Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Memories of Uncle Bob

Last week we buried Uncle Bob. Despite the fact that the bar was ridiculously low, he was nevertheless my favorite uncle.

Two of my earliest memories are of him. I peed on him when my diaper was being changed. And I held him at gunpoint shortly after he returned from Vietnam.

Neither memory is quite real. Both are more like rememories: I remember remembering as a child peeing on Uncle Bob. And the gun incident was a story told repeatedly throughout my childhood, so much so that's it's embedded in my mind as if it were a memory.

My father's pistol was stored in the front closet of our home in Wichita. I was two and playing unsupervised. Blah blah blah. I pulled the gun on him. How's that for a homecoming after a tour of duty?

Perhaps my happiest memories are of Uncle Bob, of the summers we'd spend together at my grandparents' home in northwest Arkansas. I learned to be jealous of his attention when his son was born. In many ways I was always jealous of my cousin. But my cousin hardly registers at all in my memories of Uncle Bob.

In 1977 he gave me and my sisters LPs for Christmas. One of them was Fleetwood Mac's Rumors. I wasn't much into it at the time. But just a few years later my interest in Fleetwood Mac would soar when I rediscovered the album in high school.

I've been listening to those songs for forty years now. I still have that album. And when I listen to digital versions from the cloud, my mind still anticipates the skips and scratches that have been a part of that album, a part of my memories of that album, for forty years.

"Go Your Own Way" is, according to iTunes, my most played track from the album.