The Lighter Side of Travel
Humor Catalog

Old Blue, Willie, and Their Rotten Gaggle
by Beth McCain

We've all had them. You know...those certain relatives. Here is a humorous story about how a town tried their best.

Old Blue was Great Grandma's nephew. His true name was Bluford Howard. Really… his name was Bluford. And everybody in the town knew him as Old Blue.

Old Blue was 6'5" and was a big man; so big that his eight children could fit inside his denim blue overalls at the same time. He had a tiny little wisp of a wife named Willie who was as small as Blue was large. How Willie was able to have eight of his children I'll never know.

Now Old Blue is what you would call a sponger. He and his family belonged to the Church of the First Born, but Blue didn't go to church for the reasons that most people do. Most in the town looked at the church like kind of an auto repair shop for the soul. The place for a spiritual oil change, or if the preceding Friday or Saturday night had gotten a little out of hand, the place to receive a major tune-up. Church was a place to right the wrongs and, well, to feel good about one's self again.

Not so Old Blue.

No, Old Blue went to church for the free food and clothes. While church for the rest of us was the repair shop for the soul and all things godly, for Blue it was his grocer and haberdashery. You see, Blue never worked a day in his life.

Blue traveled from house to house of the people from the congregation and would just happen to show up at dinnertime with his wife, the eight children, and even his dog. Blue's offspring were each named for some kind of flower or plant. That was all Willie's doing.

There were five girls: Daisy, Dahlia, Violet, Fern, and Magnolia. Daisy and Dahlia were the twins, always saying the same things at the same time, as twins tend to do, and always chasing the Gonzales boys. When Daisy and Dahlia would catch the boys, the girls would give each one Indian Burns and make them kiss them. Each Gonzales would somehow manage an escape, and the girls would holler after Blue, "Daddy! Can you catch them boys and keep'em still for us?" Blue would always holler back, "Catch your own damn men."

Old Blue and Willie also had three boys and Blue was the one responsible for naming them Colt, Moe, and Weed. Everyone and I do mean everyone stayed away from those rotten boys. They were responsible for dipping little girls' pigtails in the inkwells (yes, mean kids actually did this at one time) at school, and for slipping the rotten cheese in the minister's desk. Ornery little cusses, they were.

Colt was always the ringleader and made life miserable for anyone around. The only time Colt was half decent was in the presence of Daisy and Dahlia. They made sure Colt knew who was boss and it wasn't him. All three of those boys had runny noses that they only wiped with their sleeves, and each sported an untidy mop of dirty brown hair. All except Moe, who was the trio's brightest bulb. Moe had matted red hair that stuck straight up, never sure if it was hereditary, or just full of yesterday's milk. He had one lazy eye which made him look as though he was looking at you out of the side of his head. And he knew how to pick locks.

One day the minister locked the keys inside his car and asked Moe if he could open it. Moe had the door open in three seconds flat, and he did it with a writing quill. Minister wasn't sure whether to be proud of Moe or prepare a prison ministry for him someday because, after all, he did just pick a lock.

Willie couldn't keep control of her boys. During one church service, Moe and Colt rushed in with a goat singing "Bringing in the Sheaves." Those rotten boys would also get into the baptismal tank and bathe, and at least once a week come running down the aisles naked as jay birds.

At first, the church folk thought helping out Blue, Willie and The Gang was the charitable thing to do, but there was a point that they just couldn't take the disruption of those boys any longer. In short, they were close to losing their religion. But it wasn't the minister who ended up running them out of town. It was Great Grandma.

Great Grandma was embarrassed about her sister's boy and his family, so much so that she didn't mention that he was related. My Aunt Tylene and my mother had a system. If either of them knew Blue and his family was heading their way, they would pack up the kids and leave the house for the afternoon. They didn't hide out in the house because little Moe could always pick the front door lock. One time, Aunt Tylene tried hiding out.

When Blue came to the door, she hid in her room trying fruitlessly to not make a noise. She heard a ruckus outside, and then in later learning that Bluford's dog had gone straight to her kitchen and had gobbled the warm apple pie off the counter. All of Blue's kids sat on the couch waiting to be fed and Aunt Tylene hid in her room all afternoon until she couldn't stand it any longer. She emerged from her room to hear Daisy tauntingly say, "We was waitin' for you ta come outa there. Whatchoo got ta eat?"

