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When that phone rings...

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posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 02:39 PM
link 11:00 at night, you know it's not good news.

The news wasn't good. Not completely unexpected, as he was 92, and in poor health, my Uncle Fred had passed.

He was, without hope of contradiction, the favorite Uncle. Lifelong bachelor, there's a story there, one that only his brothers know, and they told no one. I have an idea...but I never had the balls to ask.

He served during the latter part of WWII, got drafted, served for two years then was let loose. Went back to lumberjacking, later worked as a shift foreman for a local lumber mill. One of my earliest memories of him, we were headed to a family reunion at grandpas and his place on top of a mountain equal distance from Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood, and we stopped at his job site to check with him about something or other...I didn't care, I was 4, I think...anyway, he saw Dad pull up in our ubiquitous VW bus, with it's various military base stickers, and drove up in this, to me anyway, humongous forklift loaded with lumber.

He was a short, stocky man, who could lift the world, were he so minded. After my Dad, he is the one man I admired most in this world. As a kid, I don't think I was ever happier than when I got to spend time with both of them at the same time. I spent several summers "helping" him, though hindering was probably closer to the truth that first summer... I learned what a days work was. That first summer, I learned to bail hay, and throw it onto a trailer, or into the back of a truck. The second, third, and fourth summers I spent mending fences. Just the three of us, me, myself, and I. Load up the truck with a chainsaw, gas/oil, post hole digger, couple rolls of barbed wire, and off I'd go, while he did other things around the mountain. Cut up 8' cedar fence posts, set 'em in preservative for a few days, dig a two foot hole, plant 'em, string the wire--repeat 'til the job was done, or school started back up...

The trust that that revealed I don't think I ever thanked him for. He trusted me to do the job, and do it right. Those summers remain some of the greatest times of my life. I was, to coin a phrase, somewhat spoiled/sheltered from the realities of life--even as a late teen. Those summers and the first couple of years in Alaska worked something of a miracle. He played a major, major roll in that, perhaps even more than my parents--who, truth to tell, were about out of patience with a certain young idjit (waving slowly). I sure that that frustration played a major roll in my doing those summers. He'd either cure me, or kill me...

My other memories are of holidays, Christmas in particular... He'd spend it with his big brother, and his family. Every year, he'd bring the Christmas tree--every year it seemed better than the last--and on Christmas Eve, it'd be put up and decorated. After the ornaments were hung, he and Dad would hang the tinsel strands. Again, some of the best memories of my life.

Amazing how many of those memories revolve around a single man.

I'm forever indebted to him for the major roll he played in my life. As I said above, I have had two major male influences in my life, my Dad, and his oldest brother. They didn't tell me how to be a man, they showed me--by living their lives, mostly, on their own terms--beholden to none.

My father is gone on to where I can't follow, just yet. So, too, my mother. Now, my favorite Uncle.

The funeral will, I'm sure, bring many of my generation of the family together, probably one last time, barring some sort of miracle.

My love and affection are boundless, but my respect and admiration, even more so. Rest Well, Uncle, from a life well lived. May God grant you the peace you've earned. Thank you for putting up with a brat, and helping set him on a better path.

A life well lived.

Son. Brother. Uncle. Teacher.

Thank you. For everything.

In remembrance, I'd ask you to share memories of your own families. It seems appropriate.

posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 02:47 PM
What a great tribute to what sounds like a great man

Up to you now to be as good as your father and uncle Fred which I'm sure you will.
RIP Fred.
I cried at work today due to showing a service user the intro to thundercats which my brother and I watched as a kid, it just brought back memories....
He drowned back in 96 h e was the dude.

posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 03:08 PM
I had a couple of really great uncles and a great father too. Most all my aunts and uncles were really good people. I am now on the chopping block, all my aunts and uncles are gone along with my parents.

I am glad to have been able to share my life with all of them.

Sorry to hear about your Uncle dying, hopefully he did not have a rough life in the end.
edit on 7-6-2018 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 05:15 PM
a reply to: seagull

That was a beautiful tribute, Seagull. Sounds like he was a gem and a unique man! And it sounds like you were a smart kiddo, for recognizing the good things in him and taking them on. Most teens are brats and idiots at some point, but not all of them will be deep enough to recognize a good influence when it's in front of them and learn from it. You did, which speaks well of you as well as your Uncle. I pray for your family's comfort and healing during this time.

