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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.