Mundane Doesn't Describe It

For the slackatudinally challenged.

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I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting. Mark Twain, Hard work doesn't harm anyone, but I do not want to take any chances. - Unknown, I am retired and have tried to do as little as possible - slowly. Me.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Cherish What You Have.

My favorite Uncle was considered a little crazy by the rest of the family. He was one of these people who were so intelligent, that sometimes you don’t know how to deal with them. He was a fighter pilot during WWII and I have a picture of him from back during then. He was a college grad who had his teaching credentials, and was one of my teachers for awhile in our little grammar school. When I was growing up he and my aunt, my father’s sister had been trying to have children. They didn’t have a child for a long time, and since there was an overabundance of kids in my house, they became my surrogate parents. I spent many hours with them once I got old enough to walk the mile and a half to their house. Both he and my Aunt never showed anything to me but kindness and love. My Uncle taught me how to drive.

I was ten years old and he had an old Ford Falcon. It was a standard shift with four on the column. For those not old enough to know what four on the column is, just imagine you’re shifting gears with a stick coming our from the steering wheel column. It’s the classic H pattern. Pulling back and up is reverse, back and down is first, forward and up is second, and forward and down is third.

We lived on the farm way back in the country, and we had a gravel road going in front of our house. It was perfectly straight and about 4 miles long. My uncles would patiently sit in the passenger side and put me through the motions of learning to shift the gears while learning that there was a clutch also. Up and down this gravel road we’d go, with the car looking like it was coughing itself to death. The man had patience because I’m not a fast learner. I finally mastered how to smoothly start off in first gear and then transition to second and third. By third gear I was Master of the Universe. Keeping the car on the road and dogging potholes, I felt like my world was opening up. I was going faster than a walk and it was under my control. It was mechanical and I didn’t have to put any effort into walking or peddling. For you that know me, this was slacking at its zenith. Oh how I loved my Uncle for introducing me to this most perfect form of slacking.

After I had mastered the driving to his satisfaction, I would always pester him to let me drive by myself. If he were busy doing something, I would ask him to let me take the car for a ride up and down the road. More times than not, he would let me. Now I had an older brother that anytime he could drive a car, he acted like he was at Daytona. Me on the other hand, took things slowly. I didn’t have to feel like I was going a hundred miles an hour. I only had to feel that I was sitting on my butt and moving someplace. The Slacker’s Code again. Anyway, my Uncle had taught me well, and I followed all his rules for driving. I never got over 35 mph and if another car was coming toward me I pulled over to the side of the road until it passed. Remember I lived waaaaayyyyy back in the country on a gravel road and there weren’t that many cars that came through there. So letting a ten-year-old take the car back in the early Sixties wasn’t that big of a deal. It was a rite of passage back then to be trusted to drive a couple of miles up and down the road. My Uncle gave that to me and to this day I remember and love him for that.

When you get older you start looking back at all the family you’ve lost. My Uncle died when I was thirteen and that effected me greatly. He had what was called a bad heart back then. Today he could have probably had surgery and lived a long life. I really loved him and my Aunt, who was also my favorite Aunt. As I said before, they were my surrogate parents. When you have a lot of brothers and sisters you feel left out sometimes. Middle child syndrome I think. My Uncle and Aunt both gave me something I desperately needed at that time. A feeling of being special and knowing that they always had time for me. It’s funny that I miss them more now than when I was younger. Cherish what you have now, because time is so short.

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