… the big one not the little one this time. This is my Uncle Ward. He’s quite the guy. He’s quiet and unassuming. He’s easy to talk to. He is always willing to help no matter how big or small the task. He and my Aunt have always been like second parents to me (even though my first parents are pretty terrific). Uncle Ward pretty much had a crap life growing up. His dad was nowhere to be found, his mother was a nut job. He spent a lot of time with his grandparents. He joined the Marines when he was old enough and proudly served his country. You can still find the Marine flag flying at his house daily (unless the Packers are playing and then the Packer flag takes it’s place beneath the American flag). After getting out of the military he met my Aunt and married her. He treated my Grandparent’s as if they were his parents. He was actually the trustee on my Grandmother’s living will. He doesn’t judge people. If he loves you it is absolutely unconditional.
My Dad had a heart condition for most of my life and we lived daily with the fact that his life would be shorter than we wished. As I got older and wasn’t married I knew that the day might come that he was not there to walk me down the aisle. Dad knew Ward would be there… and he was. It was kind of funny, he was the only one in the family who didn’t know it and when I told him one night (a year before I even met Jim) that he was on-deck he actually teared up and told me when the day came he’d be honored. And he did walk me down the aisle… and I’ll never forget at the rehearsal we were at the back of the church waiting for our cue and he looked at me and said, “I’m happy to do this but I sure wish your Dad was here” and gave me a big hug… that was cut short by our drill sergeant wedding coordinator letting us know we were supposed to be moving. On our honeymoon I noticed I had a bruise on my bicep. It was where Ward had ahold of me walking down the aisle. He denied it until we got the pictures and sure enough… one death grip on the bicep 🙂
I’ve also come to find out he is the “pull aside” guy. Quiet, unassuming Ward. Twice now he’s pulled aside people on my part. A few month’s after my wedding my husband confessed to me that Ward had “pulled him aside” in the bathroom at our reception. Jim’s mother was a bitch… there is really no other way to put it, and she showed her ass at our wedding. Ward told Jim sometimes you have to choose between your mother and your wife. Jim got the message (and thankfully was not offended because he knew if Ward was saying it, it was out of love for me… plus he was so pissed at how his mother had acted he was probably ready to throw her off the balcony).
The second time apparently came at Easter. I mentioned a few days ago my uncle who does not like small children likes Robert. It seems at Easter without any of us knowing it, Ward took Ross aside and let him know that Robert is a really cool kid and that he ought to get to know him. I think he started thinking about it at Thanksgiving. Robert was having a “two year old” moment and Ross made a comment in passing. Jim and I both just brushed it off and I had forgotten about it. I guess Ward didn’t.
I’m also happy to report my uncle is now also the most remarkable back surgery patient ever! I ran by today to take a Mother’s Day gift to my aunt. He’s walking up stairs to the second floor, he’s taking walks around the block, he is off pain medications… he had surgery six days ago! I hope his recovery continues to go swiftly because I know a little boy who is dying to see his favorite uncle again. This morning he told me, “I get ice cream cone. Aunt Barb! Uncle Ward!” then got in his toy car and pedaled off.