“That was Pongo Twistleton. He’s all broken up about his Uncle Fred.”
“No such luck. Coming up to London again tomorrow. Pongo had a wire this morning.”
P.G. Wodehouse – Uncle Fred Flits By
26 July is Aunt and Uncle Day apparently.
The nub of the thing, I gather, is to commemorate the wonderful aunts and uncles in our lives. A nice idea, but it’s not an occasion I’m familiar with and I have no idea how it’s celebrated. A family dinner might be fitting. You could write or call them to say hello — or even send flowers.
Or you could try the P.G. Wodehouse method. Wodehouse created a memorable cast of aunts and uncles in his works, and it’s generally believed that he drew his inspiration from life. One can only imagine how his relations felt about being immortalised in this way.
My friends at the Fans of PG Wodehouse Facebook group have helped me compile a few favourite quotations on the subject for your enjoyment. They come with a warning – be cautious before sharing them with your own aunts and uncles.
From The Inimitable Jeeves
As a rule, you see, I’m not lugged into Family Rows. On the occasions when Aunt is calling Aunt like mastodons bellowing across premieval swamps and Uncle James’s letter about Cousin Mabel’s peculiar behaviour is being shot round the family circle (‘Please read this carefully and send it on Jane’) the clan has a tendency to ignore me.
It was my Uncle George who discovered alcohol was a food well in advance of modern medical thought.
From The Mating Season
On the cue ‘five aunts’ I had given at the knees a trifle, for the thought of being confronted with such a solid gaggle of aunts, even if those of another, was an unnerving one. Reminding myself that in this life it is not aunts that matter, but the courage that one brings to them, I pulled myself together.
As far as the eye could reach, I found myself gazing on a surging sea of aunts. There were tall aunts, short aunts, stout aunts, thin aunts, and an aunt who was carrying on a conversation in a low voice to which nobody seemed to be paying the slightest attention.
From Uncle Fred and the Springtime
His Uncle Alaric’s eccentricities were a favourite theme of conversation with Horace Davenport, and in Pongo he had always found a sympathetic confidant, for Pongo had an eccentric uncle himself. Though hearing Horace speak of his Uncle Alaric and thinking of his own Uncle Fred, he felt like Noah listening to someone making a fuss about a drizzle.
From The Code of the Woosters
It is no use telling me there are bad aunts and good aunts. At the core, they are all alike. Sooner or later, out pops the cloven hoof.
From Right-Ho, Jeeves
Uncle Tom, who always looked a bit like a pterodactyl with a secret sorrow.
From Extricating Young Gussie
There are some things a chappie’s mind absolutely refuses to picture, and Aunt Julia singing ‘Rumpty-tiddley-umpty-ay’ is one of them.
From Jill the Reckless
“Barker!” [Freddie’s] voice had a ring of pain.
“Poached egg, sir.”
Freddie averted his eyes with a silent shudder.
“It looks just like an old aunt of mine,” he said.
From Barmy in Wonderland
She was looking more and more like an aunt than anything human. In his boyhood he had observed platoons of his aunts with their features frozen in a similar rigidity.
From Uncle Dynamite
“And that’s not all. Who has the star bedroom? Me? No! Uncle Aylmer. Who collars the morning paper? Me? No! Uncle Aylmer. Who gets the brown egg at breakfast?”
“Don’t tell me. Let me guess. Uncle Aylmer?”
“Yes. Blast him!”
And finally, from: Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen
I took a deep breath. It was some small comfort to feel that she was at the end of a telephone wire a mile and a half away. You can never be certain what aunts will do when at close quarters.
And there are plenty more where these came from.