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|It was June, and school was finally out for the summer. After another grueling semester, I was looking forward to some time off at home - but whatever plans I'd made quickly flew out the window when my parents were suddenly called away on business. Although I was nearly 17 at the time, my parents simply wouldn't hear of my staying home alone while they were gone. Against my protestations, they ultimately arranged for me to spend the summer at my uncle Steve's farm down South.
I flew into a small city about 3 hours from my uncle's farm in Jacksonville. I arrived and was met by my uncle Steve and my two cousins, Doug and Adam. I hadn’t seen in years, but they were just as robust and brute-like as I had remembered them. They were all about 6'5" feet tall and must have each weighed over 250 pounds. They all had short buzzed hair and wore dirty t-shirts and ball caps. They were the stereotypical red-necks that you've red about in story books - they even wore matching bib overalls. So, as you might have guessed, I wasn't exactly looking forward to my three hour drive and six-week stay with Steve and his family.
“Hey there Austin, we’re glad to see you boy,” grunted Uncle Steve as he held out his hand.
Doug and Adam soon came over, razing me and welcoming me to my "home" for the next few weeks. Once we shook hands, though, I had to admit that I was a bit in awe of them, even though they were just a couple of barbarians. Although nearly 6'2" myself, I probably weighed at least 90 pounds less than they did. And while I'd always been able to use my slimness to my advantage (I was the fastest sprinter on the track team at school,) I'd always dreamed of owning a powerful and meaty body like theirs.
We picked up my luggage and walked to the pickup. Luckily, the pickup was a double cab, so I didn't have to worry about getting squashed in the middle of all that muscle. I still had to endure the long trip back to Jacksonville, though.
All through the ride home I was drilled and questioned about my life in the "big city." The guys wanted to know what my school was like, how I liked living with all those weirdoes and if I was one of them vegetarian liberals. I kept pretty quiet, avoiding direct responses and enduring the never ending trip.
We finally got to Uncle Steve’s farm. They took my luggage and showed me to my room, a small little room in the back of the house. It had an old bed and boxes of junk all over the place. I tried to relax a bit before dinner. Aunt Ellen, Steve’s wife, had died about 10 years back, so. Steve and the boys did all the cooking and very little of the cleaning.
Dinner was ready and I joined the gang for supper. Doug seemed to be the main cook, he served up cornbread and mashed potatoes, some kind of meatloaf, and beans. They all ate, like they hadn’t eaten in days. Dessert was an apple pie and ice cream. The pie and half gallon of ice cream were history by the time they were done. I had a small appetite in those days, and so I didn’t eat much. I skipped dessert and this was met with lots of comments about my being ungrateful and “too good” for home-cooked food.
“And besides, it wouldn't hurt ya to get some meat on those scrawny-ass bones of yours,” grumbled Uncle Steve.
After dinner, I was informed by Uncle Steve that I would be helping with chores while I was here. “If you’re gonna stay here, you’re gonna do some work,” he said. And with that, I was asked to go help with feeding the cows and the nightly duties. I stated to head to my room to change out of my Dockers and shirt. Uncle Steve stepped right in front of me. “You’re fine dressed just the way you are, I don’t suppose you really brought any good work clothes, so just use what you have on.”
I was starting to get pissed. I told myself, I was just here for a weeks. I could keep my cool long enough to get through this and go home. I reluctantly went out with the boys to do the chores. When I got back, Uncle Steve informed me I could go ahead and clean up the dishes and kitchen, before I rested. I tried to explain that I was exhausted from the long trip. “Well when you get done with your chores tonight, boy, you’ll be ready for a good night’s sleep.”
I finally finished the kitchen and washed the dishes. They obviously hadn’t done the dishes in about a week, it took me forever. Finally I was done. I went to say good night. Uncle Steve and the boys were in the living room watching TV and drinking soda. They had all stripped down to their underwear and socks, showing off their rippling biceps and enormous pecs. How I wished that I had a body like their's.
“Have a seat boy and grab yourself a soda, Skinny," Steve said. "The boys and I are just watching some TV.”
“Nah, I think I’ll just head to bed," I stammered, clearly in awe of these giants. "I’m pretty beat.”
“Nah, I think you’ll be polite and join us for a soda, Scrawny,” Unce Steve said as he put a soda in my hand and sat me down on the couch between Doug and Adam. I drank one can of Coke, and watched as the boys and Uncle Steve finished off several pitchers of soda. Finally, I was able to get to bed. It had been an unbelievable day and night.
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