Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Uncle Richard

When I was around 15 or 16 and dating the woman that would become my wife, her family invited me to visit their relatives that lived in a wealthy section of Cincinnati. They lived in a house large enough to keep a pony in, as Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet) would say.

The largest room contained a huge indool swimming pool. My wife's cousin Vicki was a few years younger than we were. She was always good company. In earlier days when my wife was a baby, her mother would drop her off at Aunt Edna's house and she and Vicki were crib mates.

I never knew too much about Uncle Richard except that he owned a successful dry cleaning and tailoring business, he had a nice house and drove a big car. A few years later he even bought Vicki a horse and built a small stable in their large backyard.

Time went on and this family moved to a smaller house. I could not confirm this, but perhaps the business was not doing as well. He eventually sold his business and moved his family to Kentucky. After that they lived a rather nomadic life moving to Florida and then California and back to Florida again. Vicki had been married and had a son. From viewing the family pictures at Uncle Richard's funeral I could tell the boy was the apple of his eye. Vicki divorced and continued to live all her life with her parents. Her mother died around 10 years ago.

Uncle Richard died a few weeks ago. He had become a Christian and finally settled down. However the last two years of his life were spent in bed due to a rare neuromuscular disease that caused his limbs to contract. Even through this Vicki said he tried to find joy in small things such as watching squirels scamper in the yard or seeing children playing from his window. He saw the glass as overflowing and was thankful that he lived such a good life. Although he was in a lot of pain, his concern was not for himself, but for those around him. He was especially concerned for a care-giver that was not a Christian. He spoke with her about her faith many times.

At the funeral I learned a few things about Richard that he never shared. His mother was Jewish. He never mentioned this fact until he spoke about this dicotomy with his Baptist pastor.

Richard also served in the Marines and in the Army during WWll. Usually a person is a member of one branch of the armed services, but Richard was in both.

There had already been one funeral for Richard in Florida for friends and neighbors at a packed church in Jacksonville. His daughter had another for him at a little country church in Kentucky this past weekend. His remains were laid to rest next to those of his wife. May you be well and be in the bosom of God the Father Almighty.

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