Sunday, December 24, 2006

Nuke Watcher Remembers Uncle Al

[Religionists usually have a put down on what they call "ancestor worship". This has always puzzled me, as the heart of religion is rememberance. Today is Christmas Eve and we remember the birth of the baby Jesus -- and, in so doing, whether we realize it or not, we celebrate the birthing of all babies. Today's post is taken from a comment by my cousin Nuke Watcher and is dedicated to the rememberance of our Uncle Al.]

There came a knock at my Mother's door.

It was in the summer of 1973 and there stood my Uncle Al. The look in his eyes and the suitcase in hand, was all one needed to see.

"Uncle Al, come in, come in…. Mom… Mom, Uncle Al is here!"

Mom came running in from the back yard and she took his hand, as I took his suitcase and we walked into the living room. He was bent over and sadden, by the events that were going on in his life. A man broken by the weight of losing those things he had worked so hard to build up.

I remembered that as we were growing up, having a father who was schizoid and abusive to his wife and children, a man who also left us high and dry on more than one occasion. Uncle Al would send Mom money for food and clothes, rent -- we were his church and his place of tithing.
When Grandmom Watson died in the summer of '57, we finally packed up and moved to our new home on the Westside of Poosah City, from the cold and intrepid main street of Epworth Iowa -- and even then, Uncle Al sent what he could to help us make ends meet.
When he showed up at the door, Mom was not really surprised, she just knew her home was now her big brother's home, for as long as it needed to be.

In time Aunt Ruth, Uncle Troy, all worked together and found Uncle Al a place of his own in the Riverside Area of Poosah City. He would join in on family get-togethers for Thanksgiving, birthdays, Christmas -- whenever the occasions would allow.

I had been dodging the draft through the help of the Army National Guard from 1966 to 1972 and was working to find work where ever I could in Poosah City. My wife was at the time pregnant with my first daughter Parrish -- it didn't leave me much time to spend around the family as much as I should/would have.

That war of the 60's took its toll even here, with disrupting lives. Watching kids die at Kent State, did not help the war effort, or myself either.

The one thing I could do was imitate his wonderful laugh. I'm blessed with perfect pitch and my imitations of singers and show biz personalities, always kept the family amused at the dinner table, so Uncle Al's laugh was easy for me… part of the Cliff gene made it a cinch to do. I still do it today and the current generation still remembers Al and his wonderful laugh.

Uncle Al died in 1976.

Aunt Ruth had stopped by to visit Al. "Ruth my neck is bothering me, would you mind giving it a rub", he asked. According to Aunt Ruth, she massaged his shoulders and the back of his neck and that's when Uncle Al left this life. Ruth did what she could for her brother, but he was gone and what had happened was a blood clot had left his neck and went to his brain.

When I walked into the funeral parlor where Uncle Al was laid out, he had on a nice brown suit, with a shirt and tie. Martha, my new wife saw Al and started to cry. I thought it strange, as she did not know him that well, but, like so many others, had an instant liking for him.

The service was the same that was used for my mother 9 years later and the song that was sung was, "I Come To The Garden Alone". Al was buried on the Westside of the city. I guess its time to stop by and sit awhile and have a laugh or two with Al.

Its also time for the kids to know who their great Uncle Al was.

2 comments:

NUKE WATCHER said...

Thank you, you Crazy Bird, for making this a special occasion this Christmas.

With the insidious application made toward X-MAS here in the U.S. of Amnesia, it is compounded by a demonic TV commercial, showing, a 6 year old boy, screaming at two octaves above deafening, while opening a X-MAS present..... Then comes the hook, a fuggin BMW car commercial, linked to the intro / attention grabber, using this stem cell, off his Rettailin dosage's,simply to get someone to run out and make your lease / purchase today!!

I simply love the fact that you, Sunflower Woman and and the Sunflower Seeds, are able to enjoy the family together, for the three days and not have to be tormented by the media machine. Simple enough, I just will turn off "The Box" and say focused on getting things in place here, as the kids and folks start the holiday simply, by coming by and sharing food, drink and boosting the spirit, as we talk about the present, reflect on the past and share the dreams of our future.

Peace and Joy to you and all the readers of the Crazy Bird and may we find some of the answers, to the questions we raise in 2007.

.Nuke Watcher

Chuck Cliff said...

And a merry X-mas to you, Nuke Watcher. We're kind of laid back here right now. The pork roast is in the oven and the rind will hopefully be crisp.

It's a shock for Americans when they are stranded here -- there are two holidays when the country kind of closes down -- X-mas and Easter -- o yeah, also Whitsun.

Right now, you probably couldn't even buy gas for your car! The country just closes shop and we have JUL! (Yule)