I have an uncle whose name is Bob. At one point in my life, I thought everyone
Bob because everyone actually seemed to. There’s also a British phrase that
goes "Bob’s your uncle."
I’ve never figured out exactly what that means, as people here in the States
pathetic attempts to
sound British, but I’ve always taken it as an indication that there must be
an awful lot of Uncle Bobs out there.
There’s only one Uncle Bob Hendley, though, and he’s a ventriloquist and a
other things. I took him to show-and-tell when I was in first grade, and he
showed my class how he could remove his thumb. I saw through the trick immediately
of course, perhaps because I was sitting behind my uncle when he performed
the trick, but the other
kids were too dumb (as I thought at the time) to understand reality. What I
found more impressive was his skill with a ventriloquist dummy named Amos Matthews.
That little wooden puppet delighted me throughout my childhood.
Anyway, I was going through my e-mail just now and came across an exchange
that ocurred between Amos and Tater a couple of weeks after Tater was born.
I thought I’d
share it here. Keep in mind that in addition to being highly educated, Amos
has always lived in rural Texas, so he knows a lot about
I realize that "Tater" is not your real name, but I think it will
do you just fine. Knowing half of your father’s ancestry, you could be "Irish
Tater," "Scotch Tater," "English Tater," "Danish
Tater," or even "Rotten Tater." However, looking at your handsome
photographs, I conclude that you must have inherited your "tater" traits
from your mother because you definitely look like a "Sweet Tater" to
Your father referred to your mother
as a stud. He also referred to equine
traits she has. Would you please pass on to him that you have it from good
that a stud is a male horse used for breeding purposes.
So ends your first
communication from your cousin through confused linage.
Thank you for your interest in setting Daddy straight about studs. I believe,
however, that he was using the term as a loose metaphor and in a modern vernacular
in which "stud" means "one who is strong and formidable." My
mama is certainly that. The metaphor breaks down when scrutinized, of course,
as all metaphors do. There is really no single word that adequately describes
Mama’s proficient and immediate aptitude in dealing with a new baby.
has told me about you and how much joy you have brought to so many children.
I look forward to meeting you in person some day.