I didn't blog about it before, but I lost my great uncle Elwood a couple of nights ago. I'm not sure what happened. They moved, about six months ago, into an assisted living facility because my uncle wasn't doing too well. He passed on the night before Randi left. I found out about it, but didn't talk much about it with her. I'm very sad to have lost him. I haven't talked to him much lately, as he's mostly deaf, and I couldn't go over there where he could read my lips. I'll miss him though. And (of course) I have a great uncle Elwood story.
In the years that I turned thirteen and fourteen, my parents allowed my grandparents to take me fishing with them to Canada. The first year, Uncle Elwood and Aunt Carol came with us. We had a great time. Uncle Elwood was a great joker, and scared the crap out of me for a few minutes. (Alert!! The following story involves leeches. Just warning you now, so you can skip over this paragraph if you so desire.) There were a bunch of kids there that were close to my age, and had been coming up with their parents for years. There were Tom and Lisa with one family, and then Michelien, Michael, and Jay with the other. It was love at first sight. We'd go out with our respective families during the day to fish, then the men would clean the catch while the women watched us. Then the women would cook while the men watched us. (Sometimes, if the men were on duty, we got to go out and ski. It was awesome!!) Anyways, one night that summer, we all came out of the lake, and I had somehow managed to pick up two leeches. Not knowing anything about them, I calmly picked them off and tossed them. My grandpa and my Uncle Elwood were sitting there near the dock watching. So I come up to them, and my uncle is all concerned. (My grandpa wasn't, which should have been my first clue. They (my grandparents) doted on me, and I on them. So if something was wrong, grandpa should have been worried. But that's neither here nor there.) Uncle Elwood: Saw that you got some leeches. Me: Yep. Uncle Elwood: Too bad Me: What? Uncle Elwood: I was really sorry to see that. Me: What, what (starting to get nervous)? Uncle Elwood: Well........ Me: What is it? Uncle Elwood: (very solemnly) You're gonna die. I laughed so hard I peed myself, y'all. So he kept kidding me about that, joking around with me, until a few days later, when I turned the tables on him. He got a fish hook caught in his hand, and so I started doing the same thing to him. Of course, he knew what I was doing, and he played along, lol. So I kept joking with him and he kept joking with me. So I saw Aunt Carol at the visitation today, and said, "So that fishhook finally got him after all, huh?" And she just laughed with me. So that was nice. I had a quiet moment to say goodbye, and I hope he's at peace. He was a great guy, and was always involved in disaster relief efforts. Katrina was their last big disaster, and after that, his doctor said no more. He was a jokester, always laughing and joking with people. He was one of the nicest people I've ever met. The world lost a great man, and I was lucky enough to know him. I feel bad for his family, but they all seem to be dealing with it well, which is good. So it's a bit of a drag on the soul to know that he's gone... I love you, Uncle Elwood!!
This isn't from our trip to Canada, but Christmas of that year. Aunt Carol and Uncle Elwood in our basement (ignore the awful wallpaper, it was the seventies).