Monday, October 7, 2013

Butter Files: Drug Lords

Note:  My father was born into a large farming family in central Maine. He grew up, married twice (consecutively, not at the same time), and had five kids.  Everyone called him "Butter".  Butter Files stories are about his side of the family (as opposed to the Vi Chronicles, starring my mom, Violet.)

I had two great uncles.  Uncle "Bob" is an uncle by marriage to my Dad's aunt, "Min".  Uncle Phil was a brother to Min.

Uncle Bob lived in Norridgewalk, and Uncle Phil lived down the road a ways from the family farm where Dad grew up.

One very hot summer day when I was 17, I found myself out Uncle Phil's way.  I had been picking blueberries with my friend, TS.  When the heat became intolerable, we drove to Uncle Phil's farm to take a breather.  Uncle Phil had been married to Josephine (Aunt Jo), who had passed away a couple years prior, and he now lived by himself in the big, old house.

After we had slaked our thirst and made some small talk, Uncle Phil said, "Do you like the marijuana?"

We looked at one another, TS and I, and I said, "Ummm. Why do you ask?"

"Because I have some.", he said.  Then he led us to the guest bedroom where, stacked under the bed, were multiple shoe boxes.  He pulled one out, removed the cover, and showed us his booty.

It was, indeed, stuffed with homegrown.  I said, "Uncle Phil!  What are you up to?"

He grinned and said, "Nothing.  Just wondered if I could grow it.  You can keep that box."

A couple of years after Uncle Phil died, I was at a family reunion, and Uncle Bob had my ear.  He asked about my job, my life and whatnot, and it occurred to me that  I didn't really  know what he had done for a living, so I said, "What about you, Uncle Bob?  Do you still work?"

"Yeah", he said.  "I work-part time for the government.  I'm part of that war against drugs thing."

"Oh really?", I asked, "What does that entail?"

"I'm a scout.  I look for pot farms, mostly.  I go up in planes and fly over different areas of Maine, or just drive around.  Sometimes, I'm just walking through the woods. If I find something, I report it."

"HOLY SHIT", I said to myself.

To Uncle Bob  I say, "Wow, that's so cool!  How long have you been doing that?"

"Oh, about 7 or 8 years."

Uncle Bob's scouting career definitely overlapped Uncle Phil's pot farming years.  Was Uncle Bob purposely not reporting Uncle Phil?  Were they in cahoots to become the home grown drug lords of Maine?  Sort of like Duck Dynasty with fewer ducks?  And less facial hair?  Or was Uncle Bob just not very good at his job? Was Uncle Phil growing pot to see if Uncle Bob could catch him?  Or did he suspect that Uncle Bob was making shit up again?  Or did he really just like growing pot?  And finally, how well do you ever really know your relatives?

Since that day, I've carried a mental image of Aunt Jo and Uncle Phil smoking a fatty out on the back porch of the farm, while Uncle Bob flies overhead, binoculars in hand, reporting, "Nope, nothing to see here.  Let's head back."

What were those two old coots up to? Are there any older relatives in your family you wish you had known better?

Chicken out

These aren't my uncles.  This is from "Bucket List".  The sentiment is sort of the same, however. 



18 comments:

  1. Lots of moonshiners in the past on both sides of my family.

    While I was in college an uncle ask what I was doing and I told him I worked downtown at a small soda fountain serving drinks, ice cream and sandwiches. He looked surprised and said I prolly shouldnt be telling anyone that. I was shocked for him to say that seeing as he ran the local trash service.

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    1. Hi SS: Crazy uncles!! What are you going to do? I'll bet he saw some funny things in the trash in his day.

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  2. Aw a wonderful story honoring your people.

    My first boyfriend's grandfather was a Russian Jew who escaped czarist Russia. One day Carl asked the old man to smoke hash with us.

    "Hashish? You want to smoke hashish?! Hashish you EAT!"

    Say, does aubuchon hardware still use the elephant (call) in their ads?


    Aloha from a former Franconia resident :-)

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    1. Hi Cloudia, Thank you and thanks for the +1. Franconia is beautiful. You left one beautiful place for another. I'm not if aubuchon runs ads anymore. Sadly, the big box stores have replaced most of them.

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  3. My Franconia roommate's grandpa had been a us customs officer who busted the MarxBros returning from Europe with a steamer trunk full of vartiius drugs, lol!

    Note to NSA- I do not use, or know anything about illegal drug use more recently than 1934! God Bless America

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    1. Ha. The Marx brothers, you say? Well that explains a lot, does it not?

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Jenny-they were hipsters and they didn't even know it.

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  5. Your relatives are way more interesting than mine!

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    1. Hi Shelly, I'm not sure about that, but there are a lot of funny little Yankee stories tied to them. Mischievous is what they were.

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  6. THAT is a great story! Awesome. And no, no members I wish I knew more..some I wish I knew less, though

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    1. Hi Ragemichelle,
      We all have the ones we wish we knew less. I don't write about those guys. It's no fun:-)

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  7. :-) Old coots.

    Love the visual of Aunt Jo and Uncle Phil smokin' a blunt with Uncle Bob fighting the War on Drugs just next door.

    Pearl

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    1. Hi Pearl: I love that image, too. I'll never forget the grin on Uncle Phil's face when he showed me his stash. He was so tickled with himself! I think he's probably been waiting awhile for some young people to show up that he could "impress" with his mad farming skillz.

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  8. So did he know about the pot???? Dying over here to know!!

    My mom's family is interesting. My grandpa used to ride the rails! He had a lot of stories and I used to sit and eat them all up, but I was in my twenties then and now I can't remember them. I wish I had wrote them down :-(

    I just learned that my dad was asked to join the NSA and yes I am totally writing about that! I just laugh every time I think of it.

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    1. Hi GND, I'm not sure if he knew or not. I didn't find out about the scouting until after Uncle Phil died. I like to think it was Uncle Phil's little joke. Can't wait to read about your Dad and the NSA

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  9. Well shoot, I feel totally left out. Don't get me wrong, I have or had plenty of crazy ass relatives but they never did anything very entertaining.

    Did you determine if Uncle Bob was incompetent at his job of if Uncle Phil was just really good at being sneaky?

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    1. HI Cheryl, I never did know for sure. I suspect Uncle Phil was having some fun and Uncle Bob may or may not have known about it.

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