Saturday, July 17, 2010

When You Say Uncle Like You Say Daddy

The sun penetrated right to my bones. The waves slurped against the edge of the lake. We sat back in our chairs on Uncle David's deck, looking up at the sky and identifying birds that flew over.
"Cardinal." he said.
"Gull." I said.
"Turkey buzzard."
"Any more chemo?" I asked him.
"Nah." He took a crumbled cigarette pack from his shirt pocket. Out came lighter from under the plastic outer layer, along with a cigarette.
"Doctor said no point in quitting now." he said, lighting it.
"Blue jay."
"Chickadee-dee-dee." I imitated the call.
I had my bathing suit on under my shorts.
"Uncle David, do you think I should swim across the lake to that rock and back? Or should I paddle your canoe around the lake?"
"You're going to do what you want no matter what I say."
"Canoe then. Wanna come?"
"Nah. I'm gonna sit here and watch for birds...Pat, I should have kicked his ass for you when I had the chance. I should have treated you more like a daughter after your dad died."
"It's okay, uncle. I stood up for myself, eventually."

Uncle David with his big sister (my mother), dressed for dinner

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