Memories of a Dear Uncle

Stoney
The name of a man
I never knew growing up
But Uncle Hank talked about nonstop
Like some freight train
Coming and going
Without scheduled stops, and
Most importantly, without even a destination

I was curious–about Stoney, my Uncle Hank
And of course what came before all curiosity
Something deeper
Taking us to the ocean’s bottom
Something today that still keeps me up
Well past midnight
Well past all memories

I think of the Antler’s
So many years later
A bar, a place where working men hung out
And dreamed about something larger
Than the lives they lived
The woman they married
The children they fathered
Brought into the world
Like cold rain on some nondescript Sunday night
After seeing their mother
In that hideous, souring smell nursing home
That even death avoided
Till the very last moment

Stoney doesn’t matter
Not now
He’s long gone
He was just a reason
For my uncle to dream
Past the reality he lived
My uncle, childless
Wished for his own
But none came
A man who dropped dimes, and sometimes quarters
Into our sweaty palms
As we stood on the porch
And waved goodbye
Before he walked slowly up the street–
The same street we played on
The same street my uncle died on
And the same street I left
Moving on beyond the dimes and quarters
To some place else
Some place now
Where time grows short
Walking much faster than my long gone uncle
Who now plays with Stoney
In the side yard of grandma’s house
A place I desperately try to remember

6 thoughts on “Memories of a Dear Uncle

  1. No picture of the snake. It sneaked off before that could happen. Nice photos you got of Wade Chapel, however.

  2. “Uncle Hank talked about nonstop
    Like some freight train
    Coming and going
    Without scheduled stops, and
    Most importantly, without even a destination”
    This is fantastic!!

  3. I remember parts of this one. Thanks!
    Nice photos, too. There was a nice snake in our yard yesterday…

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