My brother-in-law was 53 years old and died almost a year ago, of brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme), but I was closer to him than I have ever been to my older brother. My brother-in-law came into my life when I was eight years old when he and my sister, who was 18, started dating. I cannot recall a single unkind word, look, glance, action, anything- to me in the entire time I knew him. he was so wonderful to me; my sister (his wife) and I have always been very close, so there were so many times over the years that he shelled out to fly me down to visit them, or fly her up to visit me. He was like that with everyone though. They had to hold his funeral in the town's high school auditorium, which was packed, both levels, because he was one of those guys who was so genuine and did everyone right. He provided for his wife and children and even, sometimes, he provided also for members of my family and for members of his own family.

We only had 4 months left with him after we out-of-the-blue discovered the brain tumors. He could do less and less each week, as the tumors had done so much damage (grapefruit sized) by the time we found out. At one point, he had to have a feeding tube, because he couldn't swallow effectively. He was at home at this point, and I'll never forget this moment. He was in his recliner, and my sister and I were tending to his feeding tube; we needed to clean the area of the stomach where the tube entered, and clean and flush the outer part of the tube as well. We were so clutzy, she and I. We just could NOT get the valve to close where it was supposed to close, so that when we tried to flush a little water through, it kept spouting back out. It would spray up into his face, it sprayed down his side, it sprayed on his shirt and got that wet....we made such a mess of that! She and I are bent over him, and talking back and forth with "Well, this button is supoosed to be in THIS position, see?" and "No, I SWEAR the nurse said its supposed to go here" etc, chirping the while time and making a mess. We could get on his nerves sometimes, my sister and I, when we got to talking excitedly to eachother about things and would get louder and louder. He would say something like "you sisters! Sheesh!" with a smile and then would just leave the room. I realized after a few minutes that we were doing that same chirping talking that normally annoyed him, and I glanced up at him and he just had his eyes closed and was smiling softly. I said "Oh my gosh, you must want to leave the room and get away from us so badly right now!" and he smiled bigger, right into my eyes and then shook his head no. My sister said something to him about us crazy bats or something and he chuckled and went back to having his eyes closed and relaxed while we messed this tube thing up for the 10th time.

It struck me hard then, how he was now just clued in to things that truly matter. He didn't even care that we were making a mess or chattering out of control. He was happy we were spending time together, all of us.

We miss him SO much. It will be a year, next month, and it still doesn't seem real, because it just doesn't make sense without him around. The hole he leaves is so huge that it seems endless. I am grateful for every second I had with him.

Thanks for sharing about your uncle! And thank you for inviting us to share- what a nice idea. My thoughts are with you and your family and may you all feel peace and healing.

posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 06:01 PM
I envy you. I never had an Uncle that I was that close to. He must have been one hellava guy.

posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 06:27 PM
a reply to: seagull

Thank you for sharing.
Memento Mori

posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 06:48 PM
That was a nice tribute and story. I have nothing like it to share. You were blessed.

posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 07:51 PM
a reply to: seagull
Sorry about your loss.

posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 08:26 PM
a reply to: seagull

So sorry for your loss.

posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 09:36 PM
a reply to: seagull

Beautiful. And you realize how lucky you were to have these people in your life...and now the memories!

posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 11:30 PM
a reply to: seagull

it is hard to say something other that i understand how you feel, i've been through that a few times already and i just would like to say that you should be proud and happy and don't let them be forgotten because people like this is the best of life and you got to have them in your life

i had an uncle like this too, he passed away a few years ago before i ever got a chance to know how to show him how much i admired and apreciated him. Same thing happened with my grandma and grandpa I wish i had been able to spend more time with them and know how to show them how i felt but i did not know

I'm sorry for your lose. You have all the valuable memories and we should not give them up ever, to keep them always alive and make them proud of us

I love how he was strong and pure and wise, just like my grandpa was to me in the time i was close, he seems so much alike i can feel admiration for your uncle because i have known people like him, not a lot of man are like this

< 3

edit on 7-6-2018 by WarriorMH because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 8 2018 @ 05:34 AM
You were certainly blessed and you know it-that's the amazing part. So many people don't recognize their blessings.

The memories will last and I bet you are so much like them and they passed it on. Your words speak your heart-and they are mighty.

So sorry for your tremendous loss but so thankful you shared-reminding us all to appreciate what has been passed down to us.

posted on Jun, 8 2018 @ 12:37 PM
a reply to: seagull

rip to uncle Fred and my condolences to your family.

The dead are doing just fine, it's us who have to suffer, and do so in their absence, without any further assistance from them. It's tough. That doesn't negate his suffering or accomplishments, I just want you to remember to also think of yourselves.

posted on Jun, 8 2018 @ 02:22 PM
Thank you, all of you.

