It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been jotting down words on this blog space since 2009. I’ve never been very good at being consistent with the timing. The words come when the words come. Over the years I’ve written about motorcycles, coffee, road trips, and my personal philosophies of life, work and happiness. But the posts that get the most attention through the various social media sites are my stories about family and childhood memories. Not everyone who reads this blog is a motorcycle rider. Some are not the least bit interested in coffee, let alone coffee roasting and I’m absolutely certain that no one is interested in my philosophy of life! However, the one thing we all share as a common bond is family. We all have our stories….lots of stories…some funny, some sad and some even a little bit scandalous.
It seems like I’m quickly running out of family these days, at least those beyond my immediate household. Just this past week I lost another Aunt. I’m down to one and I have no uncles left. But what I do have is a lot of great memories and more than one juicy story.
Like the story of Uncle Jim, the bank robber. Or Aunt Peggy, the best fisherman I ever met. Then there is Kenny Boy and his infamous Ford Bronco…oh the stories that Bronco could tell! Uncle John, the man with the green thumb and no slouch with a rod and reel himself…who I heard tell my father one day that he was the “most sarcastic son of a bitch I ever met!” Haha! You know what? It was true! Even Dad didn’t argue with him about that! Actually I think my brother Steve had him beat. We Shepherds are well aware that we are not known for the kindness of our words.
Now I sort of understand how poor Aunt Ruth, who always seemed much too sweet for the likes of our rowdy clan, ended up with such a band of heathens…she married into the family. But my Aunt Betty, well I just don’t know what happened there. She was so nice and quiet and gentle that it would have been impossible to ever be mad at her. Yet somehow she was born and raised a Shepherd. Then again, she did marry Jim the bank robber!
And then there was Clyde. Clyde was what I call a big personality. He could not be ignored. He was the kind of Uncle a nephew was drawn to; the sort of Uncle who would slip you a drink when you were too young for such things, or a maybe a smoke (no, he never did either) or tell an off color joke in your presence, then wink. He might even include you in on some scandalous shenanigans that the rest of the family would always be trying to protect you from. In other words, he was the “cool” uncle. And because of that, he was the generator of many stories, some of which I would do well not to pen on this page, so I won’t.
I’m an Uncle myself you know. However, I must admit that I’ve not been a very good one to my niece and nephews. I wasn’t the “cool” one or the “nice” one. Mostly I was just a jackass in one form or another. So far I haven’t even left any great stories for them to share. Well, except for maybe the time that I thought it would be cool to create a trail of gunpowder like they did in the Westerns, then light it and see what happened. Well, I will tell you what happened; my niece Carie and I, well, our eyelashes were burnt off and our faces blackened in a flash of fire and a cloud of smoke!
Once in a while, when I’m feeling nostalgic, I’ll pull out a story from the dusty vault in my mind and relive it. We all have them. In many ways we are all the same: Aunts and Uncles, Nieces and Nephews…Saints and Sinners.