I’ve been blogging about my recent trip to Uganda, but I’m taking a side trip today. Last week we lost my uncle George and I cannot go forward without saying a few words about him and my time in Alabama for his funeral.
I have so many great memories of my Uncle George. When I was a teenager he taught me how to drive stick on his old Datsun (yeah, before it was Nissan…I am that old) pickup truck in his cow pasture. As if my stalling the thing out every 50 feet was not entertaining enough, there was the hilarity of watching startled cows bolt for their lives as I bounced us all around the field.
Among the herd he owned when I was younger there was a bull that was pretty gentle, as bulls go anyway. I think I was about 5 or 6 the time Uncle George got the idea to try to have me ride Mr. Bull. Since he was not much for standing still near a bunch of people, George picked me up and trotted beside the bull while trying to place me on his back. I don’t actually remember how that ended. Not in the ER or anything, but I don’t think the bull was having it.
I took Joel to Alabama when he was a toddler and of course we had to take him to see the cows. This time though, Uncle George had a new shiny blue New Holland tractor he wanted me to drive. Yes, I stalled it out about ten times before I got going. Yes, the cows were unnerved. But my crowning achievement of that day was sinking ankle deep in a pile of chicken manure that I mistook for asphalt.
If you’re noticing a bovine theme here, you’re not wrong. George enjoyed having cattle. He even had them trained to come for chow when he honked his horn. After George was unable to care for them, my cousins tried to keep up for as long as they could, just for him.
George was the uncle who always said to me, “You just get prettier every time I see you.” He was the uncle whose lap I wanted to snuggle on at night before bed. The only time I remember him saying no to me was that time I asked him to pick the seeds out of my blackberry pie (in my defense, I was four).
He suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease for seventeen years before he passed. That illness is one that makes me want to kick Satan’s teeth in. The last time I saw Uncle George he had no idea who I was. There is some kind of irony in the fact that I have so many great memories of him, but in the end he had no memories of his loved ones.
But at his funeral service there was not a lot of sadness. He was so well-loved by so many people (the church was P. A. C. K. E. D.). It was a joy to be there with all my extended family and to see the the family legacy he and my Aunt Lou Ann built. If I went on about all that this blog post would be a short book.
We are missionaries with Engineering Ministries International, based in Colorado Springs, and traveling around the globe to serve.
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