My Uncle Elmer Johnson and his brothers remind me a bit of my dad, Al Spencer and his brother, Bill. They all had a mischievous past. I don’t think any of them were true troublemakers, but rather I think it was the era they grew up in. Kids did different things in their mischievous antics. My dad and his brother liked to set of dynamite, but then they were farm kids who, at times had a need for dynamite, like clearing a field of a big rock or tree stump. Of course, they didn’t really need to sink the gate post by two feet in an experiment with dynamite. Nevertheless, they did that. Uncle Elmer and his brothers were not above the idea of scaring their dad with the tractor, while he was using the outhouse. They tried to make him think they were going to run over the outhouse. Their dad came running out with his pants down around his ankles, and he was not happy with his boys. Nevertheless, they lived, so I guess he forgave them for their joke. Uncle Elmer’s brother, Les was his main “partner in crime” for their crazy activities.
For most of his work career, Uncle Elmer was a truck driver. He drove for a number of places, including furniture delivery, working for Burke Moving and Storage and for United Van Lines, working for Tom Aurelius. The job took him many places, and sometimes he could take his eldest son, Elmer with him. Maybe that is why they both really loved driving trucks. I’m sure they had a great time seeing all the sights and talking about everything under the sun. Those summertime trips made Uncle Elmer and Cousin Elmer good friends.
It seems like some men have skills that others don’t. I don’t know if it was that era, or what, but both my dad and Uncle Elmer, and most likely their brothers too, could cook. Yes, they could grill too, but these guys could really cook. They could cook good old fashioned comfort food, and some fancy stuff too, but mostly they were good old American down-home cooks, and that is the best kind. There aren’t many things I remember about my Uncle Elmer, not like his kids do, but the uncle that I remember was always sweet and funny. He was fun to be around, and I know that my parents enjoyed spending time with Uncle Elmer and Aunt Dee too (my mom’s sister). When they were around, it always seemed that the fun accompanied them. I was 25 when Uncle Elmer went to Heaven, but I remember the feeling of loss, both for me and for his family. It was such a sad time, and that will never change. Today would have been Uncle Elmer’s 90th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Elmer. We love and miss you very much.