By Jeff Salter
I’m trying to recall exactly when and how I first encountered Ruth Hartman, but (other than chatting with her on the Astraea Press Authors group), I confess I can’t remember. What I do know is that she was one of the first AP authors to post an Amazon review of my novel “The Overnighter’s Secrets” — for which I’m extremely grateful.
Our topic this week is ‘eccentric relatives’ and Ruth has a doozy. So, without further distractions from me, here’s my Guest Fox, Ruth Hartman!
Uncle, Get Your Gun!
By Ruth J. Hartman
My dad’s older brother George was a hoot. We never knew what he’d do or say, but it was always funny. And memorable.
Years ago, Uncle George got a frantic call from my cousin Raymond. My uncle rushed to his older son’s house to help. When Uncle George got there, his daughter-in-law Jane was frantic. A rat the size of Canada had made its home behind her refrigerator. They begged my uncle to help, since he always seemed to have innovative ideas.
Uncle George had brought his rifle, always on the lookout for a good reason to use it. Grabbing it from the back of his truck, he raced back into the house. Jane was now standing on the kitchen table, shrieking. Cousin Raymond stood closer to the rat’s lair, but not too close.
My uncle had Raymond help him move the refrigerator out a little more from the wall. He told the others to stand way back. He lifted the gun’s safety and pulled the trigger.
Jane and Raymond both yelled. Although to be fair, what did they think he would do with a rifle in their kitchen? Poke the rat with the end of it? The rat yelled, too. But not for long. After the rifle blast, there was silence.
Cousin Raymond took a step toward the refrigerator. “Dad, did you get it?”
Uncle George looked at his son. “You better hope so. Otherwise, you have a new hole in your floor for no good reason.”
My uncle felt something under his shoe and looked down. “Well, that’s not good.” Water pooled beneath his feet and was fast making its way toward the stove. Uncle George leaned over and peered behind the refrigerator. He’d shot the water line to the icemaker! “Definitely not good.”
Deciding to fix the problem himself instead of calling a plumber [and why would they call a professional? They hadn’t called an exterminator for the rat], Uncle George handed the rifle to Raymond and headed to the basement. When my uncle got to the bottom of the stairs, he could see light from the kitchen from the hole the rifle had blasted. “Hmmm. Well, have to fix that. After fixing the water line. After removing the rat carcass.”
Uncle George grabbed a stepladder from the corner and climbed up to inspect the damage. He hadn’t counted on quite so much water, but tilted his head so most of it hit his arms and chest instead of his face. He glanced down. Now, why was the water…pink?
When he looked back up to investigate, he forgot to tilt his head. At the same moment Uncle George took in a face-full of water, it occurred to him why it was pink.
That’s what happens when you mix water from a rifle-blasted water line and blood from a dead rat.
Better Than Catnip throws together a cat-loving woman with a gorgeous man and his son, who’s terrified of cats.
Someone’s going to have a hissy fit.
Ruth J. Hartman makes her home in rural Indiana with her husband of 30 years and their three spoiled cats. More information about her writing can be found at www.ruthjhartman.blogspot.com
I loved Ruth’s story today — well-told, very funny … and (presumably) true.
So, blog readers, tell us about YOUR most eccentric relatives.