Perhaps it was living on the autistic spectrum that as a child I was timid about asking for anything from an adult. It didn’t matter if it was a family member, teacher, or a total stranger. Speaking up was not my strong suit growing up. I admit it still isn’t.
Once upon a time, I went to the rodeo for the first and only time with my Uncle. He only took me and left my siblings and cousins behind. This was before he became a Dad and I guess thought one child was enough to tend to. I had an urgent “nature call” but I wouldn’t tell him. Now common sense would have said all I had to do was ask and he would have been more than glad to help me. But the wiring in my brain said otherwise.
I almost made it back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house but my Uncle decided to stop and go to the Dairy Dream for a hamburger. That spoiled my effort to hold it. I spoiled the front passenger seat in his car. I tried to hide the spot as we were getting out of the car. If he didn’t see it then, he certainly did later. He never mentioned it to me and if he did tell my Mom, his sister, she never mentioned it.
After becoming an Aunt myself some 30 years ago, with this memory in mind, I have often followed my Uncle’s lead. If that’s spoiling, I stand accused. Sometimes it is best to stay quiet; not all the time but sometimes.
My Uncle was a quiet man. Most of the time you wouldn’t have known he was in the room. I can so relate to that! Maybe he saw some of himself in me. Perhaps we shared a common bond of taking it all in instead of being an active player. Perhaps I was more like my Uncle than I knew.
One time when I was outside playing at my Grandpa’s farm, a stack of troughs fell on me. Amazingly, the only physical damage was to one of my thumbs. Instead of screaming my head off, I whimpered and went in the house. I laid down on the bed by myself in one of the rooms. As I’m laying there with my throbbing thumb in my mouth, my Uncle walks in.
My memory may not be accurate, but this is the way I remember it. He didn’t say a word. Instead, he just picked me up and carried me around for a little while. Not a word was spoken between us. Then, he laid me down and walked away. It may sound strange, but I kid you not, I forgot all about my sore thumb. Sometimes words aren’t necessary.
My Uncle never knew that quiet moment without a word spoken between us was etched in my memory. It is astonishing to me the moments I remember and the countless ones I don’t.
My Uncle was a kind, loving man to me. I wish I had more memories of him but I cherish the ones I do have. When my Great Aunt Annie died, he comforted me by telling me to look at it this way: Heaven just gained a gold nugget.
Well, it seems like only yesterday that Heaven gained another nugget. I miss you, Uncle Glenn!