Uncle Bill and Anita Ekberg
By ice rivers
In the twenty first century, I know that there is a relationship between distance and time.
Back in the fifties, at the age of eight, thirty miles was a world away.
Crystal Beach was thirty miles away.
In the summertime, which in itself was a loooonnng time, I spent most of my weekends far, far away from the city at place called Canandaigua Lake at a beach called Crystal.
Duke Clod was nowhere in sight but his influence tended to linger.
I was blessed to be relatively rich so guess who WASin sight...that's right my relatives especially those on my father's side.
Many of them had collaborated on the actual construction of 'the ranch house' which was the name of the second cottage that my grandfather built in 1952.
I caught a lot of that sound and fury which later proved to have great significance
By 1954, the arguing, cursing and drinking that went on during the building of the Ranch House had dissipated. The place was inhabitable and open to all my kin.
Not all my kin appreciated the muddy road to the ranch house nor the 'honey bucket' that passed as the toilet nor the fact that the only water available other than the lake required a trip to the well and a bucket lugging back of aqua,
None of this bothered me too much so we were the most regular visitors to the Ranch House.
One time, we were down there and my Uncle Bill showed up.
Uncle Bill was an elegant old guy. Always well dressed and in great posture, Uncle Bill was an engaging figure whomI saw rarely enough to render mystical. The main thing about Uncle Bill is that he was old. My grandfather, even though everybody called him Danny Boyvwas old but his brothers Mike and Bill were older still. Bill was the oldest of them all.
He was known, naturally, as Old Uncle Bill.
Me, I was the first son, the grandson, the first nephew and the youngest kid at the Ranch House. I was held in a position of esteem.
Everybody knew my grades were excellent, that I read with uncommon comprehension as well as speed. I had a commensurate vocabulary and consequently admirable spelling ability. Most important of all for life at the Lake, I could swim.
All my relatives knew this.
What they didn't know was the influence and existence of Big Duke Clod.
Sooooo, one July weekend, I found myself alone in the company of Uncle Bill. I found a movie magazine lying around. I was looking through the magazine when I came across a picture of Anita Ekberg.
I had never seen anyone who looked quite like Anita Ekberg.
I figured I'd ask Uncle Bill if he had an opinion about Anita Ekberg.
I called him over. I showed him the picture and asked 'Hey Uncle Bill, how would you like to jump in bed with that BROAD'
It's hard to describe the look that crossed Uncle Bill's face at that moment. It was a look that reflected him pulling a visual of his 200 year old self jumping in bed with Anita Ekberg which he must have been spontaneously cross-referencing with the dueling visual of his 60 pound, 8 year old grand nephew jumping in bed with Anita Ekberg.
The expression transmogrified and concluded ended he must have visualized all three of us jumping into bed together.
To this day, I've never seen an expression like it.
Basically it was a look of astonishment with shades of consternation, curiosity, fear, hopelessness, surprise and suspense all colliding in a complicated, asymmetrical smile.
A smile was his answer to my question.
So I took it to the next level.
'I'd LOVE to JUMP in bed with that BROAD.
Even more complicated smile accompanied by a couple blinks that might have been intended to be winks.
Somehow, I stopped myself from asking Uncle Bill if he was a fairy.