|REVIEW STORE: Did you enjoy David's short story? Please tell him so. We know he will appreciate your
feedback. CLICK HERE to write a review of "My Great Uncle Jack . . ."
NEW REVIEWS: This is a great short story written about a great American. I loved every visual, every
scene, every line and I would welcome many more of the same from Mr. Carpenter. I think we are just
beginning to know his Great Uncle Jack, and I can't wait for more. Come on, Cash, make him give up another
one. *****__Alan V. Galloway.
I am really starting to like this Website now. At first I wasn't sure. Now it seems we are getting some writers
here with what can be considered pretty good size cannolis like Mr. Carpenter and The Captain who can write
strong, manly stories. The kind of stories I like to read. So, yeah, write some more about your uncle, Mr.
Carpenter. It's a very interesting and rewarding read. *****__Anthony M. Gullatta.
I loved this short story. It really is like a love song. Such beautiful and sensitive descriptions of the majestic
country side and the mighty animals that make it their home. The juxtaposition of the ferocity of the male
bear and the tenderness of his mate is truly heartwarming. I hope there will be more of these stories very
soon. *****__Su Chang-Wu.
Wow! Cash. Where are you getting these guys? First Bosworth with his zany Monks. Then Gullatta with his
"Russo-the-Raper. " And now Carpenter with his Great American Uncle Jack. All of it really good writing
which is sure to help build even broader audiences for short stories at LMI. Nice piece of writing, Mr.
Carpenter. And ditto on the request for more!*****__Captain Apple Jack.
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|“My Great Uncle Jack and the Great
By David W. Carpenter
Friday, June 3, 2016
Rated "G" by the author
Some Things Take More Courage Than Brains.
My sister Audrey called today. To let me know that she had completed another limb on the “Carpenter
Family Tree.” Over twenty-five limbs now. Some that extend all the way back to the eighteenth century.
From Ossining, New York, to Sparta, North Carolina, to Frankfort, Germany. Weaving their way generation-
to-generation through great men and women who fought and served in two world wars, built homes along
asphalt-paved streets in bedroom communities outside great cities and log cabins in the sides of great
mountains, drank fine blends from Paris wineries and silky mixtures from North Carolina stills, married for
money, and for love, and even crossed the color line more than once.
I don’t know where Audrey finds the time to do all that research. I’m retired, work three days a week, and
barely have time for a golf game when good friends from Raleigh come for a visit. When I’m not working at
Agra, I’m working the thirty-acre spread that my wife Jan and I call home. Jan told me to scale it back a
little when we moved here. "Don’t buy so much land, Dave."But I paid her no mind. So now I scrounge
from minute to minute trying to save some of those minutes that I am scrounging around to help Audrey.
Then some mornings, a cool breeze blows easily across our land and I am glad I own it. All thirty acres. I sit
alone on the back porch and watch the sun break the horizon as the morning dew rises in a frail mist to
meet it. And the breeze calls to me to be up and about doing what I really want to do today, which is to help
Audrey fill in another branch on our family tree. Actually, I’m pretty good at it. Like when I dug up my
Great Uncle Jack, and all the wonderful memories (tapes, et al) he paid in exchange for ID’ing him.
GREAT UNCLE JACK
My Great Uncle Jack is not a great uncle in the sense of greatness that some may say comes as the result of
an exclusive, well-planned, highly elite linage that he and my Great Aunt Mary have preserved across two
centuries. Something carefully studied and weighed financially, socially, educationally, geographically, or
even religiously by two powerful families wishing to perpetuate a king’s linage through a royal marriage of
equals only. No, not that at all. Things just didn’t go that way on his side of the family. Quite the contrary.
My Great Uncle Jack deserves the prefix “great” because . . . well, he was just a great uncle.
As exhibited by his many fables, legends, myths and other assorted tall tales and foibles, all of which I have
now safely deposited in an anthology of Great Uncle Jack Stories. Which I do not give up easily. The one
exception being that Cash has asked. So, here’s a love song for you:
“ . . . I had just finished banging the final restraining stake into the ground around my rather large canvas,
camouflage tent when the huge brown bear approached standing on his hind legs and growling a message
not to be taken lightly. Gees! What is that, I thought.
