My Uncle Bud died. Well, Great-Uncle Bud, real name Eugene, but he was always Bud to me. He was my Grandpa Hank's brother. They looked kind of alike with their shiny bald heads and man, could they both rock the old man specs.
Uncle Bud was a complicated person, but who isn't? I wasn't old enough to perfectly understand the complexities of his early years. And I'm thankful for that. To me, Uncle Bud was the cool guy that was born on the Fourth of July. We saw him every year on his birthday, until he no longer could handle all the commotion that company brought. I've felt like something was missing every Fourth of July since then.
Uncle Bud lived on a river with a slow current and a pebbly bottom. Perfect. Kid. Paradise. He liked to invent thing. Although I don't know if it was original to him, he did have a potato cannon launching spuds for us kids one year. He made model replicas of a John Deer tractor with teeny tiny parts. My mom is a proud owner of one of the very few of these. He always had firecrackers and bottle rockets. He used to light the firecrackers in his hand and then toss them in the air. One finger was mysteriously shorter than the others. We kids never knew how he lost the tip, but we suspected it was fireworks related.
On one visit to our house, Uncle Bud and Grandpa Hank were sitting on lawn chairs in the yard. Grandpa's dog and our dog were playing. We'd never really thought much about the dog's names before. Buddy and Henry, were named just because the names fit and we like them. Grandpa tipped back in his chair and said, "Well, what do ya know, Bud and Henry!" And we laughed. Grandpa died when I was fourteen. I'm sure he welcomed Bud into Heaven and I hope they're laughing.
Bud introduced us to the hidden campground pictured above. I thank him every time I'm there and will continue to do so as I pass this treasure on to my son. (And, no, I won't tell you where it is without DNA testing to see if you're family)
The last time I saw Bud, he was in such pain he could hardly bear life. I'm so glad that's over.
Thank you Bud. For your love. You always made me feel like I was just the person you were waiting to see. I'll miss you.