Once upon a time there was a little girl who had three uncles: The Business Man, The Cowboy and The Hippy and she loved them all and as a little girl, she only knew she loved them but as she grew into an adult she began to understand just how blessed she was to have them, these characters, in her life. They are gone now and she thinks about all of them often but on this day she was just thinking about…
He drank too much, cussed too much, fought too much, married too much and got in way too much trouble. “Life is hard!” And he made it harder (certainly on himself) but man, was he full of life! If it were possible to be so full of life as to be bigger than it, then that’s what he was, bigger than life. Well, certainly, louder than it. Hahahaha! He had one good eye, one re-attached finger (she was always told not to ask) and one bad temper but he also had the love of every person who truly knew him — especially the children. Sure, men were terrified of him as he growled and frothed at the mouth “son of a bit%@!” so that he could set them straight, but all she could do was giggle because she had been given “that wink.” The one that he would give that said, “Don’t worry about what you’re seeing or hearing, I’ve got this under control.”
Married four, no five, times? However many times, it’s safe to say women loved him but clearly being “full of life” means you can also be full of something else but, luckily, young nieces didn’t have to stand in judgement of that. Whew!
Oh and he had the best quotes! Like, “Never follow a snake into its own hole.” That was one of her favorites,
she felt it had served her well her whole life.
Anyway, it had been about fifteen years since she had seen her cowboy uncle when she suddenly found herself with the good fortune to sit down by the lake and talk with him. She didn’t really have the time that day but the opportunity was too great to let any more time pass between them so she sat down. She had thirty minutes — she spent an hour and a half. They shared memories and stories and laughed and cried (he would have said the sun was in his eyes) and sat quietly, grateful for the time together.
The very next day my mother called to tell me that my cowboy uncle had passed away…
Oh how I cried…I cannot begin to tell you but then I looked out onto this lake and the bench we sat on and I knew he’d be here and I knew that’s why he had come the day before and I knew I would be replaying that day and our conversation forever
and all I could hear was his voice in my head saying,…
“Son of a bit%@!” and then “that wink.”
And oh how I laughed…and now I get to raise a cup to him each morning as I can just imagine him sitting on the bench where we sat or cussing the gators or enjoying a sunset in the evenings and it makes me happy.