Uncle Adam was known as a jokester and at a young age, I thought his favorite ‘target’ was my younger brother and his namesake, Adam. After all. it was Uncle Adam, who persuaded my brother that eating his ‘toe jam,’ would make him grow up strong.
How and why it came up, I don’t know; what I do remember is Uncle Adam convincing my kid brother that Prince Albert lived in a red tobacco tin and needed releasing before he suffocated. It would be a few more years before I learned this tale came from a popular crank call.
“Hello, do you have Prince Albert (a tobacco brand) in a can?” the caller would ask.
“Yes, we do.”
“Go let him out before he suffocates!,” followed by a quick hanging up of the phone.
The following day, Uncle Adam said he was going down to the hardware store, which also double as a sporting good store and a ‘five and dime’ department store. Adam and I begged Uncle to let us go with him, which he said yes too.
As Uncle Adam did his business, I wandered through the aisles, daydreaming about what I’d buy if I had a bunch of money. Finally, finished at the register, Uncle Adam called for us.
Having raced to the front of the store, I waited with Uncle for Adam to appear. Nothing.
After a minute, Uncle Adam, with me tagging behind, went looking for his other nephew. Rounding a corner, seated in the aisle, surrounded by one opened red canister after another was Adam, in the process of searching for Prince Albert, whom he was certain had to be in one of the many tins.