I remember the sound of the ‘Uncle’ John Scott’s Old Model T Ford ar as it headed up the lane. He turned left in front of our house to continued onto a smaller lane that led him home. Uncle John was a black man that lived with his mother Aunt Rodie and two sisters, Myrt and Effie after his father, Otto died. The Scott’s property was located in a meadow setting beyond the main lane we lived on. The house by today’s standards would be termed a shanty. I hesitate to describe it this way, as that term describes a structure, or shelter instead of a home. Uncle John supported his mother and sisters by working in a well known men’s clothing store down town on the courthouse square. He was called a Gentleman’s Gentleman. This meant he helped with fittings and took care of the customers’ needs.
He was always dressed in a white shirt, tie, and a brown or black hat. Uncle John was one of the best dressed men that turned onto our lane. Many of the men that live on the lane were farmers, or worked in the Vial Lumber yard across the Artemus road from the lane.
Uncle John’s car was very special Model T Ford. I loved his car, thought it unique because it was dependable and looked sporty with its square body design and wooden spoke wheels with a rumble seat in the back. Uncle John told me the seat was called a mother-in-law law seat. Many times, my dad and grandpa’s cars would not start, or run. In the spring when the creek would flood the lane, like clockwork, Uncle John would head in or out of the lane according to his needs. Those old wooden spoke wheels pulled through, his car never flooded out his engine or brakes. Many times, I asked why we didn’t have a dependable car like Uncle John’s? I never got answered while dad and grandpa waited for the water to recede enough to bring their cars home from being parked on the side of the Artemus Road.
Uncle John tipping his hat as he turned in front of them to go home with dry feet. My mom asked me to not bother Uncle John and Aunt Rodie she knew I liked to slip away to visit the family. On my visits I never forgot to pick bouquets of wild flowers to show my friendship. The family never failed to welcome me with, “Missy, how are you and your folks fairing?” Uncle John had the kindest eyes. Kindness flowed through the way the family treated a seven-year-old ‘Polly Anna’ white girl, with a handful of wild flowers. I might add my visits were always unexpected. After greeting me on these visits Aunt Rodie and the girls continued ton cooking their meal. I remember the small of beans, collard greens and fried cornbread made me hungry. Uncle John and I walked to their garden selected fresh tomatoes from the vine and tender green onions to add the meal waiting back in the kitchen. My cue to leave was when we returned with vegetables. I knew not to impose on family mealtime. I thanked Uncle John and Aunt Rodie for letting me visit. The family waited until I was midway the distance between their house and the lane before they would wave good bye, turn to go inside, and have their meal.
Today Uncle Joh, Aunt Rodie, Myrt, and Effie are dead resting in peace. I think of them often especially when I cook beans, collard greens and cornbread for a meal. The smell of the meal cooking is like revisiting the days on the lane. The days that I ventured a wee distance beyond the lane to a quiet little shanty nestled in a meadow with a creek flowing close by. Weeping willow trees lined the path from the lane to their house. They hid me from my mom as I stole visits with the Scott family.
I can see Uncle John shining his Model T Ford as Aunt Rodie, Myrt and Effie sat quietly by. I would love to have a picture of Uncle John Scott, the Gentleman’s Gentleman in his white shirt, tie and hat standing by his Model T Ford car.
Millie thought for today: Thank you Uncle John Scott and his mother Aunt Rodie for receiving my unannounced visits graciously. Thank you wherever you are.