by Lynn Pinkerton
Most people just send Wal-Mart Christmas cards, but not Dola Fern’s Uncle Ike. Caring enough to send the very best, he took Hallmark greetings to a whole new level. If Uncle Ike and Elsie Jean Ishes had not gotten caught, she probably would never have known what holiday secrets Uncle Ike held close.
It all began to unravel when Dola Fern got a call from the Southern Sunsets Retirement Home over in Gun Barrel City. Somehow Dola Fern had ended up being Uncle Ike’s nearest living relative when his remaining kin died off last year. She was told there was a crisis at the home and she needed to come right over. All they would tell her on the phone was that Uncle Ike had expanded his extra curricular activities beyond playing dominos and watching “Wheel of Fortune.” Way beyond.
Wishing that Uncle Ike belonged to someone else, Dola Fern sat in the stuffy office of Miss Prudehome, the prissy director of Southern Sunsets and wondered if she could fix whatever Uncle Ike had done. Miss Prudehome sat down, folded her hands across her desktop Bible and began to reveal how Uncle Ike was making the most of his golden years.
It seems Uncle Ike had spiced up life at Southern Sunsets by shooting a series of videos called “Geezers Gone Wild” and then peddling them on the Internet. Featuring other bored Southern Sunsets residents who wanted in on the action, his best selling video had a rural theme and was called, “Redneck Geezer Hotties”. The same group often seen eating the early bird special at the local Luby’s Cafeteria now appeared in pastoral scenes sitting on tractors, gathering eggs in off the shoulder overalls and peeping up from behind bales of hay wearing big straw hats…and nothing else. Wicked winks and beguiling smiles helped compensate for sagging imperfections.
The sexy senior star of “Geezers Gone Wild” was Uncle Ike’s main squeeze, Miss Elsie Jean Ishes. Dola Fern had met Miss Elsie several times and had a hard time believing that this powdered and prim grandmother was developing a sizeable following of Viagra enhanced men. So far as Dola Fern knew, Miss Elsie’s only hobby was knitting covers to hide an extra roll of toilet paper.
Hovering somewhere between proper shock and suppressed, side-splitting laughter, Dola Fern wanted more than celluloid verification and asked to speak with Miss Elsie alone. Appropriately shy at first, Miss Elsie quickly warmed to the idea of discussing her amorous high jinks. Taking a cue from her “Geezers Gone Wild” videos, she began to expose tantalizing tidbits about her red-hot romance with Uncle Ike. Fanning herself as the story heated up, she excitedly prattled on and then confidentially leaned forward and offered Dola Fern the golden nugget.
“Do you know about Ike’s special Christmas greeting?”
Thinking maybe Miss Elsie should still be gardening and canning, Dola Fern shook her head and waited.
“Honey, I’m here to tell you that old man has 'Merry Christmas' tattooed right on his hootus.”
Eyes popping in disbelief, Dola Fern wondered if the holiday greeting was tattooed vertically, horizontally or wrapped around and around. Was “Merry Christmas” spelled out or abbreviated “Merry X-mas?” Was the tattoo in black or traditional red and green?
Finding herself a little jealous of Miss Elsie’s scandalous shenanigans, Dola Fern escorted Miss Elsie back to her room and her knitting. Dola Fern had walked on the gray side of the wild life enough for one day and told a disapproving Miss Prudehome that she would return tomorrow to get Uncle Ike back on the path to a virtuous life. She drove home wondering how much money Uncle Ike had saved on Christmas cards.
Lynn Pinkerton announced in the fifth grade that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Although she hopes to never be a full-blown grown-up, she does continue to doggedly chase her fifth grade dream of writing. Part of a on-going series, this is Dola Fern’s debut to the public. Although Dola Fern is fiction, long gone Uncle Ike did exist. However, no one can confirm his legendary Christmas tattoo. Lynn (and Dola Fern) live in Houston, Texas.
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