My last post was September 20, 2012. My Uncle Don died on September 22, 2012. Fast forward to November 27, 2012…my dad called to tell me that my 52 year old cousin had laid down for a nap and didn’t wake. Massive heart attack the apparent cause.
I hadn’t spent a lot of time with any of my cousins since we were children but Facebook has allowed me to follow many of them. What have I learned? My cousin was a man of God. He was a good friend and neighbor. He was a positive influence on a lot of people. He helped his parents. His father was recovering from open heart surgery which he’d had only a few weeks ago.
He lost his first wife in a car accident when his two children were very young. He remarried and had another child who has now lost her father at a very tender age.
I spent a lot of time with Gary and his sisters during summers as a child. They lived on an old motel site on Route 66 in Oklahoma. It was a great place to visit and explore. As I recall, when they bought the place it was a motel, cafe and service station. They closed the cafe and service station but continued to live in the lodging area which they converted into a house. Oddly enough I remember hot summers playing in rows of okra. Picked a lot of it as well but it’s really prickly and makes you itch.
I spent a lot of time learning to play an old piano in the back room. That was probably intentional because I’m sure it was quite annoying. We spent a lot of time with flyswatters seeing who could kill the most flies. Kids today would be bored stiff but we always found a lot to do.
His funeral is tomorrow morning and I won’t be there except in spirit. Another brave soul came here to learn and has now returned home, free and in a much better place. RIP Gary