A Handbook About Hands & Books

…it’s a very handy book
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The Doclopedia #1,697

My Family: Uncle Red
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Uncle Red was, in most ways, about as ordinary a person as you could imagine. Dairy farmer, churchgoer, lifelong Democrat, Giants & 49ers fan, married 54 years, 4 kids, etc, etc. You might even call him boring.

Except for the fact that he was a lightning rod for weird events. Uncle Red goes to the county fair and all the circus rides short out and run full tilt for 20 minutes. He goes to Yosemite National Park and a dirigible crashes into Half Dome. He goes to San Francisco and a tornado off shore becomes a waterspout and ends up dumping 12 tons of kelp in the financial district. Family trip to Washington, D.C.? Nixon gets elected!

We all liked Uncle Red, but we didn’t invite him to too many family gatherings.

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The Doclopedia #1,698

My Family: Cousin Bingo
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Cousin Bingo was about 15 years older than me and was a clown in the big circus. He was pretty popular and made good money and loved his job. He was a nice guy with only one problem: He never took off his clown makeup. Never.

I asked my mother and my aunt about it once and they just said “He can’t take it off and you don’t ever montion it again, especially to him.”

After that, Cousin Bingo kind of creeped me out.
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The Doclopedia #1,699

My Family: Whitey
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Way, way, WAY before talking dogs & cats & mutant gorilla/raccoon grandchildren were a part of my life, there was Whitey. I classify him as a family member because he lived with my Uncle Amos and Aunt Peri from the time I was 3 years old until I was 22. They never had children and Whitey was like a kid to them.

Whitey was, when he was full grown, a big, white medium length coated mutt. I’m pretty sure he had Saint Bernard in his background, because he weighed in at about 150 pounds and was a slobber factory. Despite that, he was a great dog and everyone loved him.

He was also very smart. At the time, we all just thought “that there is the smartest dog I’ve ever seen”. I know now that he was sapient. I think back on certain things and it’s pretty apparent, now. He could round up farm animals better than a herding dog. Many times, he barked warnings to his humans about dangers, from rattlesnakes to a stove burner left on.

He also watched the evening news more intently that other dogs might and loved nature programs. Once, I’m pretty sure I caught him reading the news paper.

Whitey lived to be almost 19 years old, an astounding age for so large a dog. He died peacefully in his sleep and the whole family mourned his passing. Uncle Amos & Aunt Peri were pretty broken up by it for a couple of years.

Then, one day in the spring, a beautiful 6 month old Irish Setter walked up their driveway. They tried for a couple of months to find his owner, but they never did. They named him Sean and they had him for 16 years. He was also a very smart dog.

I remember telling Sasha, Daisy & Silky about Whitey once. I’m wondering now if they might have had something to do with Sean.

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