Uncle George, We Will All Miss You

When I first met my husband’s Uncle George, I knew I liked him right away. He arrived for a long weekend at the cottage with raspberry pies. These weren’t just any raspberry pies, these were the most delicious pies that I had ever tasted. I was surrounded by healthy food and healthy eaters and a mother-in-law that looked much better than me in a bikini. Bring on the pies! I had a comrade in arms.

Uncle George was always an easy guest. When I had a 5 year old, 3 year old and a newborn baby, he never complained that dinner was grilled cheeses or chicken nuggets and baby carrots. He never once made me feel guilty that the salad was dumped from a bag into a bowl and slapped on the table. I can’t begin to tell you how much stress that took off the situation. He went with the flow and enjoyed all of the chaos. He even tried to entertain the baby and read books to the children to make the dinner process easier–this was an amazing gift for an overwhelmed mom.

He always remembered everyone on holidays and birthdays with cards and gifts. He was exceedingly thoughtful. He even remembered you on regular days with a phone call or a card. George was always asking about the perfect gift for the kids. He wanted to know what their interests were and what would make them shout “Yahoo!” when they opened a present.

He was kind and generous.  He bought us a computer when we were first married and couldn’t afford one. He always enjoyed computers and connected us when we moved far away and couldn’t easily connect with our family. This included creating a family website to help us all with our Christmas lists. He invented the idea of signing on as Santa, so that you could secretly delete things that you had bought for someone.

Uncle George loved arguing. You would be innocently talking about something and he would lean back in his chair, cross his arms over his chest and give you a look that said, “Oh, yeah?” He would sit late into the night debating. Sometimes it would get hot and heated and sometimes it was cool and cerebral. He was well-read and up to date on pretty much everything…and he had an opinion on pretty much everything.

George loved travel. He visited us whenever he could. He was always around for family gatherings and was delighted when we were all together in a big, rambunctious group. He thrived on the love, joy and warmth of family. His travel slowed down this last year or so. We started getting phone calls on Sunday nights instead of regular visits. We kept talking about his next visit…

We thought our next visit might be over the Christmas holidays. We never dreamed our next visit would be a memorial service. It happened quickly, yet in slow motion, too. Before we knew it, our time for visits had run out.

It is times like these that everyone tells you to call that friend that you haven’t talked to in while or visit that relative. We all get caught up in our own struggle against time. There is never enough of it, we are madly rushing in and out and around. We have a thousand excuses why not. We anger at small things in a big picture and rage against meaningless moments. Words are spoken lightly and carelessly. We bang the doors over nothing and find ourselves empty.

Time has a way of snatching moments from us when we’re not looking, or when we are looking the other way. Seize the moment, seize the day–call your loved one that loves Thousand Island salad dressing. It is the little details that make you smile. Just like the raspberry pies, I too, secretly like the Thousand Island dressing. The details differentiate, define and delight.

George had a way of touching our lives gently. He always had a smile and he will stay that way forever in our memories.

George, if you’re listening, save a piece of raspberry pie for me.


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