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This is a old snapshot photograph of a house in the country, which was a place where memories upon memories were made.
This photo must have been taken shortly after my aunt and uncle purchased it and moved it to their property. I was a little girl, most likely under eight years old when they purchased this house, so it must have been in the mid 1960's. I can remember in the back of my mind walking through this house when it was not even a home yet. I remember that front porch, as it had some soft slats on the floor of the porch and my mom telling me to stay off those boards. I remember hardwood floors that were in need of lots of work and I remember large cracks on the walls. I remember a wasp nest in the corner of one of the bedrooms that housed wasps. And as a very young girl, that was scary. I remember my mom telling my aunt that they had lost their minds with this house. Funny, what your mind will recall when you let it drift back in time.
However, that shell of a house over the years became a home. I remember they worked on it and remember seeing it in stages of being complete. I remember they added a large living room off the back and when it was under construction, it reminded me of a garage. I remember that very house as I grew older became an idea in my mind of how romantic (reminder of just an idea here) of how living on a farm or ranch would be when I grew up and got married. It always seemed like an ideal to me, a romantic sort of life, so different from the life I lived in the city.
But I know now, it really was not the house at all, but the two individuals that made it a home and who loved each other in the most romantic way. They always sorta seemed so mismatched to me, as my aunt was so girly and so pretty and you just had a hard time visioning her working on a cattle ranch or help with planting crops or baling hay. My uncle, was the picture of a rugged cowboy and a hard worker. He was the first REAL cowboy I ever knew. I remember how he would walk in the door and his very presence and size filled up the door frame. He'd be dirty and sweaty from working and most likely tired as all get out, but he always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. Always. Their relationship was magical. Special. They were a team and they made it work during good times and bad.
We lost my Auntie in 2003 and my Uncle Dee, who was already suffering from Parkinson's disease struggled with the loss of his wife and friend. The laughter that used to be present in that house was put to rest and the laughs and smiles were few and far between. The last few years have been hard for him. But the toll that disease took on his body and spirit never could shadow the person he always has been in my eyes. Strong. Present. Faithful. Rugged. Authentic.
He was the one of the ones who were there with my beloved grandmother when she left this world. He was with my Aunt as well, holding her hand. When my father passed, and my aunt was too sick to come to the service, my uncle came. Not out of any loyalty to my father, but because it was the right thing to do. A real example of what it really means to be a man. That is what I think of when I think of my Uncle Dee.
This week my rugged, cowboy uncle was put on Hospice and he is on his journey to forever green pastures as I type this out. I know my aunt will be waiting for him when the time is right. It is hard to say goodbye. But it is a little easier knowing he will be free of this horrible disease and will be holding my aunt in his arms again.
I am thankful that I had such wonderful examples in my life that fairytale endings that really do come true. Two people who were really different as night and day who had the most loving marriage of any I can remember from my youth. I am sure it was not perfect and I am sure there were lots of struggles, as that is how life is.
However, for a young girl looking in from the outside, it was as perfect as I could imagine. I treasure the great memories of love, laughter, oh the laughter, I can still hear it today, and family that worked with and for each other. Some people live their whole lives and only read about this kind of marriages in novels or books. I am lucky to have lived in a family where I got to experience it first hand and have the memories to cherish of special people and special times.
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