Saturday, May 26, 2012

Uncle Tom

Scott's Uncle Tom passed away on Friday, May 4 while he was hunting - doing something he loved.  It was so unexpected that it was hard to process and accept.  I've never had any close family pass away so this was all a totally new experience for me.

We attended the wake on Friday, May 11 - here's Kinley playing on the couch, being such a good girl. 
I don't want to get into all the details or get too sappy but to say Tom lived a full life was an understatement.  I want to include the speech that cousin Penny read at his funeral because it brings back great memories of him and describes him to a T, much better than I could ever put into words:

May 12, 2012

No One Had an Uncle Like Our Uncle Tom

He made the When we were kids, he would serve up snails baked in butter and garlic on Christmas day and we’d eat them up so fast that the grownups would come in and yell at us because they didn’t get any. He’d drop anything that swam with fins into his Fry Daddy and we’d eat it! He’d roast his own wild duck, goose, turkey, the occasional squirrel, and even road kill if it was still warm or spend hours making unusual dishes like Jambalaya, venison chili, and turtle soup.

For my wedding, Uncle Tom drove 1,200 miles in the Lower 40 from Springfield to Boston with 350 dove breasts on board. They were frozen in plastic cups of water, wrapped in newspaper, and gently thawing as the 17 hours or so passed by in June. I’m pretty sure there was no air conditioning in that car. We’re talking a health inspector’s nightmare. Upon arrival he carefully wrapped each
one in a piece of bacon, marinated them overnight and later grilled those suckers up for 75 guests at our New England clam bake rehearsal dinner. No one cooked like Uncle Tom.

Uncle Tom liked wine. Lots and lots of wine, and he appreciated very fine wine . . . yet he made some of the Worst Wine Ever. Remember Chateau Latrine? Uncle Tom loved a party.  When we were growing up, he threw great parties, and if I had a dollar for each one of us cousins who had their first underage drink at one of those parties, I’d have about 10 dollars, but I’m not naming names!

Our Uncle Tom was not so concerned with clothing or personal hygiene. As a kid I remember thinking: “This guy’s a lawyer?!? He’s running around in shorts that are split all the way down his crack, a tattered t-shirt, and he doesn’t wear deodorant.” Oh, and he was always bleeding from some scab somewhere. He didn’t care.

Our Uncle Tom loved cars. He always had a cool classic car, or two, or three at any given time . . . and he always had another two or three beaters as well which he loved just as much. The day before our wedding Patrick became obsessed with helping Tom clean up that rust bucket of a car he had driven all the way to Boston. Blood, feathers, garbage, rodents, and a whole vat of Fry Daddy oil soaked up in the passenger seat cushion. My poor fiance truly felt bad and wanted to help the man. I said, “Honey, it’s Uncle Tom, he doesn’t care. In fact, he likes it that way, so just leave him alone and, P.S. Welcome to the family!”

Our Uncle Tom was one of a kind.  He lived life to the fullest. He left us with endless crazy stories that will live on for generations through us. He shared with us the bounty of the earth, which he truly appreciated, enjoyed, and prepared as a labor of love. But the greatest thing Uncle Tom ever did was give us two of the most beautiful red-headed twin baby girl cousins you will ever know. And for that, we are ALL grateful to our Uncle Tom.

There definitely wasn't a dry eye after that.  The one thing I heard over and over from funeral home staff was, "man, I wish I could have known him...what a life!"

And that's so true.  The funeral offered some closure but it still doesn't seem real.  I've never had to go through something like this before so I guess it just takes time.  I'm sure I'll think of him every time I have a glass of wine...which will be pretty often!  :)

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