Saturday, January 19, 2008

Uncle Eldon Died

Last week was dominated by the news of Uncle Eldon's sudden decline and passing away. Uncle Eldon--all the cousin's favorite uncle, by virtue of being a bachelor until later in life and farming the home place with all its wonderful-to-a-child farm equipment, both old and new; opportunities for tractor driving, barn and chicken coop and brooder house and milk house, the windmill, the shop, the vise in the middle of the yard, etc., etc.

We all met, save Uncle Eldon, honored his life, which was in deed storied and worthy of honor, and renewed family bonds. Extended family: Uncle Eldon was of a family of nine children, eight who survived infancy, twenty-something of us first cousins, and uncounted children of cousins. The next evening, we met again and they taught some of us "young-uns" how to play the grand, German-immigrant game of Pinochle.

Uncle Eldon, I found it difficult to visit Texas after I left home, but you were always dear in my thoughts. Uncle Eldon taught me some lessons of life, such as the time I wanted to shoot a sparrow with a pellet gun, never having hunted before. I winged one around the milk house, and it lay struggling on the ground. Uncle Eldon told me that I now had to put it out of its misery. I was conflicted as soon as I had hit the bird, seeing that I was actually inflicting pain and suffering. The glory of hunting, in deed. As Uncle Eldon directed, however, I put the bird out of its misery by crushing its head under my heel. I've never wanted to hunt again.

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