Friday, February 25, 2011

Quit yer squirming and get in the dang pot!

I'm going to start with my "Uncle Don".  

My stories!?  

You know the one's I promised you.  The one's that were rekindled when my mother, sister and I started reminiscing?!
Those stories that I dangled in front of you and for which you've been waiting with bated breath?

Oh, I see, you're playing it cool, like you're too busy doing other things that you completely forgot.  Okay, I'll play along...

Nevertheless, I do have a story, more like a summary for you about my Uncle Don. 

For starters, he wasn't my uncle.  He was my grandfather.

Actually, he wasn't really my grandfather either, well not by blood at least.

"Uncle Don"  was my "step" grandfather on my maternal side and in every other sense of the word, having never met my "real" grandfather (who was a wonderful and debonair gentleman I am told)  he fit the bill and then some. 

Let me give you a second to comprehend that.  It can be a little confusing.  I won't even get into the explanation behind my mother's "Uncle Brother", not that I could if I tried.

No, we're not from the Deep South.  
Yes, we do have all of our teeth.  
And, "roadkill" is not the meat du jour.  At least not knowingly.  
We just aren't very imaginative when it comes to naming relatives.  

My Uncle Don was my mother's stepfather married to her mother, "Nanny" that I told you about in my last post who would have been 101 this month...remember now?  He was a living saint, a characteristic that was not only commendable, but necessary in order to be married to "Nanny", trust me.  Suffice it to say, they complimented each other which could only be explained by the phrase "opposites attract".  (Either that or the "medal" he wore around his neck was in fact a shock device, we'll never know).

Uncle Don was a man's man.  The type of man that spit nails, ate onions like an apple and could lift two times his body weight, with one hand massaging "Nanny's" bunyons feet.  This manliness naturally made him attractive to the ladies too, minus the onion breath... and maybe the nails.... .  But you get the idea.  He was not only strong but sweet and handsome.  Not in the suave Cary Grant kind of way, more like the macho  John Wayne style, chiseled, broad features and the bow-legged walk.  He sported a buzz cut that I'm certain could have served as a table it was so evenly chopped, flat.  His skin was hardened from all the sun exposure while working in construction and landscaping (and possibly a side effect of the "shock device").  His voice was deep and hoarse from years of smoking, an innocent habit at that time.

He loved to please.  Your wish, was his command.  If it could be done, he would do it.  My mother often tells of stories where she would show him a picture in a magazine of a bookcase, or built in beds and as if by magic they were built.  Only it wasn't magic, it was skill and planning and determination (and quite possibly fear of the wrath o' "Nanny").  All the other men watched in awe, offering their help when they could, but mostly assisting and observing.  I think about him now as I delve out the money to the contractors....

But he wasn't all work..  Nooo, Uncle Don liked to have fun.  I can picture him now.  Everything from the beret on his head, to the Charlie Sheen style shirt, to his slacks, shoes and socks ALL THE SAME EXACT COLOR! and real colors! like yellow and red... I'd see that now on a man and probably laugh, but on him, back then, I smiled.  Every time.   I think I would have been disappointed if one day he didn't match.  

And he did this dance.  I can close my eyes and still envision it.  Not sure I can do it justice with words.  Kind of like a shuffle-boogie-two-step, that only he could do.  And we laughed.  With him.  Not at him.    It was as though someone was cracking a whip at him and he had to jump to avoid it ...... hmmmmmmmmmmmm. 

Uncle Don  had that kind of invincible Popeye strength that made it even harder to believe when he had died.  But he left an impression so strong you can't help but smile at his thought! ;)


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