I was all set to make this mid-Missouri-Memory about Easters when I was a boy, but then my wife and I went to a rummage sale at my wife's cousins house. We talked about their father who was my wife's uncle, and I felt this memory had to be repeated for them.

Uncles those necessary other guys

I wrote this particular memory because after I lost my last uncle. He was actually my wife’s uncle, Jesse Collins, but I claimed her uncles as my own a long time ago, and to lose them was as hard as it would have been had we been blood kin. I have written about my uncles before, and Jesse Collins was the subject of several Mid Missouri Memories. I have been lucky when it comes to uncles they were all great guys, and I miss every one of them. I especially needed the ones in my family, because my father died when I was nine, and there are just some things a boy needs to have a man around for. I had an Uncle Bill who was my mother’s brother, and he was always there when I needed him for advice on mechanical stuff, or questions concerning girls, or how to handle a bully at school. He taught me how to hunt and fish, and other things a father would have normally done. An uncle Buzzy Wade was someone I could brag about, because he worked as a fireman on those big steam locomotives I loved back then, and still love today. On my Father’s side was my Uncle Virgil, someone who was my role model when it came to the spiritual things. He was a Baptist Minister, who knew how to talk to a person about right or wrong, with out making it sound like excerpts from prepared a sermon. My uncle Wilbur was another uncle I could brag about, because he was a boxer, who fought in the golden gloves when it was held here in Sedalia. When I married my wife I found myself with a new set of uncles. There was Curly Collins a man I worked for until he died way too young. There were only a few men I respected as much as I did Curly Collins, and most of them were other uncles, something I guess is to be expected.

Another uncle of my wife’s was Dillon Huddleston, a carpenter who tried to teach me patience, and that old rule of every good carpenter-measure twice cut once. I confess I never truly learned that lesson, but that was my fault, not his. This brings me to my last uncle Jesse Collins. As someone who loves nostalgia, I will miss talking to Jesse, about the days he grew up in. A memory of him I will carry for the rest of my days is one I share with my wife. It is a memory of a trip we all made to a family reunion in Willow Springs Missouri about ten years ago. I have few memories of the reunion itself, what I remember is the trips to and from Willow Springs. Jesse talked about his life as a boy, and a young man. The hard times he lived through, his days as member of a medicine show along with the rest of his family. Living next to the Indians of New Mexico, who brought them food when they had none. Like all good story tellers Jesse brought those days to life for my wife and I during that trip. I will miss Jesse, as I do all my uncles. I find it hard to believe that I now have no uncles left. I can only hope some of my nephews have a few good memories to remember about me. I have come to believe that is the job of a good uncle.