I just heard that my uncle Bob passed away. He was an uncle by honorary title, not blood line. And I know he went straight to heaven.
Uncle Bob and my Aunt Gertrude adopted three children. All of us were like cousins. Bob was the one who put as many kids who happened to be around, seven of us and a few neighbors kids, into the back of the station wagon and took us to Dairy Queen. He patiently took our orders, letting us pick what flavor we wanted, what toppings we wanted , no matter how long it took as we sang Beatles songs. Trust me, we were no choir either.
I know Bob had a job, but unlike other adults, he never acted too busy for a fast game of hoops or baseball. We lived down the street for many years and I never quite understood that he even had to work.
There are so many great stories about Bob, too many to tell, but mostly I remember what he said to me after my accident. He totally believed in me, in all of us "kids". So as usual he made sure I knew he had no doubt I could deal with things, the way he did for Aunt Gertrude as she struggled for a decade with cancer, the way a dad would. With my father long gone, that was special. In his usual loving way, Bob always had everyones back.
As a journalist for many years, Bob must have seen a great deal but he never spoke about that, even after we became adults. He was Dad, Uncle and loving friend to many first. I thank him for that and thank his children for sharing him with me.