My Uncle Jack is 87 years old. I love him beyond words…..although I don’t think he understands just how much!
He lives with us in an apartment that is attached to one end of our home. The apartment was originally intended for my aging Mother, but she never had the opportunity to actually live in it as her health failed to the point of needing full time care with a care giver, and she was becoming very naughty …….another story for another time.
So Jack, her brother whom she talked into moving here from his quiet peaceful life in the warm Arizona desert, ended up with us instead. I cannot tell you what a blessing he is to our family. However, this is not surprising as he has always been my favorite Uncle and probably the most positive male influence from my “little girl” memory. I always knew my Uncle loved me.
We would visit my Grandma about once every couple of years in “Greene Iowa” where Jack lived and helped take care of her along with one of his sisters. I would permanently plant my butt on Jacks lap and rarely move the entire visit! It was just my spot. I remember this vividly because I don’t think I did this with anyone else in my memory. There was just something about Jacks lap I guess. I felt so loved and I needed to feel loved I suppose ……things weren’t so great at my house. So spending time in Iowa and at my Grandma’s house in the summer time was one of my favorite things in life. Jack never married and I suppose I kinda liked that….it made him ALL MINE!
Still to this day I remember those summers as some of my best. Looking back now as an adult, I think, “wow, we didn’t really do that much”, “so why did I love that time so much”? I am pretty sure it is because someone made me feel really special and cared about. Jack would take me fishing in the “Shellrock River” which was right across the street from my Grandmas house, which had a front porch that was screened in, it had a swing that my Grandma was always sitting on. Usually peeling potatoes. Or snapping green beans into a big pot.
Jack would bait the hook for me and never seemed to tire at how many times I wanted to reel that sucker in and cast my line out again and again and again and again. I don’t think I cared a lick about catching a fish….but I LOVED casting that line out! I would sometimes get it caught up in the tree when I was feeling extra confident, and of course Jack would have to cut the line and put a whole new hook and bobber on. He never seemed to mind. Then when we were done …..I’d walk back across the street with him and our fish (which “he” probably caught) and he’d clean the fish while I watched….somehow this didn’t bother me…I could NOT watch that now! I don’t understand this!
He would take me to the store with him in that wonderful little one street town where everyone knew each other’s business! He always bought me candy and usually some sort of toy! That, I thought was WONDERFUL!
The local paper would actually have a write up when we came to visit. It would say “ Ann Sylvester has her daughter Norma Jones visiting her this week with her family from Palmdale California” It made me feel so important. AHHH small towns.
If you would have told me then that someday my wonderful Uncle Jack would live with me and my family I would have been so excited and overjoyed! Have Jack all the time? Beyond amazing! Now that I am 52 and have two of my children raised and out of the house, I still have my late in life “speed bump” Aden at home (he is 8 yrs old)…..watching him with Uncle Jack brings back such fond memories! Jack was always so patient with me … as he always is with Aden. He will also do just about anything the little fellow asks…(same as when I was his age)……even if he gets a little bossy at times…(same as when I was his age)….I love to watch them together…
Since Aden is much like an only child, and we live out in the country, it makes Jack basically his best friend. Aden takes full advantage of this…everything from watching movies with Jack (or should I say “making” Jack watch movies with him) to every new project he decides to concoct. Jack is usually a main ingredient!
Jack helps us with our garden (he has this amazing green thumb)! We have a huge garden and it produces absolutely everything that is put into the ground as seed! Perhaps the fact that this ground was once a pasture for horses for a million years is contributing to the bountiful harvest we get each year. Well, that and Jack! Jack dotes on the garden something akin to “Rabbit” in “Winnie the Pooh”….each row perfectly weeded and spaced. Never in my wildest dreams could I have ever imagined such an enormous yield of wonderful veggies!
Jack weeds the flowerbeds, mows the lawn, (well he does not mow as much as he used to) and rides our tractor! Oh and he also shovels the snow off the walk in the winter! Yes, and he is 87 yrs old. My neighbors think we are some kind of abusive caretakers or something and tease us all the time. Actually they say “Can you send your Uncle Jack over to take care of “our” yard for a while”? I say NO you can’t have him he’s MINE!
Some people will just never know how much they mean to others….so I am saying so right here!
I LOVE you Uncle Jack!