Monday, August 22, 2011

In Memory of Uncle Moe

Such a wonderful uncle! Comparing our childhoods once, Danny and I got on Sandy’s case because of the three of us she had the best godparents assigned to her: Uncle Moe and Auntie Barbara. Sandy had to concede that point. She got the best! During a visit, Uncle Moe and Auntie Barbara would sometimes pull Sandy aside and give her a special card or special present, or just mention that she was their godchild. Uncle Moe and Auntie Barbara took that responsibility seriously. Ha, Danny had to sometimes ask “Who are my godparents again?” after such a visit. And I remember years later, being at a wedding and introducing a friend of mine to my godmother, who in turn, and as if stunned asked, “I am?” She then asked nervously how my parents’ health was. Sandy we knew was covered with Uncle Moe and Auntie Barbara. They’ve always made their love obvious. (Not just to her either, but to all of us).

Uncle Moe was the kind of uncle who would speak into your life too. He’d want to know what you were up to, who you were hanging out with, what your plans were, etc. You never left a visit feeling unknown by Uncle Moe. I wish I were more like that. He could be funny and serious and then funny and then serious again, in the span of a minute, as he spoke into your life too; tearing up either way; never ashamed of emotions. In fact, of all the “grown-ups” in our family, he always seemed to me the freest with his emotions. I remember one time years after the fact, I was casually mentioning to Ann, a pet from my childhood that had 'run away;' until Uncle Moe stopped me mid sentence. To my surprise He remembered the very pet, and how that pet had REALLY died. Then, tearing up and with a choke in his voice, he told me he wanted me to know the truth about our black lab, "Snowball." He cared! I think I just said, “Oh.”

How children are treated; how the elderly are treated; how animals are treated; I'll always remember him caring about these things. You feel very safe around someone like uncle Moe.

Well, safe, unless you complain about something unimportant! Like when I complained about how sick I was of these warts I’d had on my hand and kneecap. They’d been fine for grossing out girls before, but I was starting into my teens. So hearing me gripe, he told me that he could get rid of them for me that day. I was delighted! Then he told me to have my dad light a cigarette and to bring it over to him, and he’d simply burn them off. Suddenly my concern with my outward appearance seemed so vain! It was what was inside a person that counted after all!!! I never knew if he was kidding or if he’d have actually done it. But I never complained about them around Uncle Moe, again.

Uncle Moe also introduced me to financial security. He came over and gave each of us cousins a real Silver Dollar. It was so big, and so shiny and new! I still have mine. Then he looked at me and as if the coin were magic said, “Tommy! If you never spend this silver dollar, you will never be completely broke.” I just looked at it like I had it made. “Wow! Cool!” Afterwards, I quoted that to impress several of my friends. It was some time later when someone finally said, “Well, yeah, duh! You’ll always have at least one dollar!” The next time I saw him, I asked if that was what he meant and he just cracked up.

Uncle Moe’s voice quality was special. Husky and kind. I’m told some Harveys have it. I do not, but I always wished that I did. And today I really miss hearing it, and I know that all my cousins and Auntie Barbara does too. I’m really praying for you folks in the coming days and weeks, and hope to come see you in September.

Love,
Tom