Thursday, April 05, 2007

My Uncle Jim

I forgot to say. When we visited my uncle he told us to look through the house and take whatever we wanted. He told me that last year, and I dutifully looked into the china cabinet, but I knew what I wanted wasn't in there.

This year when he said the same thing I asked about Aunt Delores' cedar chest. I didn't want the chest but I wanted some letters that were inside. She had some special letters in there that she read to me when I was 16 and I spent the night at their house. It's a sweet memory of mine. I found out the cedar chest was given to my own dad, then I remembered my dad already told me he had it but I had forgotten, but Uncle Jim said that it had been emptied of its contents before my dad got it! I don't know now where those letters are that she read aloud to me. Someone got them I think, but will they love them as much as I would have?

But ever since last year, I knew what I wanted of my Uncle Jim's but I was too shy and hesitant to ask. I wanted his book of prayers. He prays. He's Catholic and a strong believer. I think he had a near-death experience once. I heard about it but have not built up the courage to ask him about it, firsthand, myself. I better hurry up on account of he's 80 going on 81 years old!

This year I did it. When he asked what I wanted I told him I knew exactly what I wanted and that it wasn't in the china cabinet. I told him I wanted the white book of epistles he had when Aunt Delores passed on and we were at her funeral. Well, I have a pretty poor memory. It's not a book of epistles and it ain't white. I'm such a ditz. But he knew what I was talking about. He has a thoroughly well worn book of prayers that Aunt Delores gave him in 1951. He said, okay, I could have it, but just not yet. Haha! Of course not yet (insert uncomfortable Liliana here). He reads it a lot you know. Then I said, because I'm thinking ahead, "Uncle Jim, how will I get it when you're gone because someone else will take it and not know you said it's for me." And he said, "How about if I write inside of it that it's for you?" I said that would work. That would be good. I love my Uncle Jim. I love him more than I ever thought I did. He's a good guy. He's always been funny and a joke teller. Once I asked Aunt Delores why she didn't laugh at Uncle Jim's jokes because I thought he was hilarious, and she said because she already knew all his jokes by heart. Haha! I imagine she did. Now I understand, since I'm married 22 years and she was married for fifty.

Uncle Jim called me 'hon' last time we visited. He's never done that before. He said the years between 47 (my age) and 80 pass very, very quickly. I was trying to sound worldly and I said, "Oh yeah?" He said, "Hon, I know it does."

I'll be mighty lucky if I ever see 80. Mighty lucky.