Saturday, October 02, 2010
Saying goodbye to Uncle Joe.
He was my father-in-law's "little" brother. They were tall. Like "how do I hug them?" tall. My father-in-law, Eldon, was 6 foot 6 or 6 foot 7, at that height i couldn't see up there anyway so I'm not really sure. Tall was (and is) their family's "thing."
I'm pretty sure they were each other's favorite brothers out of the 4 boys in their family. (I think they all doted on their beautiful little sis, Mary.) I remember many stories of the boys' escapades when they were kids, crazy stuff like hunting skunks with pop-guns. Country living is so far from my upbringing in Portland, Oregon that I was always fascinated. I mean, the only wildlife I saw was some of the neighborhood kids, and they'd be a much safer bet to hunt with a pop-gun.
As adults they stayed good friends, and I would hear stories of Uncle Joe's clothing factory from my in-laws. We still have an old platform rocker from my side of the family that I slipcovered in sturdy suit fabric brought home to me probably 25 years ago from Joe's wife, Pat. She had her own business running a fabric outlet of leftover fabrics from the factory. (I only wish I could still fit into the coat they sent home to me at the same time!)
My father-in-law meant a lot to me. He was kind and loving to me, and would do things with me he wouldn't with my mother-in-law, like shop or eat tuna sandwiches. He sat with me in silent support through the years of my miscarriages, he helped us build our second story house addition, he called my m-i-l's peanut brittle "peanut brutal" and tuna sandwiches "cat food" sandwiches, but he'd eat them if I made them. And he absolutely without a doubt loved his grandkids.
His brother Joe was that same sort of person. Unfortunately I didn't get to know him very well, but when I saw him a few years back, he was the same kind of sit-down-and-chat guy that my father-in-law was. He had a ready smile and an accepting heart. He had the same sparkle in his eye, and oh he made me miss my father-in-law.
When my hubby and I visited the Alabama family just a few months ago, I got to see him with his great-grandkids--and I loved it. Again, it brought me back to memories of my father-in-law graciously letting my children and foster children use him as a climbing wall. The two brothers shared a lot in their attitude toward little ones and in their quiet faith in God. And if anything, Uncle Joe was even more of a family man.
This is why I know that Joe will be so missed by his wife, his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other family and friends. As much as I miss my father-in-law, I have a fair sense of the loss Uncle Joe's home-going to heaven will mean to those still stuck on the ground who loved him.
Goodbye, Uncle Joe. We will miss you.