To show he meant business, the great bear smashed my aluminum canoe under a foot; and, using a massive
front paw, flipped my small camp stove away like a twig. Then he advanced upon the tent as I backpedaled,
axe in hand. He embraced the tent like a lost lover but then proceeded to rip it apart along with all of its
accoutrements, cot, tarp, sleeping bag, mess kit, first aid kit, etc, like a spurned cuckold. Leaving only me
now to vanquish. Which was completely understandable. After all I was the interloper here. In his land. And
he was not handing out any green cards for immigrants.
I brandished the short-handle axe, carving deep threatening arcs in front of his eyes. Giving him sufficient
pause to place all feet upon the ground and charge ruthlessly toward me. Shoot man, sometimes you have to
take a stand, which I did right then and there.
Grasping the axe in both hands, I produce my most ferocious scream and charged straight into the jaws of
hell. Taken aback by my aggressiveness, the great brown bear stood once again just long enough for me to
bury the sharp blade deep into the thick fur of his mighty chest. It must have hurt a little for the great bear
staggered backwards at the same time pulling the axe free with his large mouth and flinging it aside into the
heart of a tall foxtail pine splitting its trunk and sending it crashing to the ground.
I dove away from the falling tree just in time, but a large tree limb fell upon the bear sending him roaring
and grousing away into the woods above the cliffs. Gees! What was that? I thought again.
I stood there, sweat pouring from every pore of my body, shaking like a frightened child. I prayed to God to
give me wings to fly away from this disaster. All around me was chaos with little left to recover that would
be usable. My backpack was the single exception, which would see me back to civilization once I had
regained the strength of my legs and feet. Along with my Leica camera with its long telescopic lens intact. I
retrieved my old army water canteen from the Airstream trailer that had brought me up country and drank
deeply, feeling the cold water run down my insides. Refreshed, I turned toward the path the great brown
bear had taken, not down stream.
A short time later I came upon them sitting side-by-side at the edge of a high cliff gazing peacefully across a
deep gorge at the Great Union Falls below. The female was very large and her stomach was swollen with
true signs of near term pregnancy. The male placed a large arm around her shoulders offering further
comfort and solace to their peaceful moment together. She pushed her muzzle into his ear and began to lick.
Then in an act of true love and tender regard for her mate, she began to lick the wound in his chest.
It was an incredible shot. The sun setting across Yellowstone National Park and two wild animals in an
improbable embrace. The wind was coming toward me off the cliff walls so I did not attract them. I knew
why the great brown bear had attacked. I was an intruder and a danger in their land. He was behaving like
any good mate, protecting the mother of his child to come. I lowered the camera and retraced my steps back
to the broken campsite and on to the way station farther down stream where I could us a phone to call for
help. The way station was a resting place maintained by the Yellowstone Safari Company for big game
hunters, mostly moose, on safari in the park.
When I arrived, I checked the walls to see if there were any heads of great brown bears mounted above the
rafters. There were none. I was glad I had not taken the picture of the bears in their tender moment. I had
again been an intruder. They had deserved their privacy. But Gosh, what a great picture it would have been.
[John David (Jack) Carpenter, September 21, 1949.]
So there you have it. Just one the many Great Uncle Jack stories that I and Audrey can now narrate. Some
members of our tree say Great Uncle Jack was eccentric and a teller of tall tales, but I prefer to remember
him as just a frequent victim of poor timing. Like the time he was airlifted behind enemy lines on June 6,
1944, as part of operation Neptune, to help remove the German pillboxes and secondary fortifications
focused upon the special military personnel whose mission it was to scale the cliffs at Normandy. Only to be
dropped onto a chimney in France where it took him six weeks to rejoin his 101st Airborne Division. When
he did go on to become a decorated member of The Greatest Generation that helped to rescue Europe from
the grip of Hitler. But that’s another story. I hope you enjoyed “The Great Brown Bear.” Contact Cash if you
would like another.
David Warner Carpenter, June 6, 2016, (65 years later).