Today is sad day for my family as my Uncle Jake passed away last night after suffering a massive stroke. He was the last of my mom’s siblings to depart and so my heart is happy knowing he’s reunited with his parents and siblings but it is also heavy because my time with him has been cut short.
Uncle Jake was the jovial one in our family. Always with a ready smile, and big hug, and a witty joke. He made the world a little brighter and so I’m sure he’ll do the same in Heaven.
He wasn’t perfect, had his trials but succeeded to overcome most of the challenges in his life. He’d give his shirt of his back to help someone be it family, friend, or stranger.
I have many memories of him. Holidays at his house hanging out in the backyard in November playing games with my cousins while he barbecued the turkey. It always turned out perfect, crispy skin and moist tender meat on the inside. He’d always make a toast and flirt with all the girls, me at age 9 or 10, my friends too, the Grandma’s in the group and especially those ladies that were in his age category. He was charming all the time just being himself.
He always held our Easter gathering. He’d delight in being responsible for hiding the eggs with little treats in them and the giant gold ones that held anywhere from a dollar to one year a $100 if I’m recalling correctly. He’d hide them in tall grass and high in trees. The gold ones were super special and he’d always make us work hard to find them, hiding them inside logs and under cow patties or horse dung. My cousin Adam always found those ones because he wanted to find the money the most out of all us cousins. The adults would sit around watching us, laughing at our attempts, and especially at Adam who would lift cow patties to get a little cash.
I’m fortunate that I have good memories with 4 out of my 5 uncles and aunt on my Mom’s side of the family. Each was unique. My Aunt Lee with her vivacious personality and bright clothing. You never knew what was going to come out of her mouth much like myself. My Uncle Ron who also had a ready smile and would do anything for you. He filled in for the dad I never had and walked me down the aisle and followed my 1st hubby and I all the way home after our reception honking all the way. He was crazy in that way and adorable. My Uncle Armas who helped raise us practically all our lives, driving down from Reno and spending every holiday with my mom, sister, grandma and I. He taught me how to change a tire and check my oil. He drove me and my friends to school one day in his limousine making us feel like movie stars. Every Thanksgiving he would bring a load of Christmas presents down for my sister and I and hide them. We’d search for them the whole month of December without success and always had a grand time opening them on Christmas day because you never knew what you’d get – dolls, antique jewelry, silver dollars. He had a penchant for a bargain hunting and would hit yard sales and estate sales searching out perfect little gifts for us all year-long. My Uncle Ken and I never formed a bond – can’t really explain why but there you have it. And my loveable Uncle Jake who brightened every occasion, had the gift of making everyone feel special, sharing his holidays and his love with us. They will all live on in my heart.
Party on Uncle Jake, enjoy your family and know that you will be in our hearts, guiding us to live up to being special, witty, and fun. I love you.