How To Be A Fantastic Uncle…Or Not?

fantasticuncleICWhen I was 19 years old, my big brother and his wife wanted go furniture shopping, but they were hesitant since it would require taking their 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son in tow.  It was a hot summer day, so I volunteered to be a good uncle and take the kids to play miniature golf and then out for ice cream.  It sure beat mowing the lawn, and my brother and his wife were delighted and most appreciative.

The kids jumped into my ’70 Nova.  We drove to the “golf course” and had a great time.  It was probably their first introduction to the game, and I taught them all I knew, including how to use the “shoe wedge” to nudge a ball from an unacceptable lie and the art of the “mulligan”, or do-over, a quite acceptable practice on most golf courses.  We may have been a tad slow, but all of the other “golfers” on the “course” were just as talented as we were, so there were no complaints.

After we had finally finished our “golf game”, we walked to the adjacent ice cream stand.  I asked my niece what treat she wanted, and she asked for a small chocolate dipped cone with sprinkles.  “Ordered right up!!!” said I, and she was delighted.  When queried likewise, her little brother said “I want a GIANT banana split with extra whip cream!!!”  Immediately, my niece blurted sternly, “YOU can’t have THAT!!!  Mommy wouldn’t allow it, it’s too big!!!”  I reminded her that it was a special outing for us all, and what a good fellow her little brother had been throughout the hot day.  Even though he would never be able to finish it, he was welcome to the banana split.

I was shocked; almost as quickly as the banana split arrived, the little fellow gobbled down the whole thing!!!  I asked the kids if they wanted anything else, thinking that perhaps a water or soda might be desired.  My nephew piped up loudly “I want a chocolate dipped cone, just like she had!!”  My niece exclaimed, “YOU can’t have that!!!  That’s too much!!!” stamping her feet for emphasis.  Suspecting that a tantrum might be in the offing if the cone was denied, I said, “Well, I’m sure your brother knows what he can eat, and he did get a lot of exercise on the golf course today.”  She frowned, but “Ordered right up!!!” said I.

The little lad was delighted.  To my surprise, he virtually inhaled the cone!!!!  I suggested that it was getting late and perhaps we should be going home.  As we neared the door, my nephew spotted a strategically placed freezer case.  “WOW!!  Look at those packages of Dilly Bars!!!  Can we please get one of those to take home??”  As he pulled on my trouser leg, his sister barked, “ABSOLUTELY NOT, YOU CANNOT have ANY more ice cream!!!!”  Fearing a scene, I assured her it would be ok, remarking that her parents would probably enjoy an ice cream treat after their long shopping excursion.  I bought the large box he selected.

We hopped in the car, and I put the box on the back seat beside my nephew.  Driving back, I didn’t notice (until his sister started to yell) that he had raided the box and was finishing off his second large confection.

When we pulled up to their house, my niece flung open the car door and RAN to her mother, reporting loudly and in excruciating detail all of the items her brother had devoured.  My nephew slowly climbed out of the back seat, clutching the box.  He walked a few paces towards his mother, then dropped the box and wrapped his arms around his stomach.  “OOOOHHH, I don’t feel so good, my tummy hurts….” he exclaimed.

Sensing that I had done more than my fair share of good deeds for the day, I announced that I had chores to attend to and must immediately go home.  I got in the car and drove away.

In a day or two, my nephew was feeling much better.  North of three decades later, we all remember, recount and (with the exception of my sister-in-law) laugh at this story.  Strangely, these days, both my niece and my nephew prepare detailed written lists of “pre-approved” food treats and portions and hand them to me when I arrive to take THEIR children out for miniature golf or other events!!!!  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.


(image of ice cream cone courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/

(image of popsicles courtesy of lamnee/

(image of sundae courtesy of Sicha Pongjivanich/


If you enjoyed reading about someone eating too much ice cream, you might enjoy reading about this little girl who couldn’t finish a homemade fruit cobbler.

If you’d prefer to hear about kids who always do the RIGHT thing, we suggest watching Zach Lennon-Simon talk about how he could do no wrong growing up.


**Garlic Shake is a member in good standing of the Board of Amusement.  Garlic does a lot of the heavy lifting for us, because very few are stronger than a garlic milkshake.