All of my adult family members are passionate about their political views, but none of them agree on the same things. This makes for exciting conversations at the horseshoe pit.
Dad says that his older brother, Jerry, was a Democrat until he started making money and decided to become a Republican. All I know is that all of my memories revolve around Jerry making Democrat jokes. He would even cut political cartoons making fun of Democrats out of the paper and mail them to Dad. Dad would of course reciprocate and mail political cartoons making fun of Republicans back to Jerry.
Jerry came to Tennessee to visit in the spring of 2001. While Mom and Dad were out, Jerry drove up with two 50 pound bags of fertilizer. He drove out to the field next to our house and spelled out “(MY DAD'S FULL NAME) REPUBLICAN” with fertilizer in the grass close to the road. The letters were five feet tall and nearly stretched across the entire field. He was so pleased and tickled with himself, and he made me promise that I wouldn’t tell anyone what he had done. (I told Sister because it was too funny, but she promised not to tell Mom and Dad.)
That summer I was in basic camp at Ft Knox. The letters I received from home explained that Jerry was chomping at the bit to hear if Dad could tell if the letters had grown out of the grass yet. Dad, who was supremely gagged, immediately knew that Jerry had been the culprit. The only way Dad could get back at Jerry was to pretend like there was nothing to report, and that’s exactly what he did.
Jerry called the house every day for weeks, asking questions about how all the plants were doing. Mom and Dad feigned ignorance and acted like everything was okay. Jerry called Sister and asked point-blank if the letters had come up in the yard yet. Sister, who had been coached by Dad, told Jerry that I had mentioned the fertilizer, but the field looked normal.
Truth be told – it was so extremely obnoxious that everybody noticed it. People driving down the road slowed down at the house to read it. Neighbors asked about it. Friends pointed and laughed. Dad couldn’t keep the field mowed short enough that summer… but it didn’t matter because those lush, dark green letters jumped out like the Queen of Spades after you led with a seven of diamonds.
Jerry knew that something had to be showing. He called family friends in Summertown, and asked them to drive to Lawrenceburg to see if they could see anything in the field. Good friends that they are, they drove over on a Sunday afternoon. They’d been sitting on the porch for a while before he asked Dad about the letters in the field. Dad explained to him that they weren’t telling Jerry that they could see them because Jerry wanted so bad to gag Dad. He went back home and called Jerry, telling him that he couldn’t see anything in the field, either.
It was fun for me because I was at Ft Knox for six weeks and I received installations of the story in letters from home. The best part is that Mom and Dad have a friend who has an airplane, and they went up to take pictures of the field from the air. They mailed a picture of the field to Jerry, who in turn was both tickled pink with its success and extremely gagged that everybody pretended not to see it.
* Dad says that Jerry also painted “(MY DAD'S NAME) REPUBLICAN” on the door of the catch’em house garage, but it didn’t last long before someone covered it.