Monday, April 12, 2010

Jack and Jack's Cousin Jack

I don't want to write about this week. It's too jumbled up in my head right now. All in good time.

I'll tell you a story, instead.

I think I'm determined to write down all these family stories that are heard in various forms over Thanksgiving turkey and summer barbecued ribs.  You know, the ones that are retold over and over again, and then, incredibly, are forgotten.  The details are lost on the 12 year olds that hear them.  I've got hundreds of these and you probably do, too.

And telling iffy stories on one's family is pretty uncouth, so I likely shouldn't repeat this at all.  Here's to hoping most of my family isn't hip to the Daddy Blogosphere.

I was sitting on the stairs in 2008 when Majesty suggested the name "Morgan Jack." We both panned. And then one or the other of us blurted out, "Jack Morgan!" and it was decided.

I phoned my mom sometime afterward and told her about the name.  She told dad.

The next time we talked, she told me my dad's reaction:  "They can't name that child that!"  He said that he had this older cousin named Jack, and he was a rascal.  Then came one of my favorite quotes of all time, "He wasn't the black sheep, but he was real dark gray."

Cousin Jack was an alcoholic and a womanizer.  But he evidently was also pretty charismatic, because people just loved him when he wasn't drunk.  He was once arrested while driving a riding lawnmower (sloshed, of course) through Grand Saline, Texas.  He was somehow related to our late beloved neighbor, Marguerite, who kept a new pair of blue jeans and a white button down shirt for Jack to be buried in.

That time came, as it always does, and his two brothers had him buried in Corinth Creagleville Cemetery "in a sheet."  Now, I'm not exactly sure it was a sheet, really.  I was told whatever they did, it was legal, but let's just say that old Jack got the bare minimum for a sendoff.  And it may have involved a cotton bedsheet.

The jeans and white shirt in Marguerite's closet went unused.

I got dad's final pronouncement directly:  "Naming him Jack is great, because we've had a bad one, and now maybe we can have a good one."  I had the same thought.


Anonymous said...

The name is perfect and family stories are fun if they don't involve telling them on you in front of you and the details aren't even correct.! Wonder what the old Jack Whatley's middle name was??

BB Tucker said...

Puh-shaw! If Jack had been "Jack Milktoast" and just obeyed his wife all his life...I'd have voted against the name. With colorful figures such as the old Jack Whatley....well honey....we got us a lineage. Stories. Laughs. Joy.
While we know our 'lil man Jack won't have all those characteristics (on account of Majesty..she'd tie him up and hold him down), we are counting on fun, joy and color!
The adventuresome spirit is what made this here great land.
Land ahoy!!!! Jack's back.

El Comodoro said...

Ha! Thanks Alternate BB.

And Original Beebee, not sure what Old Jack's middle handle was, but I'll have to research it. Maybe it was "Snapper" or "Deere" or "Lawn-Boy".

None said...

Jack Whatley was my great uncle. He is not buried in Corinth Cemetery; he is buried in the Creagleville Cemetery next to his parents. His grand parents are buried in Corinth.

I was around Jack some as a child; he was an old man by that time but he was kind of out there. I have heard the lawn mower story and many others but if it helps you sleep at night he was not buried in a sheet. My grandfather and another great uncle paid for his funeral; he was buried by family with family so to speak.

PS Jack was his middle name. His full name was Kenneth Jack Whatley.

El Comodoro said...

Thanks, Cousin! Dad had said it was Creagleville, but I somehow got my wires crossed up and put Corinth (where my grandparents are). I've made the correction.