My Comedian Brother Jack

In every family, I think, there is one person who stands out in one way or another. In my family it is Jack, who is two years older than myself. In other words, he is the one word we do not like to think about!  He is OLD! (Sorry about that Jack, but it’s true). I wish that I could remember just half of the things he used to pull on us when we were growing up, because  it’s pay back time. I’m going to tell everyone in cyber-space some of his crazy antics.

The first thing that comes to mind is the time, when he was just a boy, Mama looked out and saw him sitting on a limb in the apple tree outside. He was puffing on a cigar.  She knew what was going to happen, so she just let him puff away. It wasn’t long until he came in the back door, sick as a dog.  Mama said he cried and asked “Mama, am I gonna die? Am I gonna die?”  I’ll bet it was a long time before he smoked another cigar!

The next thing I recall is that back when we were all kids, we went barefoot from the time we got out of school in the summer until we started back to school in the fall. Mama noticed that Jack’s feet didn’t look like they had been washed in awhile and decided that she was going to wait and see just how long it would take him to wash them.  Then one day, sure enough, Jack came to her and said “Mama, look at my feet.  How am I ever going to get them clean?”  Mama said “Looks like it will take steel wool”  trying not to laugh, not dreaming Jack would take her serious.  But that’s exactly what he did! He scrubbed his feet with  steel wool.  Nearly ruined his feet!  We still laugh at him about that. He gets a little bit angry at you when you tell that on him.

Then there was the time when we were about ten and twelve years old. Jack always had several boys following behind him, everywhere he went. He was always a tall boy and I think they looked up to him. There was a path in our back yard that sort of went across a field and up a little  hill to the road. I looked out the window and saw Jack and his entourage going down the path. I decided I wanted to follow them, so I ran out the back door and fell in behind the last boy. Jack turned around and saw me, gave me a good scolding and made me go back home. I was crying and as I was walking back home, I noticed a broken peanut jar lying next to the path. I remember that back then (1943) peanut butter came in glass mugs with a handle on them. I picked up that jar and threw it as hard as a ten year old girl could. I still, to this day, don’t know how I did it, but it popped Jack in the head.  He fell over and I went screaming in the back door “Mama, I’ve killed Jack! I’ve killed Jack!” Mama came tearing out the back door but Jack had already got up. Boy, did I get my bottom torn up that day!

We had two beds in each room, two of us to each bed.  When we were barely in our teens, my brother-in law’s niece came to spend the weekend with us . Loretta, my younger sister,  and Betty (the niece) and I were in one bed and Jack  in the other. We were giggling half the night and I guess Jack got tired of listening to us, so he tossed one of his brogans (his shoes in other words) over there and wouldn’t you know, it landed square on Betty’s head.  I forgot to mention it was pitch dark in the room though. He got his hide torn up for that too but Betty went home and wouldn’t stay the week-end. I don’t think she ever came to spend the night with us anymore.

He went into the army , came home and married Helen, had three girls, but they decided they wanted to try for a boy and wound up with twin girls instead (that, incidentally, were born in their driveway, but that’s another story). He and Helen  have worked hard, raised their family, and are still together. But he has never lost his sense of humor! If you are around him, you will be laughing the whole time.

For instance, before we had our last Chaney Reunion, he came over to see Sherry and me for awhile. The theme of the reunion was to have a  Western theme. We were sitting and talking and he said “Do you want to know what Vickie (his daughter) is going to do for the reunion?”   We answered “NO!’  and he said “Vickie has hired a guy to bring some horses over to the church and she wanted all who would, to ride those horses down the street to our homeplace.” You talk about big eyes, we just sat there staring at him in disbelief. Can you imagine all the senior citizens trying to climb up on horses? Then I noticed that gleam in his eye and I asked him “Are you lying to us ?”  He said “Yep!”   I told him I was going to kill him one of these days.

Here’s just a few more things he pulled on some in the family.   Sis was working at the B & B  Restaurant up town. He called her one day, changed his voice and told her he was from the IRS and she owed them a considerable amount of money. He let her stew on that until the next day before he told her. Another time, he called Sue (who was eight months pregnant ) and had some kind of little motor purring, begging her to come to work, told her he was short on workers and  desperately needed her to work. This was a cotton mill. Oh!  and of course he changed his voice for the time too!

He hasn’t changed one bit . He is still one of the funniest men I have ever known.  He  and Helen both are on blood thinners. As a result of that, they have a lot of blue-ish marks on their arms and hands.  His grandson brought his girlfriend from Western Carolina College to meet them. Jack invited them to come sit on the deck with them but warned them that every mosquito that bit him would burst.

One day Jack called me and asked me if I had ever been to the eye doctor.  I said Yes!  He told me he had just returned from the eye doctor. He said “He asked me if I had ever had cataracts and I told him No! I had always driven Chevrolets.” My cousin Barbara Ross was here and I repeated what Jack said. We were both laughing so hard tears were running down our face. I had to hang up because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t talk to him.

When he was operated on for prostate cancer, the nurses told him he owed them big time. Jack told them “Oh No!  They owed him big time because they took every bit of zip out of his zipper.” The head nurse thanked him for making them laugh because in their line of work ,they needed a laugh every now and then.

Jack has brought a lot of  joy to all of us through the years. He is a very kind man who, along with Helen, would do anything for anybody. I always heard that you could tell what kind of husband a man would make by watching how he treated his mother. My brother loved mama so very much, worried about her almost more than any of us. They also love their God with all their hearts.

Yes, We are getting on in years!  There is one boy, and four girls still left behind. The oldest is 91 years   and the youngest is 71.  One day we will all be together again.  No one knows what God has planned for us in the future but we are all trusting Him with OUR future.  In the meantime, we will continue on our journey until the day we are all together again. Still looking out for each other ! Still laughing at Jack because God gave him the gift of making people laugh!

About Peggy

Peggy Chaney was best known as cook and co-owner of Peggy's Restaurant in Kings Mountain, North Carolina (which she and her sister, Loretta, ran for over two decades). You can find her pages on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. One of eleven siblings, she was the daughter of a Baptist preacher, and was well remembered for her kind spirit and regard for others. Her genuine warmth and grace is sorely missed.

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One Response to My Comedian Brother Jack

  1. Beth Baity July 5, 2009 at 5:30 pm #

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Jack! It brought back some great memories of my own childhood!

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