...just turned 60. For his birthday we were all invited to Tahoe to hang out and celebrate. I sure wish I could have gone. Hanging out with that side of the family is nothing but laughs and hugs and hilarity. Every single time I do it I think, “Man, I gotta do that more!” Course hanging out with that side of the family also makes me say things like ‘gotta’ and ‘course.’
My sister says we’re half redneck. Half because one of our parents is a redneck. I suppose in some circles that’s a derogative term, but to me it just means hard workin’, fun lovin’, down-to-earth, genuine folks. My favorite song on the radio as a little girl was ‘Gimme a, gimme a, gimme a redneck girl.’ I remember riding in my dad’s Jeep listening to that song. I must have been 6 years old or so. Fun times.
We were invited to write something for Tom in lieu of our presence. I meant to and meant to get around to it. I thought about it for weeks. The problem is simple. One of the best things in the world is making Uncle Tom laugh. Any image my mind conjures up of Tom always include a beer in one hand and a huge smile on his face--probably because he was laughing at something someone said. He’s a ‘hoot’ and he gets a kick out of everybody. So back to the problem. I couldn’t think of anything funny to say. I wanted to come up with some hilarious rendition of this story or that. Really roast the guy on his 60th. I couldn’t think of one funny or mean thing to say.
Uncle Tom calls everyone ‘baby.’ It’s his favorite term of endearment--which is just such a great phrase for it. Cause when Tom says it you really do feel dear. It makes you feel like a million bucks.
Uncle Tom loves his wife. Delights in his children. Is good to his family both immediate and extended. Shows up. Works stuff out. Works hard. Treats people with genuine kindness. Loves a good beer and a good joke. He is just plain old wonderful. I’m so lucky to have him for an uncle.
I was thinking at Gran’s funeral how sad it is that we wait until folks are dead to say all the good things about them and reminisce about how much they mean to us. I was thinking how it’s just silly and ridiculous. Not more than a few hours after this thought Uncle Tom said to me in a rare quiet moment in the living room, “Cori, you are one of the best kids I’ve ever known. You’re a good kid. You’re a good niece. You’re a good daughter. A good mama. Seeing the way you are with those boys I imagine you’re also a good wife. I’m proud of ya.” Leave it to Tom.
Uncle Tom, you are one of the best men I’ve ever known. You’re a good man. You’re a good uncle. I don’t know about son, but I do know you’re the most amazing son-in-law I’ve ever seen). You’re a good daddy. Seeing the way you are with Bard I’ve always known you were a good husband. I’m proud to know ya. And I’m ever so lucky to be one of your ‘babies.’
Happy Birthday, Uncle Tom. Many happy returns of the day!