|Uncle John on his porch|
He is just two and a half years behind me in age but, at 6'8", a full eight inches taller. His voice has the tone of a bear in springtime asking for a fresh cup of coffee. When he was in HS we called him Lurch. He had that kind of presence. Generally, he is a kind soul, but when angry he is like a bear in springtime without a cup of coffee.
As kid's we shared a bedroom. He would steal my comics. Sometimes I would get them back. Other time's he would hide them in the attic and disavow any knowledge of how the got there... except we all knew he was the only one who went into the attic. It was his cave when we were kids.
Now he lives on six or so acres in northern Washington. His wife is a Canadian. They have apples and pears and cherries and kiwi that they grow and press into juice or make jams and jellies, depending on how plentiful the harvest was; when it is a good harvest he mails me a box of jam at Christmas. His wife cans salmon and halibut and fixes the plumbing. He tends to the chickens and geese, which they give names to, but subsequently eat. He once told of having to buy a slingshot to shoot at the eagles that would perch in an old dead tree on the property and prey on his chickens. Finally he just cut down the tree. His chickens are truly free range and he rounds them up at night. I think he buys them comic books, too, just so he can steal them.
I remember driving with him from Wisconsin to Idaho back in '77 when he first moved west, but before he moved to Washington. His old Pinto station wagon would not make it up a mountain in Montana, four-cylinder cars need more air than mountains will give, and I had to push it up the last few feet. Then he scared the shit out of me driving down. He likes mountains. I visited once and we went camping in the Olympic mountains. His idea of camping is just a sleeping bag, some granola bars... and a pint of whiskey. Maybe a flashlight. I think I preferred sharing a bedroom with him rather than a mountain, but he taught me then that reading stars can be more entertaining that comic books.
They are having a party next week, always the last week in August, when their Canadian friends come down from Vancouver and they harvest blackberries and drink wine and sit around grilling Salmon, playing music, smoking dope and eating fresh veggies. I hope to go next year.
It is almost time to give him a call. I hope he has had his coffee, see, I wouldn't want to talk to him when he is grouchy. He may steal my comics....but that would be ok, cause once you share a bedroom with a brother..... it is almost better than sharing parents.