My Couragious Uncle Bo

One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. 

– Maya Angelou 

I’ve had a lot weighing on my mind lately.  I’ve been feeling isolated and depressed.  My favorite uncle on my dad’s side passed away this week and I so want to be with my family even though I’m sure they don’t need me there but I kinda need THEM.  I’m so glad I’m going to be up there next week and get to see all of them.  Living so far away from them is both a blessing and a curse.  It’s a blessing to be away from the drama that always ensues but a curse in the fact that sometimes you just need to be around your family. 

Uncle Bo in probably 1995

My dad’s family almost all have nicknames.  I don’t know why they have the nicknames they do because most of their nicknames have absolutely nothing to do with their actual names.  My uncle’s name was Ervin Marion but everyone called him Bo.  He has always been my Uncle Bo.  I don’t even think I realized he had another name until my late teens.  

L to R: Uncle Dig, Franklin, Uncle Bo, My dad

Uncle Bo is my dad’s baby brother.  I just keep thinking how devastated and at a loss my dad must feel right now.  I know how I’d feel if I ever lost my baby sister.  I’d be devastated beyond words.  Daddy lost his oldest brother during “the war” and he and his other older brother aren’t that close but he and my Uncle Bo always have been.  He has always been there for my dad and vice versa.  I don’t even remember there ever being a squabble between them.  There may have been but I wasn’t aware of it.  He was always a constant in my life.  Always quick with a laugh, a smile and a hug. He came to visit I think more than any of my other relatives (probably combined).   

Brother and sister: Uncle Bo and Aunt Jean

Uncle Bo had a wonderful sense of humor and he especially liked to kid around with his family.  You could always catch him at the family reunions and pig pickings giving someone a hard time.  The picture above was a prime example.  I had written on the back of the picture the conversation that took place so I wouldn’t forget. I guess it made that much of an impression on my.   The two in the picture were the babies of the family.  My Aunt Jean was the baby girl of the family and the youngest of them all and Uncle Bo was the baby boy of the family, so they especially gave each other a hard time(typical brother/sister behavior).  This was July of 1987.  We always had family gatherings around the 4th of July so I am assuming this was a pig picking (pig roast for those of you who don’t know what that is).  If you will notice my Aunt Jean is holding a Handi Wrap box in her hand and my Uncle Bo is holding the actual wrap.  She asked him “Now, Bo, how in the world do you think you’re gonna cut that when I’ve got the box?” His answer was “I don’t need your durned old box.  I’m gonna burn it off with my cigarette!”  That is so typical Uncle Bo to me.  I laughed when I saw that on the back of the picture when I was scanning it. 

Uncle Bo was an avid hunter.  On weekends when my grandmother was still alive (when I was growing up) he would come up to the country most weekends and stay almost all weekend hunting with his boys.  He has three boys and they all ended up loving hunting almost as much as he did.  At least the older two did anyway.  After my grandmother passed away he turned the “old homeplace” into a hunt club and he and his hunting buddies would spend I think most of the winter up there hunkered down hunting and summers they would use the land to plant gardens .  They still do. They take care of the place and keep the grass mowed and the place in shape. 

Uncle Bo at one of the seafood boils (#3 is walking behind him)

My uncle was a hard drinker too.  He loved to come up and hunt and drink.  I remember many a night him stopping by on his way home and he’d be too drunk to drive so he’d have one of his sons driving him home.  I’m talking boys who were way too young to have a license but he had taught them to drive as soon as they could reach the pedals. He used to say if he ever got stopped he was gonna ask the cop would he rather have a good drive r(albeit a very young one) driving on the highway or one who’d been drinking?  He used to drive an old jeep and it was nothing to see them bouncing up the driveway with one of the boys, especially the oldest one, behind the wheel, grinning from ear to ear.  I remember being jealous because Michael was about 2 or 3 years younger than me I think and he got to drive WAY earlier than I ever did.  And those boys loved their dad too. 

My dad sharing some brandy with Uncle Bo's oldest (in black)

He was a tile, marble and stone contractor by trade and did beautiful work.  He did the bathroom floors in my mom and dad’s home.  He had done tile work for over 60 years.  He taught his sons his trade too. I think only the oldest one stuck with it but they at least have something they could fall back on. 

Uncle Bo cooking the pig with my cousin Mac

By Maya Anjelou’s standards my uncle was the epitome of courage.  Therefore he was able to practice all those other virtues she speaks of.  He had an abundance of kindness, genorosity, truth, honesty and mercy.  Uncle Bo was a standout guy, upright, forthright and man of conviction.  He was a bonafide “good guy”.   He was an honest man and a loving man and he was by far my favorite uncle on my dad’s side. He always had a wonderful disposition and a wonderful outlook on life.  

