Nothing, however, is as successful at bringing a family together quite like a funeral. It's sad to think that this is sometimes what it takes, but at the same time, celebrating the life of a loved one with other loved ones is time well spent.
My Uncle Speed would have loved his own funeral. So much laughter, all the cousins together for the first time in thirty + years. Cards were played, stories were told, tears were shed, and hugs were shared all around.
The world lost a great man when Speedy left this earth. He was a great artist, a practical jokester, an architectural engineer, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, an uncle, a friend.
At his funeral, the pastor of the church asked those who wanted to, to come forward and share a story about Speed. A memory or two. I was taken off guard to say the least. First of all, I didn't have anything prepared and as I am NOT a public speaker, this was a detriment to anything I would or could have shared anyway. Secondly, there are so many Speed stories that I can think of, that I froze. I needed to hear what others were sharing, but at the same time, I was picking through my brain for Speed memories I could possibly share with others without breaking up in front of people.
I could have talked about me spending the first few months of my life with Uncle Speed and Aunt Jo because my mom got sick with Hepatitis and couldn't care for me. How Uncle Speed wouldn't let me go to the baby sitter if Jo couldn't watch me, so he would stay home from work to be with me. But I don't really remember that, as I was only a baby.
Maybe the first time I ever caught a fish. It was in his pond, at the foot of the "mountain" that was left over after he dug it. Or, one of the many summers I spent at his farm, getting up with the roosters, gathering eggs because he told me I couldn't eat breakfast or lunch until I did "my chores."
The ole "mongoose" trap he had rigged. Feeding his pet squirrels with a baby bottle. I finally thought of one that would have fit, so I decided I would just blog it instead (what since the funeral is already over and all).
At one time, Uncle Speed raised Lhasa Opsa's. His main breeder pup was named, Angie. I remember the first time I saw her, I fell in love. She was so pretty. White, long hair. We had gone to Oolagah to spend the weekend at Speed's and the minute I walked in the door I was all over that fluffy dog. And then Speed said something like "This is Angie, and since we named her after you, you will have to pick up her dog poop if she poops in the house, so keep an eye on her."
Never have I watched a dog so closely in my life! When she did happen to poo, I must have had my back turned or left the room. Uncle Speed called me into the living room, handed me the tissue and said "Clean it up!"
I had tears in my eyes as I bent down and picked up that darn pooh and so did Speed. His, though, were from holding back his laughter and he kindly opened the lid of the trash can for me to toss Angie's pooh. He didn't make me clean it up again though. I think, in spite of the ornery side in him, he did have enough compassion that he wasn't going to put a 9 yr old through that again. To this day, I still have a problem picking up dog poop during a dogs training stages. I typically would put a napkin over it and wait for Alan to get home.
But - I will never forget my first time picking up the pooh. Thank goodness they didn't name any other dogs after me.
I'll miss you Uncle Speed. And I'll never forget you.