Uncle Frank passed away. I last saw him in June 2006, crikey, that long already? He was still smoking, ..... I think. He had been off the drink since I was a kid. His family struck me as the archetypal, stereotypical, American, Fighting Irish. Nothing at all like us who actually lived there. Mike his son recounted how he used to beat the crap out of his brother and vice versa. I guess with the whole Family in AA there was some issues they had to work through. They were more than good guys though.
Before that I had last seen Frank in good health in Philly when I was 16, then in Ireland when I was 12, 10, 8, and God knows when before that. He lived on credit. He was I guess a bit of a good time Charlie, meaning he liked the good things in life. Married, divorced, lost his second wife to cancer, Frank always had what I called a wry smile on his face, a great sense of humour...he was a small guy, at the end anyway. Most of lung missing, A lot of weight gone, still the same wry smile. Back in Ireland for a Family reunion organised by his son. We had a grand old time. I can't tell you a lot about him. I guess he was a ladies man, a golfer, a smart guy, he took delight in our singing, backed us up against our mother who had her own issues.... even when he was in his own words, mighty pissed, ( angry or annoyed not drunk) he could still throw out a smile pretty quick. I loved the way he looked at me. He made me feel seen. He made me feel adult when I was just a kid, accepted, listened to and respected. I shaved him that last summer. His hands shook too much, his son had father son male issues, I get them completely.... I shaved him in our kitchen. I was afraid of cutting him, but I took great pleasure in servicing this gentleman. I know he appreciated it even though it wasn't perfect. He rubbed his hand around his jaw the way we men do,he looked at me that way, threw out the wry smile, thanked me and shuffled outside for a smoke.
I know you are there watching me, and watching your own. Maybe I am one of yours too as you are one of mine......I miss you Frank.
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