Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Uncle Tony

My Uncle Tony, Lord rest him, has gone to God. 
He was a gem of a man - the patriarch of the family (big brother to a dozen siblings, including my mom!) when his own father died. A man of good humor, constancy and a great appreciation for life! He is threaded through my childhood memories.
He taught me to value curiosity:
He worked in the steel mills and his garage/workshop was scattered with magnets - magic for any child.  We could search out magnetic bits in the dirt like treasure hunters!  He knew how to play, explore, wonder.  Introducing us to magnets was to make of us appreciative explorers of the mysteries before us.

He taught me how to pluck a chicken:
A sight and experience I recall, but not pleasantly, so I will spare you the details...
He taught me to while away an afternoon in a backyard hammock:
I must have complained of 'nothing to do' because he led me to the backyard with great sobriety, to a hammock on a stand in the shade, and he lay down with me beside him.  Will you look at those branches.  We chatted awhile, and he told me this was a good thing to do when I didn't know what to do, just to lie here and look, to think about anything or nothing at all.  Then he went back into the house.  But he took the time to teach me a valuable lesson firsthand.  And he got me out of his hair!
He taught me to hang out in the kitchen for the latest scoop:
He was always there.  Sitting at the kitchen table, or standing with a dishtowel in hand.  He'd quietly laugh at the things he heard, a good listener.  Unobtrusive, he got all the juicy details.  He'd watch me, watching him, chin on the table, let me stay until the conversation took some turn and he'd shoosh me out.  I always wondered what it was the grownups talked about that I couldn't hear.  But it didn't bother me.  I just headed out to the hammock...

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