We knew this was coming, although I’m not really sure we thought it would be THIS soon. But I couldn’t really get a grasp on what to say. But the one thing that kept coming back in my mind was Astroworld.
When I was little I used to wish I was just a little bit older, it seemed to me that Uncle John was always taking the older kids to Astroworld and I SO wanted to be included. But I was too young or too short, so I wasn’t allowed to go. And by the time I was big enough the older kids were no longer interested and he wasn’t taking them anymore, and his youngest was too small when they moved to Dallas. But I remember him taking his kids and my sisters. And I remember seeing him as the cool uncle who takes you to cool places and I vowed to be that cool aunt for my nieces and nephews. Kathy claims she only got to go once, but it was the very best time she ever had at Astroworld. Astroworld was leveled at the end of 2005, and though I did eventually get to go to Astroworld through the church or clogging or with school, I still always associated Astroworld with my Uncle John.
We’re also one of those “house divided” families between A&M and UT. Uncle John’s side rooting for UT, and Mom’s side rooting for A&M. It’s an all in good fun rivalry, everyone makes sure to bring their college paraphernalia and wear their respective shirts for the big day. Now that we do Thanksgiving on Saturday, the winning team is absolutely sure to wear theirs, and the losing team is not so interested in discussing the game with anyone, but they wear their hats and still boast proud. The truth is that we all know they’re both good schools, and you have to pick a school based on your major, so whatever you choose is really fine.
Uncle John lost his battle with leukemia a couple weekends ago. When this started we all thought that they’d caught it early and that we’d all be “happily ever aftering” by now. It’s been quite the roller coaster, in the beginning he responded well to treatment and the prognosis was good. He was in remission for a short period of time, and then they found more. They tried everything they could. He fought long and hard, and in the end it just didn’t lie down and submit like it was supposed to. I hate cancer.
For the past few years our extended family has gathered (and hopefully will continue to gather) at my parents’ lake house for Thanksgiving. Uncle John and Aunt Mindy always come. Kerri and Adam and their 2 sons always come. Sometimes Johnny (although he wants to be called John now that he’s an adult) makes it, sometimes Andrea makes it. And we have a fun weekend. A couple Thanksgivings ago, the family gathered as usual and amid the chatter I heard a little person’s voice say something to “Uncle John.” And I thought, “Uncle John’s outside.” It was one of Kerri’s sons – so my Uncle John is actually Grandpa to him. He wasn’t talking to my Uncle John he was talking to his uncle John, my Uncle John’s son. May he see his Uncle John the way I saw mine.