Today, I learned a lot about my Uncle Butch. If there's anything you're picturing about what an Uncle Butch would look like, you may be right. He's 6'4(ish), blonde, blue eyed, and could pretty much kick anyone's ass. Before today, I knew that if I brought a boy home to the family that he would be the first male family member I'd want to size him up. My Aunty Nancy loves to tell the story about the time when she and "Big Ron" (his actual name is Ronald) went to an Italian restaurant in Boston and they thought he was a gangster. The waiters were falling all over themselves getting him everything, replacing his ash tray every time he flicked his cigarette they were lighting for him, filling their drinks without asking any questions, and finally comping his meal. Of course he played the part perfectly, not having a clue who they thought he was supposed to be.
I realized that I almost never spend quality time with my aunt and uncle, and it's my mom's only sister who cares so much about us girls, with her husband that treated us as his own daughters. Aunty Nancy calls me to see how I'm doing, and as I grow older we grow closer. Uncle Butch always tells us, "If any guy gives you trouble, you tell him your uncle will give him a visit." and I smile because I know he's only half kidding. But I couldn't stop thinking this past week how I never really sat down with them before today and had time with them, just the three of us (minus when I was a little kid). They mean so much to me, and I almost feel guilty at how proud of me they are, when I could have spent so many more evenings with them during my trips home from school. He went out special today to the butcher to pick out a specific and beautiful roast to make a nice meal for little old me, and I thought I was just coming over the house for a regular old meal!
To sum up my Uncle, he's a Teamster, he used to own two restaurants a deli and a hot dog stand slash diner, he was a soldier in the Vietnam War, he was a big tough biker, and he would do absolutely anything for his family. God is in his heart, and he has the strength, courage, and heart of a lion... well maybe the heart of a teddy bear lion like the one from Wizard of Oz. If he isn't wearing a polo, a teamster jacket, and holding a cigar and a highball glass of southern comfort, then you aren't looking at my uncle. He says things like, "How's my baby doing?" to all us girls in the family, and make you feel like you were his favorite. Words can't describe the love in his eyes, and the fatherly smile he possesses.
But he's not smoking or drinking these days. In fact, he hasn't been feeling so hot for a while now. I don't like to go into detail, because that's not the important part. If anyone who reads this has a family member they love so much that they would be devastated to lose them, please pray for my uncle. He looked great today, and he seems so vibrant and happy, but this weekend he had to miss my graduation because he was so tired. I just want him to get better, because he deserves it so much working so hard his whole life and caring about all us girls and his kids, wife, and the whole family. If I meet a guy half as good as my uncle someday, and he's not around to size him up, I don't know what I'd do. Prayer really does work, even if you don't believe in it, good thoughts are always welcome.