Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | November 13, 2007

A smile, and a farewell

Life is a great journey. Along the way, we pass markers large and small that affirm that we are moving along a path, and that we will someday reach the end of it.

Today I passed one of those markers along the great journey. Late this afternoon, I heard that my uncle (my mother’s brother) had passed away earlier in the day. While I was not particularly close to Uncle Tom, there was never a time in my life when there was no Uncle Tom—until today, that is.

He was still a kid himself when I was born, though I never thought of him as such. From as early as I can remember, humor and a smile where his dual trademarks. He loved to play practical jokes, especially on his sisters (he was the baby of the family), and he would always have some outrageous thing to say, just for the shock value. He especially loved to goad my mother with some off-the-wall remark or crazy stunt, especially when he could do it in public and embarrass my Mom just for sport. But he never performed his antics without that telltale smile of his. In fact, I don’t believe that there was ever a time in all of the years that I knew him, that Uncle Tom didn’t exhibit his smile 100 percent of the time. It was his way to say, I think, that “I’m kidding around with you, but you know that I love you.”

I would like to think that there are a set of pearly gates that Uncle Tom arrived at earlier today where he lingered a while as he worked his way through one of those practical jokes. When it was over, though, he smiled at St. Peter, and St. Pete knowingly opened the gate and let Uncle Tom through.

Uncle Tom was truly a special one-of-a-kind personality. There won’t be another one like him in my life. It was my privilege to have known him. Farewell . . . and keep on smiling.



  1. Wow. You’ve caught his essence beautifully. Couldn’t have said it better. Thanks for speaking on all our behalfs.

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