I lost my last uncle yesterday, my mother’s baby brother. He was the last of the family I grew up with; my mother, her sister and five brothers. All gone now. It is sad, but a natural part of life. The older we get, the more it will happen. I’m just trying to deal with my feelings right now, the only way I know how.
When I was born, my mom was in a bad spot, so she let me live with my grandparents in Lucedale, Mississippi until I was around three years old. Uncle Tony lived across the highway with his wife Suzie and their four kids. He was over at my grandparents house the most of my uncles, so we share a special bond. That’s not to say I didn’t love all of my uncles, I did. They each have a place in my heart.
Uncle Tony and I shared a love for music. He used to play the guitar and sing and I would sing (and probably dance as soon as I could) and I always wanted him to play every time I saw him. I believe he smoked a pipe like my grandad, I have a picture of me in the crib breaking one of his smoke rings. If I can find it, I will share it here.
When I got older, we as a family would travel to Lucedale every Thanksgiving for the holiday and kind of family reunion. Us cousins would pick pecans from the orchard and my grandmother would give us a dime a bucket. I’m sure I’ve written of this before. Uncle Tony would play in the evenings, and sing with Aunt Suzie and I would join in, but mostly I loved listening to them sing songs that were funny or sad, it didn’t matter, but of course, I had my requests.
His wife Suzie passed away too young, and uncle Tony remarried a wonderful lady named Tammie who kept him young and busy with their combined family. I don’t know when or if he played very much after that, but the last time I was there that he was well, he didn’t want to play for me any more. I wonder what happened to the music. Some day, maybe Tammie will tell me.
When we went to Lucedale to try and see him one last time, I saw the musical equipment, so I’m guessing he still played occasionally, maybe for church or something, They were very involved with their church and I know he is in Heaven rejoicing with the rest of the family.
I will miss him dearly, and I regret not being able to see him in person when he could talk to me, but I know he knows I was there. I wish I could travel back to Lucedale for the services, but having just been there, and seeing how hard it was on my dad, we will probably not go back at this time. I’m sure they all understand. We will send flowers or make a donation or whatever Tammie prefers.
I wish I had a song or a poem in my head for this man, and maybe when I’m not so emotional and feeling so bad, something will come. For now, I will treasure the memories, look at old pictures, and remember the music. The music that inspired me to learn the guitar, and try (for a while) to become a singer.