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Brought up Aug 25, 2014

Goodbye, part 3

We buried my uncle yesterday, his body was placed beside our beloved aunt.

After a lot of soul searching, I finally realized why his death hit me in such an odd way.

It was the end of an era in our family. It was the final chapter of my happy times of childhood.

You see, as a child, there was a magic to the holidays, and certain times of the year when my aunt Bobbie Jo and Uncle Jimmy Joe, her husband we just buried, and my mom's oldest brother, Roy Wayne, came home to visit.

They would drive down from Illinois, usually bearing gifts of some sort, and fireworks. At that time, fireworks were not sold in this state. My uncles and aunt would come through Kentucky, where fireworks were sold, and buy all sorts of things that smoked, boomed and shot off pretty colors.

In an early hint of my eclectic, conflicted tastes, I liked the Roman Candles, with their colors zooming into the air; I loved the little things that would whistle as they zoomed around the yard 'chasing' us; And my most favorite, the little black blobs that did nothing but make a snake when you lit it.

Those were days when our grandmother's house was full of laughter, Uncle Roy's wonderful voice booming through it all. Aunt Bobbie and Uncle Joe would sometimes go to his mom and dad's for a few nights, a few nights at our grandmother's. When they were there, there would be all night Rummy games, crazy stories told, and still, the laughter and fireworks.

Uncle Roy died my Freshman year of high school.

The fireworks stopped coming. The laughter dimmed. I don't think any of us really got over losing our adored uncle, brother, son, especially Aunt Bobbie.

I stopped liking fireworks.

Aunt Bobbie and Uncle Joe still visited, then retired back down here, coming 'home' for good. The bought a wonderful little house with it's own pond. My children adored fishing off it's deck, though they were disappointed that Uncle Joe insisted the small ones be put back in the pond. We laughed at his battle with the 'Big One' that seemed to be eating the small ones. He finally caught the thing, even had his picture in the paper with the monster.

We lost Aunt Bobbie 16 years ago. I don't recall much of that time, actually. I just vaguely remember breaking down, possibly screaming, as her body was loaded into the hearse for that last ride.

Uncle Joe was the last of the bunch. Yesterday, as I watched the flag being folded from his casket, Taps being played, rifles booming, I realized that the last of the bunch had left us with only memories. There would be no more crazy stories, told first hand.

Sure, my mom has some of the memories, as she and I lived in Illinois, with or near Aunt Bobbie and Uncle Joe, when I was small. Apparently some of my first words were "Dobbie Do(e)" and "Dimmie Doe."

After the funeral, before the casket was closed, we said our last goodbyes to our uncle's body. I kissed his cold forehead, and whispered to him, "Goodbye, Dimmie Doe. Give that kiss to Aunt Bobbie for me."

I know that body did not hear me. My uncle is not there anymore. Still, I believe somewhere, those three are with their mothers and fathers, my little niece, Uncle Joe's brother, and all our other loved ones who have passed from this life to the next.

I also believe that Uncle Joe heard me and smiled, maybe leaned over and kissed Aunt Bobbie for me.

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Mark » 3 years ago

A touching remembrance and tribute to good folks that had a positive impact in a child's life. You have honored them with your words. I'm thankful that you had them in your life and still have them in your heart.