I spent the weekend wondering who this person is who calls himself my Uncle Ed. I say this every time we visit, but I’m gonna say it again. NOT the Uncle I grew up with. We arrived at Ed and Betty’s house in Michigan and we weren’t there five minutes before he was taking the kids to the pantry for a surprise. Behold:
“No wonder we call you the pickle Grandpa!”, exclaimed Mikey. It was a weekend of delights as far as the kids were concerned. Aunt Betty stuffed them with hot dogs and squirted whipped cream on their sausages. When I was little, you ate what was put in front of you, and there was no 5 gallon tub of pickles or fruit snacks waiting in the wings for dessert.
When I was little, Uncle Ed went to bed at 8 o’clock and so did the rest of the house if they knew what was good for them. When I was little, if you breathed too loudly in the basement he would be stomping down the stairs to growl at you for making so much noise. This weekend? We were up late watching movies (he still went to bed early, he just didn’t care what happened in the basement) and the children watched episode after episode of Pinky and The Brain.
When I was little you did what you were told and were glad you didn’t get a thumping to go with it. Now? Uncle Ed pays the boys five dollars to pick up pinecones in the front yard. He paid the girls too! He also paid them to pick up the spilled coffee beans on the kitchen floor. Wha….?
When I was little you played outside or QUIETLY in the basement. Now? Anything goes.
Uncle Ed is my Dad’s oldest brother and much like the rest of us misses him terribly. So every time one of the kids called Ed “grandpa” his eyes would water. Every time we told a story about childhood, or remembered days gone by, his eyes would water. Ed told me how he and Dad would coon a watermelon each and sit up on a hill and watch the Acme drive-in movie. Without paying. Even though movies were sinful. Then he wiped away the tear sliding down his cheek.
I don’t know where old Uncle Ed went, but I’m really happy we have new Uncle Ed in his place.