For Friday, October 21, 2011
My children have their favorites. Although they love and enjoy all the members of their extended family very much, Uncle Joel on Eric’s side of the family and Uncle John on my side of the family each have cemented the role of being “favorite uncles”. It is easy to see why when they get together with us. Each is lovingly childish--playful, antagonistic, silly, bratty, and incredibly entertaining.
Uncle Don lost Aunt Glenice to cancer when I was just six years old. Being so young I only remember her faintly but I very much remember traveling to Pennsylvania to attend her funeral. Uncle Don was then left to raise four young children. A meteorologist for NASA, Uncle Don’s life became most challenging, but somehow he managed to continue coming to Maine for those summer vacations. And never did he stop making us laugh.
Whenever I try to explain my Uncle Don’s jokester personality I struggle to find the right comedian to compare him too. Don Knotts? No. Jerry Lewis? No. Red Skelton? No. But there was something about Uncle Don’s sense of humor and use of corny old jokes that likens him to an old time comedian of yesteryear. I sadly don’t remember specific jokes that he told me, but the playfulness in his eyes, the way his head and shoulders would shake as he’d laugh...I will never forget my joy at watching him tell his jokes.
Uncle Don passed away last night at the age of 81. He was two weeks shy of his 82nd birthday. When I heard the news my eyes filled with tears and yet I thought of how nice it was that he could finally reunite with Aunt Glenice. I am sure they have a lot to catch up on. Uncle Don raised four children and their devotion to him in his aging years is proof enough of what a good father he was. I’m going to miss my Uncle Don but I am going to hold on to some very beautiful memories of the man he was and the amazing way he lived his life. He faced the challenges of life with great courage and never without a few jokes to bring us to laughter.
I am so very blessed to have had these two favorite uncles in my life. I plan to send a note off to Uncle Tom to tell him how much he means to me and you can be sure I will get on my knees to say prayers for Uncle Don. I want also to take a moment to say thank you to Joel and John for giving my children the attention they do, for their playfulness and for the laughter and joy they bring to us all.