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On Laying to Rest My Father’s Best Friend

January 2019
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My Uncle Lou died on the 21st. Five years, to the day, after my father. The two were inseparable back in the day.  Every Thursday they during golf season (April to October, maybe November) the two would play a round of golf then head over to Windsor (Canada) to Ings, their favorite Chinese restaurant.

My Uncles Al and Lou and their sons, Ron, David and Louis all played a huge role in my brother Chris and my childhood – also with my younger brother Joe and my sisters, but Chris and I were the perfect age. Uncle Lou’s daughters as well.

Of my fondest childhood memories, the whole family would head over to my uncle Al’s Christmas evening.  After dinner we would play tag outside and hit the Towne Club or Faygo soda… Hard. Our older cousins would try to convince my parents to let us see that year’s Christmas blockbuster with them (they tried hard for Aliens in ’86 – I was 16 – but to no avail).  The evening would hit its crescendo when my Uncle Al pulled out his acoustic guitar and my Uncle Lou, his accordion.  They’d play for hours – and you could always tell how intoxicated they were by the amount of clothing left on the two.  First the jacket would go.  Then the tie.  Then the dress shirt… and that was it.

The thing that really sticks out now is how much I’ve always felt a part of that family.  My mom’s side of the family married into theirs.  In fact, my mother’s father was 100% Irish and my Uncles’ side of the family 100% Italian.  In the US, there’s a pretty big gap betwixt the two).  My dad was raised Italian and Polish but was adopted – while raised in the heritage (my Grandpa Tony came literally came over on a boat), we were there by marriage.  We should have been black sheep – invited, but always on the periphery of the family.  That wasn’t the case though.  They welcomed us in like we were their own and still treat us as such now that we’re all aging.

The funeral service was beautiful (Catholic mass) and the luncheon afterward was something I won’t soon forget.  My wife and I, and our kids, talking with all of my favorite cousins… God, I missed that.  I don’t get choked up very often, but when I do I make it count.  Such was the case yesterday.

Saying goodbye to my Uncle Lou was tough, but his end came at a good time.  He, like my father when he passed away, was suffering from dementia.  None of that matters now, as was pointed out numerous times yesterday, my dad and Uncle Lou were undoubtedly on heaven’s golf course together again.  I’d be willing to bet they’re playing 36 holes a day, just to make up for lost time.

I just hope, for God’s sake, He’s got a legit Chinese restaurant up there.  With those two back together, He’s gonna need it.


22 Comments

  1. unironedman says:

    We don’t always get things right here in Ireland, but when it comes to paying respects, seem to have found the right way to do things. All the best to you and yours. Hope the weather gives you a pass.

  2. Sheree says:

    I’m pretty sure there’s some great restaurants, and indeed golf courses, up there. It’s always tough losing a relative and a friend whatever the circumstances . I prescribe a ride.

  3. annastk76 says:

    Someone said, or perhaps I read it somewhere, that Heaven will be like our best moments on earth. So I read your lines about them playing golf and having Chinese and it made me smile. Lovely post and you are a such a good storyteller beyond how what you’re saying in itself is meaningful and real. Sorry for your loss. Anna

  4. Awww I’m sorry … but yes, I agree with Anna above, that’s what I believe. That in heaven we will be back with those we lost and loved. Katie x

  5. Kecia says:

    Sorry for your loss Jim. I’m sure these two are golfing and enjoying some of the best Chinese ever now that they’ve been reunited!

  6. Sorry to hear this, Jim. I loved reading your memories. Cool stuff. Oddly enough, I like when the memory of a passed dear one brings me to tears. The tears remind me that person is special to me, tell me they are still alive in my heart and mind.

  7. joliesattic says:

    Beautifully written. Memories keep loved ones alive, don’t they? I think your visual is the best send off. They will obviously be missed.

  8. I am very sorry for your loss. I am glad it seems you have found some peace. I am also happy you have fond memories. Cherish those always. Peace be with you and your family.

  9. The Guat says:

    Sorry about your uncle passing. This is such a good story on the love that you felt being in that family. Glad your wife and daughters were there with you.

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