It was a strange day when Uncle T died. It was almost unreal. He was propped up in the corner with a blank look on his face. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was almost like the end of the world had come. I was filled with mixed emotions because it was hard to imagine life without our favorite uncle. You could turn him on day or night and he was always ready to brighten your day. He never seemed to get tired though he worked most of the time. Any one of us could turn him on. He would begin early in the morning and would work late into the night. I believe he would serve us 24 hours a day if we let him. He worked alone sometimes and authorities warned us that his lifetime would be shortened for he was “burning the candle at both ends”.
Come to think of it, in a way I am kind of glad old Uncle T died. He was getting to be a real nuisance at times, in fact most of the time. He would repeat things again and again as if we were “light in the head” and just couldn’t get it. We picked him up off the street when he was thrown out of his former residence. Since we welcomed him into our home, we haven’t had any peace since.
Uncle T was full of stories. He taught us how to fight, dance, use guns and high explosives. His stories about sex really got dirty at times. He would talk about wine, whiskey and beer as if he thought this type of beverage would really be good for us. Once he took us on a tour of the Jack Daniel’s place. I think he knew him personally. Boy, could he smoke. He would puff on cigarettes (all brands), cigars, and even recommended the little short ones that some cowboys used. They didn’t light those, he said. They just kind of chewed on them. He even told us that smoking was bad for our health, so he strongly recommended ‘chewing the stuff’ or buying tobacco that had been ground up into powder. He showed us pictures of high priced ball players that did that. Boy, could they spit!
Sometimes he would embarrass mother in front of us by using language that we thought was pure cussin’. He never apologized. Father was captivated by his knowledge of world affairs. Uncle T would contradict himself at times, but Father didn’t seem to care. He became our household prophet. Many of our habits changed after Uncle T arrived. We stopped going out to visit others, or playing Dominoes or Scrabble or Monopoly. We even started missing church services. I never thought Mother or Father would ever allow anyone us to do anything like that. On Sundays he would preach us a half dozen sermons. That made us feel better and kind of religious. We could just stay at home and still be believers.
It was hard to get a fix on what Uncle T thought. He was both good and bad, right and wrong and sometimes real nice and at other times rude. He could work math and in the same hour show you how to steal and pick pockets. He would sweep us up to the pinnacle of some majestic mountain top and then turn around and show us the dirt, filth, and sin of Skid Row. I guess he was the greatest teacher I ever knew. By the way, he could sell you snowballs in ‘H…’.
Now, Uncle T is dead! It was sad to go to his funeral (actually he was just put out by the side of the curb for the trash man to pick up). The children seem happier kind of like the old days. We have more fun just playing tag or “Bum-bum-bum’ or kick the can in the yard. Last night we played a new game called “May I”. Mother gets her work done better and the food tastes better now that is prepared at home and not just something you buy frozen.
Would you believe it, the do-it-yourself man that lives next door said he could bring Uncle T back to life for just over $100.00. Is he crazy? Perhaps we will have him back someday. In a way we all enjoyed him. But this time, we all promised to monitor what he says and keep him in his place.
I was reading in the scriptures the other day and I just ran across this scripture. “Be careful for nothing (Don’t worry about anything whatever), but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds though Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, and honest, and just, and pure, and lovely, and are of good report, think on these things” (Philippians 4:6-8).
I saw a rich man being buried in a gold Cadillac. They had dug him a huge hole. His will had dictated just what was to be done. They lowered him down with the use of a crane. He was sitting upright, in the driver’s seat.
I thought, “Man, that’s living!”