Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Putrid & Pungent Pork

This is the sort of story I'd like to have saved for a Family Saturday/Sunday post, but since I need a "P" column for the A-Z Challenge on Tuesday, it'll fit here just fine. The tale is a humorous tidbit involving my late-uncle, Stephen K. Alexander.

Back in the summer of 1997, Stephen was living across the street, in a house owned by my grandmother and her infamous lover Ed Lewis. My uncle was never the neatest person in the world, and going into the place was like walking into the bedroom of a rowdy teenager, with clothes and dirty dishes all over the place. The clutter made it easy to lose objects within the building.

The small house was hot and miserable in the summer months, but on top of the heat in '97, there arose a stench. The recognizable smell of rotting meat filled the air whenever you'd enter the building, and at first Stephen assumed there had to be a dead animal somewhere. A raccoon or porcupine had crawled into the walls and died, he presumed. But try as he may, the source of the putrid scent could not be discovered. It got so bad, he had to flee for several days, and slept on our guest bed during his exile.

The answer finally revealed itself to him one day, as he ventured back into the reeking house to pick through his belongings. There, in the corner of his bedroom, was a bag of groceries he'd set down a month ago. Inside was a pack of pork spareribs, all brown and festering in the most grotesque way imaginable. Thus, the mystery of the rotten smell was solved, and after a few days of open doors and windows, the house was once more livable.

Stephen K. Alexander
Circa 1989

In the aftermath of the horrific event, I remember him joking with my parents about what a great tidbit this event would make for a comedy show. He thought it was even worthy of Seinfeld, though I don't think he ever wrote to anyone about it. Just remember, if you ever see a scene in a movie or tv show about a slob leaving meat lying around to rot, my uncle could have been the source!

That was Stephen toward the end; careless and slovenly, though he was a highly-skilled Chiropractor, and remained extremely personable.  He was a charming sort, who could fit in anywhere and make friends with anyone, though the demons of his past haunted him to the end.

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