After I wrote that last blog, I kept thinking of more of the reasons why I voted for President Obama. And more and more reasons why I couldn’t fathom why someone would vote for Mitt Romney. Fortunately, that is all water under the bridge now. I was so incredibly relieved that the election was not close and there were no (major) shenanigans that affected the outcome of the election. I was really shocked it was called so early. I had to have my little celebration quietly because Mark had fallen asleep on his chair. Maybe an hour or so after it was called for Pres. Obama, he turned over and seemed to be in a lighter phase of sleep so I let him know at that point that we had four more years of Obama and he raised his head up enough to say, “Really? Cool,” before he fell back asleep.
I will go back to not talking politics here. I do worry, at times, that something I write here will affect me in my job or in future job searches. Everyone reads about employees that get fired for things that are on their Facebooks or things they write on their blogs. I know I will not be fired for lewd photos since none exist, but since we have seen employers already laying people off since the election because of politics, the possibility is always there, I suppose. I will hope for the best and hope that, it it were to happen, that I would make headlines and freedom lovers and first amendments supporters would rush to my aid.
Back to other topics of my life as I try to get into a writing rhythm again…
My Uncle Dick died at the end of October. I don’t believe you’ve ever read about him here. He was the younger brother of my grandfather. He was not just a little younger, he was a LOT younger than his 3 older brothers. My grandfather was born in 1908 and he was the second oldest. Dick was born in 1923. The 3 older boys were out of the house, married, and gone before Dick was even in school. This is my favorite picture of their family from that era, just because it does show the drastic difference in their ages:
I’d say this was about 1927. A pretty prosperous looking bunch. My grandfather is the second from the right. Dick is the little one.
I’ve kind of been watching over Uncle Dick for the last few years and I’ve been his medical power of attorney. I was the one who had to sign all the paperwork to let the hospice people take over his care in his last week or so of life. Up until then he really was in his right mind and I never had to make any medical decisions for him. My dad was only 5 years younger than his uncle and at some point in the 1990s, Dad insisted the Uncle Dick come and live in a nursing home near their house. Dad was good to visit him on a weekly basis and was his only male relative and only friend in the world. When Dad died in 2006, I couldn’t take over that role, but I did try to visit him from time to time (more like once a year instead of once a week) and send him a card occasionally.
Uncle Dick was really odd and not someone that we looked forward to seeing. And I don’t just mean because of the nursing home atmosphere. He was raised as a Mama’s boy and he lived with his mother his whole life. His own father died when he was only 11 and with his brothers all grown and married, he was left to help take care of the cows and the farm. He left school in about fifth grade (though he had fallen behind and was older than his classmates then) and never got any more education. He did get married once, but the story I heard was that she came to live with him and his domineering mother (my great-grandmother) and it wasn’t long before neighbors across the road heard her hollering one night, “Doyle!” (his real first name was Doyle) Doyle, we’re going in to town tomorrow and we’re getting’ us a divorce!” And they did. I don’t know how much of that is true, but I got it from a very reliable source.
The story that I love to tell about Uncle Dick, though, is about his encounter with “them men from outer space” (I think that’s how he put it). I had heard my Dad comment sometimes about Dick having seen aliens, always scoffing about it, of course, but I had never heard the stories. I hadn’t seen Uncle Dick at all in the 1980s and 1990s, I don’t think. He wasn’t the kind of uncle that you brought out to the house to join us for family events. After Daddy died and I began visiting Uncle Dick, I asked him to tell me about that encounter. Imagine if you went in and asked your uncle to tell you what he had had for lunch and he said, “Oh, I had a ham and cheese sandwich on toast and some pickles.” Uncle Dick told the story with about that much credibility. It wasn’t oversold or hyperbolic. He didn’t have to search his mind for details or think about things. He didn’t embellish in any way. He just told the story.
The story he told was that he was working as a janitor at a K-Mart in Burleson in the 1970s (he gave a specific year – see? his memory was better than mine). The store was near an air base and he frequently heard large transport planes fly over during the night. One night he heard a large vehicle flying over, but having some sort of engine trouble and he took note that it sounded like it might be in trouble. Then he saw a lot of lights from the front of the store. They were near a highway and he assumed it was a highway patrol with a traffic stop on the Interstate. But then the lights in the store all went out and he was in pitch black. So he made his way to the front of the store and those lights and he saw a space ship in the parking lot with the lights on it. And there were “them outer spacemen” up closer to the store looking at him. He said that they were on the other side of that big sidewalk in front of the store and he motioned for them to come closer to the window so he could see them, but they didn’t. They just stayed there on that side of the sidewalk “dancing around the way they do.” At some point they go back to their space ship and they fly away and lights come back on. And a policeman comes along and asks Uncle Dick if he saw a spaceship and outer space men and he told them that he had and the policeman drove off. What is interesting (well, it is all interesting)… I have a friend that is a science fiction writer and she writes about aliens a lot so she has studied all the alien sighting stories and I told her about his description of the aliens and that “dancing around the way they do” and she said that that description of the dancing around and sort of working in tandem as a group is a very common description of a certain type of alien that seems to have an “ant-like” mentality where they work together and function together like ants.
When most people die, it takes several members of the family to make a lot of calls and ask those people to call members of their family to let people know about the death. With Dick, there just weren’t many notifications to make. I had called my mom when hospice called me and said it was close, but didn’t call her back when he died because it was late. I called her the next day and told her. My sister was in Italy with her family so I waited until they were all home the next week to tell her. The only other relative that really cared was my cousin Nancy. She was his actual niece, the daughter of the man on the right in the picture above. She lived near where he lived and had visited him and been very sweet to him and had even taken her mother from her nursing home over to see him in his nursing home. I have only known this cousin a couple of years, but we have bonded a lot in that time. I called her as he was getting sicker. I asked her if she thought we needed to have a funeral. To my great relief, she said she didn’t think so. We felt like the two of us and maybe our husbands would be the only attendees. I made all the arrangements long distance and we will get together at some point in the future and pay our respects.
I’ll close with another sweet picture of Dick as a kid. That’s him on the right with my dad on his shoulders.