Monday, April 28, 2014

Uncle Bob, man of letters

My Aunt Maxine, my dad's only sister, passed away last September at the age of 81. She was married to my Uncle Bob for over 60 years (61, I think, but being an English major math has never been my forte).

Maxine was a super person, and known to many as the greeting card lady at Lewis Drug (Southgate then Westgate) in Sioux Falls for 25 years. Bob still lives in SooFoo and with the help of his three kids and plethora of grands and great-grands is getting along as well as anyone can after losing the love of their life of six decades.

My favorite memory of Bob goes back to my grade school days when I was at Bob and Maxine's house and playing Yahtzee or some game. Now, as some will attest, I like to do things my own way (see blog header), and anybody can roll dice with their hands. It takes talent, however, to put them in your mouth and then spit them on the board. It's a proven fact you roll more boxcars with that method than any other.  And it also explains why I've been kicked out of every back-alley and after-hours craps game I've attended.

But that night with the cousins, things didn't go as planned and while employing my unique technique I swallowed one of the dice. And as any uncle would do, who was supposed to be watching his nephew so he wouldn't do stupid stuff like that, Bob picked me up by the ankles and shook me up and down to get the dice out. Surprisingly, that technique didn't work either. So began a trip to the ER.

Anyway, that's the kind of guy Bob is. Funny, laid back. He worked at a meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls and is an otherwise Ordinary Joe like the rest of us and our neighbors.  But I have a philosophy about Ordinary Joe's or Bob's, and it's that they all have something more to them than meets the eye. Some hobby, some hidden talent, something you don't really know about until they pull that hand-carved duck call or oil painting out of the closet and say: "Look what I did last week." And you go, "really, you don't seem like a guy who carves duck calls."

Well, Uncle Bob pulled one of those out ten years ago, shortly after my dad died. It was a poem about my dad. Whoda thunkit? Uncle Bob was a poet and I didn't even know it. I'll reprint that one when I get time to retype it. In the meantime, here is one Uncle Bob wrote in February, a few month's after his wife Maxine's death.

Very cool, Bob. Very cool.

It’s Time!

Out of the darkness
Came Maxine’s liver disease
From the head to the toe,
All this fluid, where does it go?
This is the part that frightens me so.

No cure for that as you can see.
She’s lying in the casket in front of me.
Only God will know when it will be,
The time when she is taken from me
Be patient my child, He will set you free.

Where are you going?  Where have you been?
I went to meet Jesus and He let me in.
I pray dear Lord on a bended knee,
Promise me help in my time of need.

In the wake of hours,
He will set you free,
God only knows when it will be.
God only knows she whispers to me.

When this is all over, and the pain is gone,
Life on earth still goes on.
No more suffering, no more pain
Nobody answers when I call her name

Most of life is what we do,
And down the road a lap or two,
Jesus will talk to me and you.

“No” said Jesus, "you must understand!
“Come, I’ll take you by the hand,
And we will go to the Promise Land”.

Oh dear Lord, what should I do?
Oh dear Lord, get me through.
We pause to say ‘I love you.’

                                Robert Larsen | February 2014

No comments:

Post a Comment