I had just finished having coffee with a good friend today. As was pulling out of the Starbuck’s parking lot my phone rang. It was my mother. She told me she had something to tell me and she didn’t know how I would take it. It was then that I noticed she was crying. I asked her what was going on and she told me my uncle Tony had died. Now my uncle was from my biological father’s side of the family. As I grew up I distanced myself away from that side of the family. They were no good. I was raised by step-father and considered him my real father. There was one exception and that was my uncle. I talked to him once every year, on my yearly trips to Cleveland. I had always had a close relationship with him. Well, closer than the one I had with my biological father. In fact now that I think about it I never slept over my father’s house when I was a kid. I slept over my uncle’s house a lot. It was only him and his wife at the time. They never had any kids. He was “shooting blanks” as he so aptly put it when I once asked him about it a few years ago. She left a few years after they were married because of that. She wanted to be with a man that could give her children. I never really understood it at the time, being a child and all but I remember not seeing much of him around the time it happened. I now remember my own experiences with the break up of my marriage and understand why. I always felt a strong bond with him after my own wife had left because I knew how much he loved his wife and wanted to be with her and how betrayed he must have felt when she left him over something that he couldn’t control.
He was a truck driver when I was a baby. He stopped when I was around 4 or 5 because of an accident he had and had his CDL revoked. From what I was told the accident wasn’t his fault but because there was a death his license was suspended for the minimum amount of time. He also lost his truck, that he owned. When his suspension was up he never bothered going back into the business and just got a regular job working in a factory. I remember spending a lot of time with him growing up. Hell, I spent more time with him than my biological father. I remember playing Battleship with him and he trying to be patient with me because I couldn’t read a grid and kept screwing up the games. I learned to read grids from. I learned about the Bermuda Triangle from him also. He loved that kind of weird paranormal stuff. I sat at his feet while he described to me stories he had read about the strange things that went on there. I was so fascinated by it. I think back now and realize he embellished a lot and some of it was pure BS but it still makes me smile.
I loved it when he would tell me stories like that or tell me scary stories and then try to scare the crap out of me. We would watch the old corny dubbed kung-fu movies together and then imitate them while wrestling afterwards. There was one year when he caught me looking for the Christmas presents he bought. I found them and he yelled at me for being nosey. I was so mad at him because he told my mother and I was grounded because of that. But when Christmas came I forgot all about it and graciously accepted his presents. What child wouldn’t have? After all, it was a robot that transformed into a gun that shot out pellets. It was my favorite present that year. He was always giving me gifts. Especially toy cars. He loved cars. He was a pretty good shade tree mechanic. I asked him once why he never got a job as a mechanic. He told me if he did then it would be a job and he wouldn’t like being a mechanic as much. I always took this advice to heart and that’s why I never became a PC tech. I love PC’s to much to hate them.
As I grew up and moved away I lost contact with him, especially since I wasn’t talking to anyone else from that side of the family. But every time I visited Cleveland I made sure that I found out where he lived or got his number so that I could contact him. For the past few years I only talked to him once a year. The last time I went I took my son with me but he was working and I didn’t have another chance to go back before I left for home. I don’t think he ever saw my son. At least not grown up. As a baby maybe. That makes me sad. I know he would have loved him. Everyone says he is the spitting image of me when I was his age, in looks and mannerisms. And I know my uncle loved me.
So here I sit pouring my heart because I feel bad for not feeling worse than I do. When my mom called me there was an initial outburst of emotion but it quickly subsided. As I wrote this there were times when my eyes teared up but other than that nothing. Tonight I wont do anything different. I’ll watch some TV then go to bed then wake up and go to work like nothing happened. Here is the closest person to me that has ever passed away and I can’t really muster up any emotions to mourn his passing. I can’t even go to the funeral because I’m broke. If there was ever anytime to break my Drunkard cherry it would be now. Maybe then at least I would be a little emotional.
He was only around 48. No one knows what happened to him. Second hand information says he was having some pains and was taken to the hospital. By the time they got there he was dead. I don’t know what happens to us after we die. But whatever it is I hope he is in a better place. Rest in peace Tío Tony.