Monday, August 4, 2008

My Uncle Louie...

My sweet uncle Louie passed away yesterday in his garden.

I won't be able to go to the funeral Wednesday, so instead I going to take some time today to walk in a garden, to have a piece of fresh cobbler somewhere, and to write this tribute to him:

For all of my talk of not feeling that American, my father's family are sweet, wonderful, American folks. Louis was a smiley man with piercing blue eyes. In my mind he was a farmer above all else. Perhaps he had another job in his life, but by the time I came along, he and his sweet wife Del were more interested in their grandchildren and their garden.

Del was tall and thin, Louis was much shorter and more muscular. My favorite part about him, in addition to his unending interest in those around him, was that he kept bees. He would take me out back and light the smoker and explain the way a hive worked. Then we would go inside and have some wonderfully dessert that his wife had made with the spoils.

I used to spend a week or two every summer with my grandparents, and a trip to Louis and Del's was always a big part of the trip. Louis was my grandmother's youngest brother, and she adored him. His ease and friendliness made him a favorite of my grandfather as well - and they all shared interests in gardens, in traveling, and in building something substantial from their lives.

Louis and Del owned an Airstream trailer, and several years ago my grandmother and I visited them at their park in Florida. It was an interesting introduction to that culture. Retirees that want to experience this great country of ours without compromising their hard-saved retirement funds. There were seemingly endless rows of big silver bullets with collapsible patio furniture and clothes lines.

What I will remember most was his ease. His laugh that would crinkle the corners of his eyes, the love he had for his family, and the time he would spend to create comfort where there was little comfort before.

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