Means, and will continue to mean, a lot to me that you all took the time to respond.

Thank you!

posted on Jun, 10 2018 @ 05:41 PM
We are all products of those we admire... for good or bad. In this case, it was obviously for the good.

I see no one else has taken the opportunity to mention their memories. Let me start the ball rolling with Uncle Lige.

His real name was Elijah, brother to my grandfather, and almost the spitting image of him. Grandaddy passed on when I was pretty young, but I still remember him. Uncle Lige, on the other hand, lived much longer and I got to know him very well.

He was somewhat of a recluse. He lived on the mountain around here, back in the woods in a little 4-room house. There was no siding; only the blackboard from where it was sheathed when built. The yard had a few little patches of grass, all that could grow from the onslaught of his chicken flock. He had a couple of old hound dogs that laid around the yard all day and hardly moved.

To get to his house, one had to go out in the country, turn on a side road that deadended into another side road, turn on that, drive a few miles, then remember which dirt road to turn on. Depending on one's choice, that road would lead to a hayfield, a spot in the woods, or his house. Unless you knew which road was which, there was no indication which road you needed to take. I personally chose the wrong road more times than I can remember.

I know in his youth he was an entrepreneur. He moved out to somewhere in Mississippi and started and ran a country store for many years. He used to regale me with stories about those days, and about his wife who passed on many years earlier. I knew little else about his history, but that seemed enough somehow.

Everyone in the family worried about Uncle Lige living alone so far out - except Uncle Lige of course. He had his .38 under his pillow, a 12-gage pump by the front door, and a freezer full of every type of meat and vegetable you could imagine. Anyone who went hunting would stop by afterwards and drop off a little meat, and everyone with a garden would drop off bags of food for him. Everyone seemed to consider it a mark of honor to help him out, and no one went without help if he knew about it. He didn't even own a car. He drove into town so rarely, that he was happy just asking a neighbor to pick something up for him or for a lift. He maybe saw town once a month at the most. he could drive and could have afforded a nice car; he just didn't see any sense in buying one and letting it sit almost all the time.

We tried hard to get him to move closer to one of us; I even offered to let him build a house on my place, guaranteeing him that he would be left alone as much as he wanted. My place was mostly wooded as well, but closer to family. He actually acted at one point like he was considering it, but never did.

I never knew just how old he was. One day I spent at his house, I asked him how old he was three different times, and got three different answers... all in the 90s. I just figured maybe he didn't know. I still think that.

Before he died, I got to spend a lot of time with Uncle Lige. He refused to let anyone around hunt deer on his land... except me, for some odd reason. So I spent the day up there several times. I'll never forget the day he wanted to show me his property lines so I would know where I could and couldn't go. Back then I was a young strapping redneck in my prime... I could walk anywhere I wanted without stopping, I could push my way easily through the brush around here, and I was pretty darn stout. I would fence and build right alongside my Dad all day and never get winded... heck I worked odd jobs laying block and shingling roofs for extra money. But then this old man took off walking through his woods with me in tow, and a couple hours later I was asking him to slow down because I couldn't keep up!

He, along with Dad, taught me that anything is possible if you just put your mind to it and don't give up.

One day he decided the pain in his stomach was bad enough to go see a doctor, something he never did. The diagnosis was stomach cancer... advanced stomach cancer. The doctor said later that if Uncle Lige had shown up six months sooner, he could have cured him. As it was, it was too far advanced. So after a while, Uncle Lige moved in with his other brother in a nearby town, and they set him up a sickbed. It wasn't long before he was gone.

According to his brother, Uncle Lige died peacefully, with a smile on his face. When he left us, he had his bowl of iced gin with a straw sitting beside him to sip on, had just finished smoking a cigar, and earlier that day had a big plate of fried chicken. He loved all those things.

At the funeral, I finally found out his actual age: he lived to be 99. All but the last few months of that near-century, he was as active as the average 20-year-old. In his honor (and in a little hope that my life will be as full as his), I refuse to remember how old I am. I am 25 years old; I've just been that way a very, very long time.

Thank you seagull, for the chance to stroll down memory lane with you.


posted on Jun, 11 2018 @ 12:49 PM
a reply to: TheRedneck

, brother. Thank, you

I remember you telling me about him during one of our long chats... I'd have loved to have known him.
edit on 6/11/2018 by seagull because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 11 2018 @ 10:27 PM
a reply to: KansasGirl

Thank you for sharing that, and for the sentiments. Much appreciated!

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