Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Marching Through Wet Concrete. (Part 2)

Yesterday's post was about my challenges in moving my agenda forward.  I left off retrieving a phone message on Saturday morning. I was correct. The voicemail was a message I would have preferred not receiving. The call was from my cousin. My uncle had died a few hours earlier.

It's important to understand I'm not great at staying in touch. I can go years weeks, months , years or longer without speaking to friends or relatives (Occasionally I wish I could achieve the same in my household). Sometimes I failed to follow up a call or email. Other times the other half failed to follow through. I'm not proud about not staying touch; I'm also not ashamed. I accept others for who they are and assume they do the same.

My uncle made it to 97 1/2. He was preceded in death by his wife approx 1.5 years ago. They were married for over 77 years. My uncle had 2 children, 4 grandchildren, at least 5 great grandchildren and nieces, nephews, greats and great-greats that appeared to number in the thousands. (His wife, my aunt was 1 of 5).  If my uncle left any copies of his "life-time contract" I'd like to sign up.

I can't claim to know my uncle intimately. That's on me and the whole "not great about staying in touch" stuff. Anyone that wanted to know my uncle just had to start with Hello. He would take it from there. What I know of him, I miss already.

He always had a smile and a story for anyone that wanted to listen. He had the gift of gab, a real kibitzer (the 21st Century word is networking. Yes it's the wrong form. Get over it.). I once watched him tell the story/joke of Pocayenta and Geronovitz in Yiddish, filling in the critical parts with gestures and bits of English. It's a shame that was at least 15 years before everyone had a camcorder on their cellphone. (Pocayenta and Geronovitz were referenced in an episode of Northern Exposure. Rob Morrow told the story in English. He did a crappy job.)

It's true my uncle could carry the load of a conversation but he also was a great listener. When we would catch up he would recount in great detail the accomplishments of my extended counterparts in the family. The best was listening him talk about his grandchildren, their steadies/spouses and the ensuing great grandchildren. The warmth of his pride resonated through the phone lines well into his 90's. Everyone should be blessed with someone like him in their life.

I share my uncle's sense of humor (droll and ironic),  liberal politics (he was an early volunteer for RFK) and in retrospect he probably shares my ADHD. My uncle served as the family eulogist. He first assumed that responsibility for my Dad, almost 45 years ago. Thank you for your patience in allowing me to close that loop. T'hay nishmato tzrur b'tzrur hachaim. Rest in peace.

Why spend more than 800 words over 2 days recalling my roadblocks? Because the roadblocks are vastly unimportant. What is important? I outlasted those impediments and I'm back in a mode (mood?) to achieve. I did it and will be called upon to overcome in the future. So it goes for all.

What about you? Any roadblocks lately? Share with the class, and include how you moved your agenda forward.

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