Uncle Cal was well known for being a kid at heart, eating his dessert first, and the hilarious one liners he could still throw out up until the end. The part of “Callie” as we first knew him, and which we later learned he hated, that has been bouncing around in my head, is what a fine and fierce protector he was. Two incidents come to mind, the first when I was about four years old and was knocked down by a jealous Laddie, the Farm’s resident collie. This dog was terrifyingly scratching or biting my face, but Uncle Cal was right there and got the dog off me quickly. He even offered to shoot it (which did not happen), if I remember correctly. In fact, I’m not sure I actually remember any of this, it could be just the retelling I remember, but I still have a trauma reaction when a dog comes at me barking.
The second was when Betsy fell off a horse and broke her arm at about age 10. This I do remember. As soon as she was thrown, I can see Uncle Cal running down the country road in his requisite coveralls, and into the ditch to retrieve her. I can still feel his anger at any person or animal that would hurt one of his family. Since he didn't have any children of his own, and my mom was his only niece, we were his adopted grandchildren.
Uncle Cal taking a swing at ping pong, 2009, age 84.