He never even told anyone he was sick.  Turns out that by the time he would “let” them take him to the hospital it was too late.  His heart actually stopped before they got into the hospital and they resuscitated him but he never regained consciousness.  He was an organ donor so they kept him on life support until they could find out what was wrong.  Turns out he had cancer and had it bad.  I can’t imagine that he didn’t know something was bad wrong.   Maybe he just didn’t want to burden his family?  By the time they found out it was cancer (right before he died) it had spread almost everywhere and was stage 4.  At least he didn’t suffer anymore than he already had (silently) and it was quick.  He was gone pretty much right after they took him off life support.  But knowing, that’s the way he would have wanted it.   Uncle Bo would have been 78 at the end of this month and he and my Aunt Betty were married for 57 years.  What a wonderful man he was.  I will sorely miss him as I am sure his wife and boys will.  They don’t make them like that anymore.  RIP Uncle Bo… August 30, 1932- August 12, 2010.  I dearly loved you and always will.


About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
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20 Responses to My Couragious Uncle Bo

  1. suzicate says:

    Lovely tribute…funny I wrote part a poem for him when he died and a short paragraph to go with it today (actually wrote a longer piece and deleted it) and saved it to post on Sunday night. Michael is a few months younger than me. Love the story of Bo and Aunt Jean with the Saran wrap. I’m going to miss him so much. I think he was all of our favorite. Again, a very lovely piece you’ve written.

    • pegbur7 says:

      Thanks Suzi. Why did you delete the other one you did?

      I think you are right that he was all our favorites. I had forgotten the story and thankfully had written that on the back of the picture and almost didn’t see it until I was taking it our of the scanner. I am so glad I wrote it on the picture. I could just hear both their voices in my head saying that to each other.

  2. I love the photos of the men from a different era. This is such a touching post, Peg. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Ron says:

    Beautiful tribute to your Uncle Bo, Peg.

    I truly got a clear sense of him.

    “He had an abundance of kindness, genorosity, truth, honesty and mercy. Uncle Bo was a standout guy, upright, forthright and man of conviction.”

    What a special man he was.

    Sending you a BIG hug, my dear friend!

    (((( Peg ))))


  4. Angelia Sims says:

    My hugs and condolences to you and all your family. I can see the sparkle and fun in his eye and by your words how dearly missed he will be. What a strong and courageous man he truly was to fight it out himself, so his family did not suffer. Incredible, I don’t know that I’d be that strong.

    Beautiful tribute. RIP, Uncle Bo.

    • pegbur7 says:

      Thank you so much Angelia. I’m not even sure if he knew exactly what was wrong. I don’t know that he ever even went to the doctor. My dad’s family tends to be a little hard headed and stubborn like that.

  5. terrepruitt says:

    I am sorry for you loss.

    As your sister said, this is a lovely tribute.

    Also makes me want to go through some of my pictures and makes notes on the back. You having the story on the back helped you remember. I imagine that it also brought a rush of other memeries too. That is a fabulous gift he gave you.

    Thank you for sharing a bit of your Uncle Bo with us. Hugs to you!

    • pegbur7 says:

      I am so glad I wrote on it because I had completely forgotten about the conversation but as soon as I read it I could hear them in my head. It was kind of surreal but it was so great. I definately need to go back and write on other pictures because I forget what year, etc. if it’s not on there. Thanks for your support and sentiment.

      • terrepruitt says:

        Silly me, I thought you had said HE wrote on it. Either way, that is a GREAT idea. I love that. Pictures are memories so a few words to spark the memory is AWESOME!

  6. Carol says:

    What a lovely memorial of your uncle and how wonderful you have those memories to treasure. He’ll never really be gone from you. When I started digital scrapbooking, I realized how much I wish I had made more notes on pictures, so now I scrapbook as we go, before I forget. Leaving memories for my kids and grandkids.

  7. Heather says:

    So sorry for your loss. I always marvel at families that are close. My families closeness only extends to siblings and mom and dad. You were very lucky to have had him in your life.

    They way you have descibed him he sounds alot like my grandfather. Strong, caring and all around the kinda guy folks like to hang out with. Great tribute!

  8. Nice story about your uncle Bo.
    My children and nieces and nephews have an Uncle Booga. He is paralyzed and in a wheel chair but does quit well and all the kids think he is the cat’s meow. Susan wrote a children’s book “Up In Smoke” about the family reunion we have at his farm in Minnesota. So we have put your idea of writing about family into book form.

  9. Pingback: Happy Father’s Day! « Square Peg in a Round Hole

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