Everyone in their family has some crazy relative of some kind. Whether it’s a second cousin twice removed or maybe even their uncle. Of course every person’s definition of crazy is pretty much limited to the experiences in that family.
My uncle Leo (Uncle Mike as I called him) was kind of the black sheep of the family. Him along with his half dozen brothers and 2 sisters had a pretty hard childhood and for him a fairly rough adulthood, so he might have had good reason for his crazies.
He served his country in the forgotten war The Korean War and as I’ve been told; returned not quite the same as he left.
I spent a couple of summers as a kid with Uncle Leo and Aunt B; just hanging out at their house watching General Hospital with Aunt B and tagging along with them on their daily errands of doctors appointments and just wherever else they needed to go. I actually enjoyed those laid back summers.
The things I remember most were Uncle Leo’s tangents. He liked to tell me all about the conspiracies of the government and how the moon landing was rigged and so many other wild and crazy theories about things. Unlike most people who would become annoyed and want him to just shut up, I listened. He enjoyed that I was amused by his rants and ravings and that I would ask questions and laugh at his silly ideas.
I remember one summer, I rode in the car with them for a family reunion of sorts and there was a fly inside the car that none of us could get out. I told Uncle L, “I’m going to catch this fly with my bare hands.” Uncle L didn’t believe me. I proved him wrong. He was flabbergasted. He laughed and laughed his maniacal laugh. I’ll always remember his laugh.
A month or two ago, I got the most unusual thing in the mail. It was hand addressed to me by my uncle. All that was inside were a few old stamps. There was no letter or anything else, just stamps. During that time frame of summer visits with Uncle L and Aunt B, I collected stamps. He always tried to find some for me and give them to me. Somehow strangely just those few weeks ago, he must have remembered or thought about me and decided to take the time to mail them to me. I haven’t collected stamps since I was 10 or 11. That was the first and last correspondence/communication I’d had with my uncle in a year or two.
Uncle L passed away Saturday morning due to heart failure. He was told a week or so ago that he needed a pacemaker. Being typical uncle L he refused. I’m sure his theory was that the doctor’s were trying to kill him anyway. They sent him on home. He knew his time was coming. He made all preparations that he felt he needed, including mowing the lawn; which totally did not surprise me, as I’m afraid my mother will be the same way-it runs in the family.
Right now I feel really guilty that I probably won’t be able to make the funeral due to the need for me at work. So now all I can do is send good thoughts and prayers for my Aunt and my mother’s family.
For me this is my little memorium to him.