The Story of Uncle Rob and the Bobcat
A Digital ExtraBy Charles Canady
During a front porch fiddle session, I asked my father to recall the story of Uncle Rob and his pigs. The scratching on the violin came to a halt as he sat back and tilted his head as if entering a story-telling time machine. His voice tone changed to one in story-mode, with his voice ringing loud calling like a dinner bell over a smooth, southern drawl.
“Old Uncle Rob Carter, that’s my grandmother’s brother, and his wife, Jody, used to raise pigs on their farm. When Rob’s sow would have babies, a bobcat would get into the pen and eat his piglets. One day, Uncle Rob got up early before dawn and told Jody, ‘I’m going down to the pen to see if I can’t catch that bobcat in the act and stop’em from killing my pigs.’ Sometime about 9 a.m. that morning, Aunt Jody was on the front porch and saw Uncle Rob from a distance walking up the path to their house in a kind of stagger. Uncle Rob was carrying a bobcat in his arms and clutching it tight to his chest. She could see blood pouring down his arms and running off both elbows.”
Aunt Jody called to him, “What in the world do you got?”
Rob yelled back, “Well, I caught that bobcat that was eat’n the pigs.”
“I see,” said, Jody. “You need me to go help you hold ’em?”
“Hell no,” replied Uncle Rob, “I want you to help me turn ’em loose.”
My father laughed and instantly went back to sawing on his fiddle as if that particular tune accompanied the story. Maybe the story triggered a memory of how to play that particular melody, one that since had been forgotten and resurrected like the story itself. I listened to the tune and began to imagine that bobcat in Uncle Rob’s arms…
READ MORE: This Digital Extra is an addition to the author’s full story on his father’s fiddle playing and yarn-spinning.