Saturday, January 5, 2019
Remembering Our Uncle Ralph Darnell
The here and now:
Uncle Ralph was one of 13 children of Grandparents Darnell family. Ralph never developed beyond a 12 year old.
Ralph lived at home until Grandma died in the mid 1940s. The options: Family or mental institution. Ralph stayed with brothers and sisters for many years. Ralph was a frequent member of your family. He and I played together when I was 6-12 and he 26-30. He was not ignorant. He made up his own language. He designed banks that could not be robbed, etc. One bank he drew would sink 4” when an emergency button was pressed. No one could leave because the doors could not be opened, trapping the robbers inside. I was 10 and never did ask how they raised the building back up to let the police in.
HIS INVISIBLE COWBOY WITH A PISTOL TRICK.
Uncle Ralph was a sweet kindhearted individual. I never heard my mama complain. Mama told of the day Ralph says, “Grace, let’s wear our glasses bottom side upwards today and see the world different.” Mama did.
He stayed with my brother. Shucks I stayed with Odis too. Ruth, my sister in law, was like a second mama to me. I never saw Ruth frustrated. She corrected me ‘n Ralph like her sons.
Brother Odis liked to pick and sing around an outside fire. Once Ode said to Ralph, “How about going in the kitchen and get me that quart of water from the Icebox.” Ode liked to take a swig while he sang. In a few minutes Ralph came out without the jar and said, “Odis, woudn’t no water in that jar, it smelled bad and tasted worse, I poured it out.”
Odis just said, “Probably a good idea Ralph,” and he kept on singing. You would never’ve known that Ralph had poured out a quart of his white lightening.
(Ralph and his brother Hisure)
Uncle Ralph lived out his last years in a travel trailer his brothers and sisters had bought for him. He loved being independent. He was such a gentle soul, he passed in his 30s.
Thanks to Howard Dewey for the pictures.
PS: Once he had a bad period and was in a mental institution for 30 days. We visited often. After a few visits he took me aside and whispered, “Jackie, there’s crazy people in here.” I knew he was better! LOL
He never wore anything but 'Over hauls'. (That is Overalls, for you that don't know.)
Ralphs transportation was the bike, he had a J C Higgins.