Lee Mottern tells his girlfriend, Linda Eldredge, a story about his Uncle Abe.
Lee Mottern (LM): Well Uncle Abraham and Aunt May Little, they had a big old house they lived in. And you walk in there; it smells of good food and cigar smoke. But they couldn’t have any children. So we’d stay the nights frequently, you know, in the summer. And I noticed there’s something my Uncle Abraham would do at night before he went to bed. He’d go into the kitchen and he’d get this big, ugly, brown bottle down from the highest cabinet — and get this spoon. And he would pour this liquid into the spoon and take a big dose of it. Now, you gotta remember — I’m about seven years old, OK?
Linda Eldredge (LE): OK.
LM: So everything’s a mystery. Well, he caught me looking at him one night. I said, ”What is that, anyway, Uncle Abe?” And he goes, ”That’s my smart medicine.” I said, ”Can I smell it?” He goes, ”No, no this is too powerful. Would keep you awake all night.” I said, ”Well, what does it taste like? Does it taste like cherries?” He says, ”It’s better than that.” I said, ”Come on, Uncle Abe. Let me have a little taste of it.” He goes, ”Your Granny Ruth would — I don’t know what she would do when she found out I gave you some of the smart medicine. You think you can handle it?” And I went, ”Yeah.” And he says, ”OK, get a little spoon. You can’t have much.”
So, I’m standing there like a baby bird with my mouth open. And he says, ”All right, here it comes. ” And then I swallowed it, and it was awful.
LE: Well, what was it?
LM: My Uncle Abraham would take a big old spoon of castor oil every night before he went to bed for therapeutic reasons.
LE: Ah. (Laughs)
LM: I’ll never forget that, because in a way, it did make me smarter — because some things that look pretty good on the surface might be something best left alone.