attack the accumulated grime. “That’s funny. Even the flies had abandoned the trailer.” I started by opening garbage bags and scraping scraps of food and other bits and pieces into the bag. Slowly working my way through the trailer, I marveled at the variety of obscure and odd items. He had a cupboard of home canned fish, ramps, and other things that he had gathered.
                I cringed when I got to the bathroom. I was afraid of what I would find, but my imagination would have never thought of what I actually did find. The fixtures were not that bad, but there were live fish swimming in his bath tub. A slow trickle of water from the faucet aerated the water and kedt the water fresh and the fish alive. That explained why he was so dirty.
                The bedroom wasn’t a problem. There were things that needed to be gone through, bed linens, papers, and his clothing. Some weren’t worth saving and were tossed. The personal papers were passed on to his children. They had been adopted out to another one of my aunts and uncles and we still knew them. They could do whatever they wished with his personal things.
                Dad had a shed garage combination that was next door to Dale’s trailer. Dale used it as his workshop and storage area. He tossed all of the nuts, bolts, screws, and washers into empty Redman tobacco tins. They were from the motors and other things that he had disassembled.
It took several more weeks to go through and divide them into the comparable items.

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