I guess my Uncle Bob must have died. At least that's the way it seems from putting some comments together on Facebook. I don't suppose I'll be going to the funeral, even though he was probably one of my favorite people; and I doubt that anybody even knew it.
He was married to my mom's sister. He had been a carpenter and he and his wife owned a restaurant or two over the years. He usually tended bar. I always pictured him as what a good bartender should be. I bet he was a good listener, with an easy smile; not looking down on people because of where they might be in life or how they're acting at the moment, but with a firm compassion that valued people for who they were inside, even if they didn't know it themselves at the time.
The reason I liked him is because he always treated me different than everyone else. Oh, I was never 'mis-treated' by any family members, but when we went to gatherings on my mom's side of the family it was always a bit of a struggle for me. She had a really big family; and we were kind of the 'outsiders.' Almost everyone else lived in the same town, but we lived a couple of hours away and didn't really know anybody or anything. So it seemed like they all knew one another, and we were the strangers. Plus the fact that I was always really shy and socially awkward and a "momma's boy" and whatnot... I always felt like everyone thought I was rather childish and small - even when I no longer was a child (though it's probably because I was rather childish). There were a couple of exceptions though, and Uncle Bob was one of them. He always made a point to talk to me, but not in an in-your-face way, or like he was talking "down" to me. And it wasn't because he needed me to like him back either. He was just real mellow and easy going; a quiet guy; never got loud, never drew attention to himself; usually just sat in the corner and most people probably didn't even realize he was around... But he always noticed me, and asked me how I was doing, and he listened to me. He was one of the few people in the world, actually, who made me feel like I was a real person with some kind of worth - even when I was just a kid. I always really appreciated that... and I never once told him.
There was just always something about Uncle Bob that made me really like him. Sort of like he was comfortable with who he was. And he didn't talk to just anybody. So maybe I felt special because he did talk to me.
I dunno... It's kind of weird because I don't even remember the last time I saw him. I've never been very good about attending family functions on either side of the family, and probably especially on that side. But I feel a real loss knowing he passed away. I think it's for the better though, because I'd heard he hadn't been doing so well lately. At any rate, rest in peace Uncle Bob. May you dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.