Great Grandma was a kind and tolerable woman. She would be the first to rise in the morning and make breakfast for our family and all the farmhands. She loved to cook. Great Grandma got along with everyone; that is, to say, except Blue. She felt Blue was a pitifully lazy man who didn't take care of his family, but no one ever told him so. She knew that it would be her time very soon, and that they would come a callin'.

Came the day: She was sitting on her porch, serenely rocking in her favorite chair, when she heard the familiar powder-rust blue, smoking, pick up truck coming up the dirt road. There were the eight children in the back of the truck, and she couldn't tell where each child started and each child ended. They were fighting and carrying on, and determined that the cloud of dirt that seemed to follow the bed of the pick up was in fact rising from the children. She immediately envisioned her clean, floral carpet that she had just cleaned under full-scale attack from sixteen dirty little feet. She asked for patience from above.

As the pickup drew near, she noted Blue was driving hard over every bump, and it was a miracle that none of those kids fell out. Maybe that's what he intended, but she wasn't going to worry about that now. She couldn't even see Millie in the front seat, only a pair of bony little hands grabbing onto what was left of the dashboard for dear life.

They arrived at Great Grandma's. "Hey Aunt Et! We're here!" The kids tumbled from the truck bed and started marching up the walk toward Great Grandma's Better Homes and Garden-like sanctuary.

"Stop right there!" she yelled. The kids paid no mind. Moe was hitting Weed upside the head, while Weed passed it on by thumping little sister Magnolia. They were all arms and legs.

"I said, stop right there!" And she grabbed Moe and Weed by the ears. "Owwwwwwwww!" they hollered.

"Et, you let my precious boys go!" Blue bellowed.

"You take your dirty little kids, and your dirty little self, and go find yourself some manners. I am not feeding and cleaning up after you. Now go!" She pointed at the truck. "And take that with you!"

"Aw, c'mon Et. I'm family."

"I didn't pick you!" Great Grandma shouted. By now neighbors were gathering. "And if I did, I would have put you back, you rotten tomato!"

Blue was wounded. Or perhaps is was a combination of looking indignant or else being caught.

"Come, Willie," he said, with as much pride as he could muster, "we don't have to put up with this. My Aunt is a hoidy toidy!" The kids were grinning from ear to ear. They loved hearing any kind of fightin'.

"You know what, Aunt Et? I'm going to the church and tellin' them all about you." Blue herded the kids toward the truck.

Great Grandma bounced back like one of Blue's checks: "You're a no good, do nothin', layabout, lazy pants, barnacle, you know that, Bluford Howard?! And you're a Democrat, to boot! You don't belong in church. You belong in purgatory. Puuurrrgggaaatttooorrryyy!," she hissed. "No one wants you or your little rats at church!"

By this time, Great Grandpa was behind her. He had never heard anything like that come out of Et's mouth, yet he was smiling. He knew she had reached her limit. He'd only seen it once before; the time Roosevelt got elected to a fourth term. By now Bluford's bunch had all climbed in the pickup. Well, almost all. He pulled away before Weed got in. The last thing Great Grandma saw was Daisy pulling little Weed into the back of the trunk by his feet.

Bluford, Willie, and the Offspring left town shortly after that incident. The last anyone heard was when Stubby Parker who owned the Sinclair filling station on the outskirts of town said Blue and the Gang had stopped in to use the restroom before hitting the Territorial Highway. "Old Blue told me he was a thinkin' 'bout lookin' up them Latter Day Saints because they have the better food lockers. Said he was thinkin' of joinin' up and bein' a Mormon cuz the Baptists expect you to bring the food to the potluck."

And with that last known reported sighting, the powder blue '38 Chevy pickup sputtered onto the main road and dipped below the horizon, towing all their worldly possessions in a trailer made from an old, upturned icebox refrigerator.

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Beth McCain loves to write about her quirky family. Beth and her husband, Lee, are instructors and lecturers in applying the Law of Attraction, or better known as the Secret, in every day life. Please visit:



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