Sunday, January 20, 2013

Family Matters

A family is a group of people related to one another by blood or marriage
⎯ or is it?

My Uncle Lee died recently. He was not related to me by blood or marriage; yet, he was, and always will be, my Uncle Lee. I first met him when I was six years old. A friend of my Uncle John's, he lived with my family while looking for a job when he first moved to my hometown. He was a consummate bachelor with a ready smile, a uniquely odd but interesting laugh, and when I was a youngster, smoked a pipe. Coming from a family who didn’t smoke cigarettes and the like, it seemed rather exotic. Uncle Lee was always interested in whatever it was you were doing in your life. While he had his own family, he adopted mine⎯mom, dad, brother, sister, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. We all loved him, but more importantly, we mattered to him and he loved us.

Just what is family? How do I define it?

Family is a collection of those people you love, and hold dear to your heart.

Remember the old adage: you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family. Well, I’d say that just depends on your definition of family. We should all be so lucky⎯to be loved and thought of as family even when technically we are not. If you’ve never thought of your friends as family, perhaps it’s time; because there is one thing I know⎯family matters.

Uncle Lee will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.  In closing, a few memories of my dear friend, Uncle Lee:

501 Levi jeans and denim shirts
Cinnamon twists and hot chocolate
Learning the finesse of shooting marbles
Hot chocolate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
Learning to play poker
Irish Spring soap and sweet tobacco smoke
Kindness and caring
Long conversations
Someone I could always count on
Loves me like family
Family portrait photo courtesy of rachel_pics