An unwelcome chance for redemption

I am a few days late in posting this. I hating doing two somber articles so close together but such was life in the winter 62-63.

That friendly neighbor came knocking at the door again late in the afternoon of January 7, 1963. This time it was my Uncle Earl who died. The cancer he battled with for 18 months had finally won. I did not know anything about cancer at the time. When I was older I would realize those Old Gold cigarettes had claimed yet another victim.

We visited with him and my great grandmother just the day before, Sunday the 6th. At that time even I noticed he had the shakes and felt kinda clammy. He just wasn’t in his normal good spirits. He wanted to hug everyone as he said goodbye; not his normal behavior at all. In retrospect I think he knew the time was close.

My Uncle Earl sorta hung the moon in the sky as far as I was concerned. He never married or had children so he tended to spoil an already spoiled child, me.

He could do anything he set his mind to doing and could make the neatest toys from garbage. The three most prominent in my memory are a 1/4 scale windmill, a toy train and an apple picker. Two of those were gifts for me but I only got to see the train that was a gift for my cousins. What makes these items special is they mostly made from scrap tin and tin cans that he worked carefully into the desired shape. For the bearing of the windmill he hand carved a small bit of broken glass to serve as the bearing point for a sharped bolt.

His remote apple picker was a tall juice can with a ramp cut into the side. He cut and brazed a series of "ears" around the top of the can to serve as hooks for breaking the stem. A long tube sewn from discarded sheets served as the method of delivery to hand or basket. Just in case you have no clue what an apple picker looks like, Here is a short tube video using a commercial product and a homemade version.

Now whether he dreamed this up or was inspired by something he saw in one of the many how to magazines he loved to read I don't have a clue. I am certain that had he been alive in the late 70s he would have been building computers because he was already intrigued with the concept; actively reading all published articles about the things to come.

I had no intention of not attending the visitation or my first funeral; that perfect attendance award would just have to wait for another year. The kindness of the school principal who agreed that if I came to school and then left he would not count me absent delayed my fall from grace but the 3 days measles later in the school year would knock me out anyway.

There isn't much you can say that is fun to read about a funeral home visitation; most of that is fairly fuzzy anyway; system overload I think it is called. The actual service held the day after the vitiation was extremely well done. I suspect the hardest service a minister ever conducts is the one he does a family courtesy from someone he has never met and who probably never willing set foot inside a church.

The essence of what the minister said that day is still with me. He read the traditional 23 psalm and went on to say how that if the departed one had even the tiniest sliver of faith that the psalm writer had that he was surely saved.

We buried Uncle Earl and immediately took my great grandmother to the hospital with acute pneumonia. She would spend almost 3 weeks in the hospital, make a full recovery and live for another 13 years most of which was with quality.

In Memory of the Uncle who hung the moon,
Earl Meredith Chinn
xx-xx-1905 ~ 01-07-1963


More in Memory Lane :

The first death.........Read More
Where did all the jobs go.........Read More


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Rohit posted    Posted:  01-26-2013
I wanted to spend a mnitue to thank you for this.
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Michelle posted    Posted:  01-26-2013
Ho ho, who wodula thunk it, right?
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