Sunday, January 5, 2014

Vi Chronicles: Shut up Peanut

Uncle Ken was Tee's husband and CCool's father.  He didn't talk a lot unless the subject  was something that interested him.  Then he could talk the ears off a rabbit. He loved the outdoors..

Outdoor enthusiasts are typically beloved by kids because they are more adventurous than other adults. They innately understand that taking a risk and succeeding builds self-confidence, while taking a risk, failing and trying again build perseverance. Uncle Ken was no exception.  We all loved tagging along after him.

That said, there were two things you didn't do around Uncle Ken: You didn't whine and you didn't ask him a question if you weren't prepared for a truthful answer.

"Like my haircut, Uncle Ken?"

"Not particularly, Peanut."

"Oh.  o.k."

And then you'd have to walk off pretending like YOU liked your new haircut enough for the both of you.   And when I say YOU, I mean ME back in 1983.  But in the interest of full disclosure, I was an adult by then and I'm pretty sure he was busting my beans, because shag mullet hair styles are awesome.

He also was not stingy with unsolicited opinions.

I spent a lot of time at Uncle Ken's hanging out with CCool who was a year older than me. In the winter we would often go snowmobiling.  CCool had her own snowmobile, which was just one of the reasons she was so cool (she also had her own horse).  I would ride on the back of Uncle Ken's machine.  We would  be out in the woods for hours.

The woods in winter are beautiful in an almost spiritual way. They are also bloody cold.

As anyone in my family will tell you, I am not very hardy.  Being from  a cold region like Maine doesn't make you hardy.  It only ensures that you will become proficient at layering and, at some point, be involved in an unfortunate tobogganing incident, the probable cause a lack of visibility brought on by an abundance of ear muffs, scarves, hats and fur trimmed hoods.

During every ride, when I could no longer feel my extremities and my anemically thin blood had frozen en route, I would ask Uncle Ken to take me home.  "It's cold", I'd say.  "It's January, Peanut.  It's supposed to be cold", Uncle Ken would say.  "I'm hungry!", I'd continue.  "You're not gonna starve, Peanut".

"But. But......I'm COLD!!!!!"

"Shut up, Peanut".

If I wanted to hang out with Uncle Ken, I had to wear my big girl pants. I'd get to drive a ski-doo across an open field, watch a moose come down to the pond for a drink, swim past the drop off, catch a fish and shoot guns at coke cans. In return, he got to listen to me whine that I was cold, scared, couldn't swim or didn't like loud noises.  He'd smile, then tell me to shut up and do it anyway.

Clearly, I got the better end of the deal.

Uncle Ken, photo courtesy of Paula Kozinn
Chicken out

22 comments:

  1. Woods in winter ARE spiritual you dear CC

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    > < } } ( ° >

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  2. Sounds like a good uncle to have.

    So, do you use the same technique on your own kids? I was always scared of scarring mine so I always kept their fe-e-e-elings top of mind ... not the most popular method with the other half of the bosses in this house, and in retrospect probably not the best thing I could have done ...

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    1. Hi Jenny-No, I don't really. I always ask myself these questions, too. We do the best we can, no? You are so nurturing in blog land that I imagine you as a very nurturing mom. We probably all need a little of both in our lives-the Uncle Kens and the Jennies:-)

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    2. Ahh, chickie, you are so kind!

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    3. If I am, I owe it to a little of both:-) Thank you.

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  3. I didnt have a cool uncle growing up. Yours sounds fun.

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    1. SS-I'm sorry you didn't have that in your life. I had a plethora of aunts and uncles...they made life interesting.

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  4. I am not cold hardy at all! What a terrific uncle- glad you had him in your life!

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    1. Hi Shelly, I know you are probably very hardy in other ways. He was one of my favorites, for sure.

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  5. Sounds like a memorable character, to be sure. And don't we need more characters in life?

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  6. I agree that there is something spiritual about the woods in winter....although, I am not the most hardy of adventurers and have limits as to how long I want to be out soaking up the spirit of it.

    Your Uncle sounds like a truly honest person. I always appreciate someone that is forthright, but it's easier to admire when their honesty doesn't impact me. "not particularly"..OUCH!

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    1. Cheryl, you totally get me. I'm good for an hour, two hours if there is vigorous activity, but at some point a girl wants a fire and a beverage. He was forthright but not mean spirited, no worries. And to be fair, I was a.) an adult and b.) teasing him when that particular incident took place.

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  7. I bet that you channel Uncle Ken on a daily basis. You're a mom, right? You can't coddle allll the time, at least I know I don't.

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    1. Hi Kerry, well, I try, but my kids are a lot braver than me. I'm always telling them to slow down and stay safe.

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  8. How blessed you are to have had an "Uncle Ken" in your life. Thank you for sharing him with us in such a realistic, funny, charming way. A wonderful story, beautifully told.

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    1. I ave been blessed, Jayne, with great relatives and the nicest blog buddies. Thank you.

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  9. Outdoor enthusiasts are typically beloved by kids because they are more adventurous than other adults.

    That one sentence really hit home for me. My kids are too old to really hang out with me now but my big thing with them was getting out of the house and going to the zoo, museum, or down to the coast. My wife was the one who did crafts here at the house.

    One rainy day when my wife had a headache and the kids were being a major pain she made me do a craft with them to try and quite them down. An hour late with a major glue and paint spill on the kitchen table not so slowly dripping on the floor my wife realized that she would never allow me near a craft kit.

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    1. we all have to stick with what we know, right Beach Bum? if she had asked you to take them hiking you would all have been better off:-)

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  10. A cool guy worth knowing, it seems. I can well imagine that snowmobiling could be a cold experience. I have just re-learned, however, how hot snowshoeing can make you, even in very frigid temperatures.

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  11. Hi AC-I've never tried snowshoing, but if it keeps you warm in a snowy wood, I'm in

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