I just got back from a trip of the lifetime, rowing down the Grand Canyon for 6 days. While the trip was amazing, I climbed out of the Grand Canyon to get the news that my Uncle Randy has passed away while I was gone. It was sort of uncanny to me as we hadn't talked in a while but had a good long chat the day before I left on my vacation.
My Uncle was always around throughout my childhood. There were a bunch of years where he lived with us and with my real father divorced and usually out of state, and my step father almost always overseas, my Uncle was certainly a big impact on me as a father figure. He was a giant of a man around 6'4", who was liked by all and extremely friendly and outgoing. I wanted to share a couple of thoughts about my Uncle.
As a child I remember driving with my mom to pick him up from his Navy ship in Long Beach.
I remember the time when he had a full face cast from a bad motorcycle accident and he would scare the living shit out of me pretending to be the Gila monster. I must have been 4 or 5 back then.
He took me on my first camping trip up in Big Bear near the gold mines.
He took me on my first fishing trips.
He took me on my first motorcycle ride.
He was probably the first person to take me out shooting guns, and if he wasn't the first, we certainly did it a lot together.
He would discipline me when I was just about to enter my teens and my mom would try to spank me and I would laugh at her.
He took me to Vegas for the first time on a "fishing trip" to Lake Mead and my brother and I stayed up pretty much all night playing video games while he gambled.
I will never be able to listen to The Eagles, The Rolling Stones or the Beach Boys without thinking about times driving around in his muscle cars through the desert.
Simply put, he was a good man who meant a lot to me and even though I spent very little time with him over the last 20 years, his influence and impact on me has been with me through all of my years. My uncle was a big part in helping to make me who I am today.
I will miss him dearly, and will always hold those memories we shared deep in my heart.
Rest in peace dear Uncle.