Uncle Marvin & The “Do”

In my blog story, Just An Old Boat, I talked about my Uncle Marvin. I might have mentioned that Uncle Marvin was a stern man—his picture is in the dictionary next to “disciplinarian”—and he took a dim view of foolishness. In Uncle Marvin’s way of looking at things, I often stepped over the line between what was “normal behavior” and what he considered foolishness; many times, way over the line.

If you take a look at the picture accompanying this story, you will see that my hair is curly and bushed out around the silly hat I was wearing. Back in the early seventies it was popular for guys to get perms, and wear their hair in what was—probably still is—called an “afro” style. If I can find a picture that shows me wearing the style without a hat, I’ll share it with y’all later. It is, to say the least, a hoot!

During that timeperiod, we were passing through Odessa for one reason or another, and planned to stop and see Aunt Doris and Uncle Marvin. We didn’t get to see the family that often, and took advantage of any opportunity that presented itself.

I don’t remember where they were living at the time, but my grandparents (Ma & Pa is what all us grandkids called them) heard I was coming through Odessa, and came there, so they could see us, too.

I hadn’t really given a thought to what Uncle Marvin might think of my hairdo, but it turns out that—in Marvin Madden’s view of things—I’d stepped over the proverbial line once again.

My first clue this wasn’t going to go well came when Aunt Doris answered the door. I think she actually had to study me pretty hard, before she recognized me then, staring at my frizzed out “do”, she put two fingers over her lips and said, “Oh, my goodness. Charlie?”

I could see she was staring at my hair, and the realization hit me. Oh, man, I thought. If Aunt Doris is that shocked about the way I look, Uncle Marvin is gonna flip-out. I feeling of nervous doom began to churn in my gut.

We were in the guest room when Marvin got home, and a few minutes after he arrived, Ma and Pa showed up.

When I walked into the living room, Pa’s eyes got wide, then he grinned and began to chuckle. He was still chuckling—I think he was doing his best not to bust out laughing—as we shook hands. Ma came up beside Pa, took one look at me, jerked her head back the same way she always did when Pa said something she didn’t approve of—kind of a “you-don’t-have-a-lick-of-sense” expression, snorted in disgust then turned and walked away. She went and sat on a chair, and she literally would not speak to me. This was not going well.

Marvin was in a recliner—his “Big Comfy” I assume—and I saw him glance at me (I think he’d already glanced my way several times), as I went over and took a seat on the couch. Aunt Doris asked me if I wanted something to drink, and I told her I could probably use a beer. I’m pretty sure she mumbled something about me possibly needing more than one real soon, but that could have been the paranoia that was blasting in my brain.

I sat there, looking at Ma, who refused to look at me then at Pa, who I swear had tears in his eyes as he continued to chuckle, and the newspaper which was—thankfully, I thought—hiding me from Uncle Marvin. I’ll never forget what he said.

He lowered the paper, glared at me from across the room, then grinned his big Uncle-Marvin-grin, and asked, “What the hell you reckon happened, Charlie?”

Pa couldn’t take it anymore, and busted into laughter; I think Ma even smiled; Marvin went back to reading the paper, and Aunt Doris asked me if I wanted another beer.

“Yes, please.”


  1. Yolanda said

    hahahhaha!! this was great!!

    • That’s almost exactly how it went down, too!

      • Kathy said

        Roflmao…You were lucky!!!

      • Yes’m. I think Uncle Marvin kinda liked me. (Or, felt sorry for me, cause he figured I wasn’t very bright)

  2. Sherry Mashburn said

    Where’s the pictutre?

  3. […] https://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/way-over-the-line/ […]

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