Look, I'm not doing this for you, but for my own dark and twisted reasons. Oh, and because everyone else is doing it.


March 07, 2005

snot-nosed pre-teens

In between the long foggy periods without inspiration, I've finally come up with a few things to write about. For instance, I was thinking recently about my favorite uncle, Uncle Bud, my mom's youngest brother. He stayed with us a while after he was laid off from his job back in the early 80's. My dad was the CPA for a music wholesaler in the city, and got my uncle a job there doing heavy lifting, running machinery, loading pallets, etc. This subject keeps returning, but I haven't written about it, and I don't think I've ever really discussed it with family or friends.

I was a preteen at the time, and all I can remember is feeling horribly embarrassed about having to share our house with my out-of-work countryish uncle. Uncle Bud was so grateful to us, and so kind to me. He repainted all my furniture from it's original greenish yellow to a nice off-white. I still have my desk and chair from then - they go well in my little studio here.

Uncle Bud looks a lot like Hank Williams, Jr. I can't say he emulates him in any way. My uncle can be a little taciturn at times. As a youngster, I was not impressed with the HWJr thing - it was a source of extreme irritation back when I was trying desperately to fit in at school. So, I spent a lot of time being pretty snotty and avoiding him. Now, I find his HWJr likeness a source of pride. That song - "A Country Boy Can Survive" - it might as well be about my uncle. (Seriously. If something rilly bad happens here, I'm hauling ass as best I can back to Hannibal MO where that man and my cousins will be able to protect and feed us.)

I look back on that time when Uncle Bud stayed with us, and wonder how aware he must of been of my irritation. And I wonder how or if this hurt him. He went home every weekend to see my aunt and cousins (it was a two hour drive each way) and I can't imagine how lonely he must have been for them. Looking back on this time, I'm filled with shame and remorse not just for how I behaved, but for feeling ashamed of him at all.

When I visit him now, I try to make up for being a snot-nosed kid. But I haven't ever told him how sorry I am for not making that difficult time any easier for him. Instead, I tell him he's my favorite uncle and just hope that he knows how much I love and admire him.

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