But Who Emancipated Abe Lincoln?

Well, the awkward truth is, my brother and I did. Abe was held captive, in a metaphorical sense, sort of.

It would probably be less embarrassing to not relate the event, but it was rather funny.

Our family made a trip to Uncle Buddy and Aunt Joyce's house. That was my dad's uncle and aunt. I don't remember where they lived, only that it was a longish drive. I seem to recall we were there to watch a launch or recovery of one of the Apollo space crafts. Since our family didn't have a TV, we went to someone else's house for such events.

I always felt like we were intruding on a sanctuary when our family invaded a home that did not have kids our age. Everything seemed too fragile and too in-place to have our pack of wolves roaming around in it.

We must have had dinner with them, it was a long time ago and I don't actually remember. I do remember the pond.

It was 1969 or 70-ish, I suppose, and a cement backyard pond with a stone waterfall was in vogue with middle class, redneck, working folks. At least in Texas it was a popular yard ornament. Uncle Buddy had one such pond, and lacking other suitable entertainment, it became an instant attraction for my brother and me.

In the interminable time between eating and watching the scheduled historical event, we messed about in that pond like we were miners. It must have been winter as there was no water. But Uncle Buddy's pond had something we could only have dreamed of. It had pennies bedded in the cement.

It probably took us two minutes to find a few loose pennies and earn ourselves a reprimand from dad. Uncle Buddy, on the other hand, seemed to be amused by our infatuation with the few petty coins. He said, “Those boys can have any pennies that are loose enough to come out.” That quote has hibernated for nearly fifty years, so it may not be exact. But it sure put us to work.

I have no idea how long it took us to pry out the loose coins, but we got every single penny out of that pond! Every coin is a loose coin if you work at it long enough. And there, somewhere in Texas, Abe Lincoln was emancipated by our patriotic persistence.

I presume we got into trouble for that stunt. I also presume the adults had a great deal of amusement about it. At the moment it seemed like the most logical way to get a couple of bucks. I think Uncle Buddy should have known better, after all we were kin.