Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Crappy Halloween

Frankly, it’s been a shit week. After a killer Rue Morgue Halloween party, which I’ll write about later, things went rapidly downhill as a massive hangover led to getting my first cold of the year. Of course, we’re in our last week of production with the mag, so it couldn’t come at a worse time. Regardless, I was getting ready to leave work early on Monday to crawl into bed when my brother called to say my Uncle Glen passed away. Although he’d been in poor health for some time – in and out of the hospital for something they never did diagnose for certain – it was still a shock. He’d turned 65 this September, which is way too young to shuffle off ye olde mortal coil these days. We have a small family and I was close to him, so I’ll be flying back to Edmonton on Saturday morning to be a pallbearer at the funeral on Monday.

I’m worried about by grandma, who’s creeping up on 90. She’s now outlived both her sons, as my dad was killed in a car accident in 1987, and I’ve been told she’s not handling it so well. I should've called her already, but I just don't know what to say. I guess that's not the point of calling, though, is it? And somehow I doubt she'll read this online.

It should be said that my uncle was a helluva guy. After my dad died he took my brother and I out to do dad-type things, like fire guns at the shooting range (there is no bigger thrill when you’re a preteen boy weaned on A-Team and G.I. Joe), go fishing, check out car shows, etc. He loved to tell stories – crazy stuff like making homemade rockets, going on dive searches for dead bodies and pulling up drowned Boy Scouts, having weird pets like squirrels and skunks, and even, if I recall correctly, finding a dead hermit in a shack in the woods during a hike (for real). Growing up without TV led to all kinds of Stand by Me-style adventures, and it always made me kinda jealous that his generation seemed to live the type of stuff my generation watches movies about.

I kept in touch with him and my Aunt Helen since moving to Toronto, and each time I called he sounded increasingly frail, like an old man had moved into his body and was gradually forcing him out. When I saw him in the summer for my cousin’s wedding, he seemed to have aged 20 years in a few months; his face was gaunt, his breath was short and walked with a cane. And on that I call bullshit.

He’d still perk up, though, if you could get him talking. In the last conversation I had with him in September he sounded like his usual self while telling me about the few years the family spent in Toronto. One of the highlights was the day a Toronto zookeeper let him pet a lion, which sounds a little Norman Rockwell, but hell, I’ve never hung with an animal that could eat me for lunch.

So, a quick salute to a good man and great storyteller. Other than that, I guess the point is that, even if I live decades longer than he did, I hope I’ll get a fraction of his life experience under my belt. Can’t really regale the grandkids with edgy accounts of watching DVDs, exploring the Xbox universe and adventuring to the bottom of a pint glass, y’know? Of course, that said, I've spent many a memorable night with good friends and bad beer, so I shouldn't complain.

But I wonder... Is it better to live 85 good years or 65 great ones? What would you pick, if you could?

Now I’ll leave Some Cats to you cats with more upbeat thoughts, and hopefully Halloween stories. Sorry to be a downer, but it was all I felt like writing about, and I felt like writing about something. There’ll be a more entertaining Halloween party post to come soon with embarrassing pics of myself. Promise.

Until then, thanks for the time, Uncle.

1 Comments:

Blogger Chris! said...

Sorry to hear about your loss, Dave. I, too, have a favourite uncle pass away a couple years ago—though my best memories of him were me rolling cigarettes with his cartridge machine and eating an entire jar of pickled garlic when I was seven. His name was Marc, and he died of a haert attack while working on his truck in the driveway at 52. Somehow I ended up being the one to tell my dad that one of his brothers was dead. Weird to say the least.

Anyhow, we're here. Don't feel bad about posting. If you want to talk about it, you know where I am.

2:06 AM

 

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