Uncle/Father's Day Joy and Laughter

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 8.40.37 PMUncle Charles and Aunt Nita have 3 kids not a girl in the bunch. I know you've heard women say I'm a daddy's girl. Well, I'm an Uncle's girl. Whatever dads do for their kids my uncle did for me. When I was in college after driving for UPS all night he'd come pick me up so I could do laundry, or drop off a mysterious $20, or a roasted chicken with greens and sweet potatoes my aunt had hooked up for me. Just like a When I was in college my uncle would drive all night for UPS, then he'd come pick me up so I could do laundry, or drop off a mysterious $20, or a roasted chicken with greens and sweet potatoes my aunt had cooked for me. The laundry pickups, $20s, and chicken always came just in the nick of time, it was like he had an app that told him my meal plan and money for the month were running low.

Just like a dad, he'd show up in his brown UPS uniform sometimes with his brown socks and shorts and work shoes. He gave me enough space to grow up but stayed close enough so if things went bad he could throw me a lifeline.  Through it all, we laughed. He shared his wisdom. When my professor said I couldn't be a sportswriter my uncle thought about it for a minute and said well seems like the thing to do would be to just be the best sportswriter you can be and prove them wrong. We had so many good times together. Most of the time it wasn't anything special it was just us watching sports, cooking, driving to Oklahoma, or listening to blues. Just regular stuff. I guess the regular stuff is what makes dads great.

He shared his wisdom. When my professor said I couldn't be a sportswriter my uncle thought about it for a minute and said well seems like the thing to do would be to just be the best sportswriter you can be and prove them wrong. I haven't made it to ESPN yet, but I have my own sports talk show, and I made it to Yahoo Sports so I'm getting there.  We had so many good times together. Most of the time it wasn't anything special it was just us watching sports, cooking, driving to Oklahoma, or listening to blues. Just regular stuff. I guess the regular stuff is what makes dads great.

We had so many good times together. Most of the time it wasn't anything special it was just us watching sports, cooking, driving to Oklahoma, or listening to blues. Just regular stuff. I guess the regular stuff is what makes dads great.

When I first went to D.C. to go college  I was skinny too skinny. My high school graduation dress was a size 2. Let's be clear I'm a 36 DDD sometimes F, I was not built to be a size 2. I thought I was cute, ok I thought I was FINE. My uncle thought I was sick and immediately he went into big brother mode. He called my mom and offered help with insurance and whatever else she may need as a single mother.  Mom laughed and replied I'm fine, Karintha is fine, she just thinks she's cute. After finding out I was so thin because it was fashionable and I thought I was cute he cooked. I sat in the kitchen and talked and laughed with him.  He made himself a plate, sat down looked at me and said there's plenty but I see you don't eat much.   I think I replied I'm not hungry. He started eating and reading the sports section.  In the midst of our sports talk, he says well I was worried about having a girl in the house, but I don't know a single man who wants a bone. Even a dog will bury a bone after a while.  I guess you'll be safe. I said something like Uncle Charles I'm gorgeous. His reply was his signature great big belly laugh, he laughed until tears rolled down his cheeks. Finally he sad niece I think you better fix yourself a plate.  Why argue with a wise man, that food was so good.

I decided to become a vegetarian.  No great stand on animals. I just realized meat was expensive and the money my mom sent could be better spent else where. I ate mostly potatoes, and rice I gained about 30lbs.

One Sunday while watching football my uncle said your cousins told me you don't eat meat. I said no sir, not really. He started smiling, tried to hold it in as long as he could and when he couldn't hold it any longer that booming laugh of his escaped. When he composed himself he said well I think you might be doing something wrong. I've never seen a fluffy vegetarian,  who gets fat eating vegetables.

My weight couldn't win he had jokes for both ends of the scale.  Was I hurt, not in the least. I went back to campus and looked up healthy options. By Christmas, I was shaped like an hour glass.

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 9.37.32 PMHoley Moley  Batman.  Jeans with holes became a big fashion trend. I went out and bought a pair and spent about $75 that was a lot for jeans in the 90's. My uncle kept sneaking jeans without holes in them in my laundry bag. Unacceptable jeans like Wranglers or Lees. Finally, I asked him why.  I knew it was Uncle Charles because Aunt Nita always bought the latest designer clothes for us, plus she wanted you to try them on and model them for her. He said well baby I know you're working hard and I can see you need them even though you won't ask. I explained to my dear Uncle Charles I bought them like that because it was the style.  Another belly laugh. After trying not to laugh more he said well you need to get your money back. I have plenty of jeans you can rip for free. It tickled him so much he called mom to tell her that I was wasting good money on jeans that belonged in the trash.

Even when he was being serious, or protecting me he was funny. When he found out about guys being on the down low he called me. He suggested I needed a surefire way to test to make sure the guy I was dating wasn't confused about whether he wanted to be straight, gay, or bi. I almost peed on myself listening to him make up the test while we talked. It was funny, and I still laugh when I think about it. I still administer his test and I've shared it with friends. We check off the telltale signs according to Charles Dixson. We haven't met a guy who isn't bi, gay, or on the down-low who can pass.

Peach cobbler is a family favorite,  I've always been a good cook. My first Thanksgiving on my own I cooked for my cousins. Everything was delicious including the peach bread that was like baklava crusty and yummy. After my cousins took him and my aunt plates he called to tell me everything was good even the peach bread. I knew the belly laugh was coming. After he stopped laughing he managed to croak out you tried to make your grandmother's peach cobbler huh. I said yes sir. He just kept laughing and said well niecey we will just call it peach bread. It has good flavor, but next time you make a cobbler call your grandmother, Vern or Arby, call somebody. I've never made peach bread or peach baklava again. Now, I make my gram's cobbler perfectly.

Shortly before he passed we were all sitting around talking. One of my cousin's friends was prattling on and on probably about nothing. He was sitting in his recliner watching tv and all of sudden he just burst out with a will you hush I'm trying to rest, the entire room cracked up. Laughter,  wisdom, and grace

That same weekend I discovered the back porch was leaking and the water was pooling near an electrical outlet. Of course, I ran inside to alert of him. My cousins picked their drinks up and started smiling. You guessed it another belly laugh. After he finished laughing he said thanks for the 411 Rona Barrett. I asked him if he wanted me to do something to fix it. Another belly laugh. Finally, he said no, I'd like for you to bring your silly self off that back porch before you get electrocuted. That cord ain't bothering you, don't you bother it.

Laughter,  wisdom, and grace are what made him special.

I could go on but you get the picture.  My uncle was funny and enjoyed life and if you can't laugh when times are good and bad you will have a hard time making it over when you are coming up the rough side of the mountain.

Thanks for the laughter and memories. I may not be a daddy's girl, but I am most definitely an Uncle's girl and proud of it. Happy Father's Day Unc. I love you.