Uncle Dennis wasnt as
handsome as Clark Gable who played Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind,
but that was where the difference stopped. He was well-dressed, fine
mannered, a gentleman of the south in every other way. His grandmother
of Kentucky was a strong-willed woman it was told. She certainly made an
impression on her grandchildren.
When we speak of a person
being clean and well-dressed today, usually it means their sweats just
came out of the dryer. In contrast it was a regular chore for him to
carry his clothing back and forth to the cleaners. When he returned to
the ranch from town, he brought two things with him. One was groceries
and the other were the plastic-covered hangers which held clean, pressed
suits and freshly ironed shirts. Handkerchiefs for his pocket matched
his ties and were of the same fabric. Rich looking Cowboy boots usually
always accompanied his expensive selection of clothing and those boots
were equally as costly. To complete his ensemble was the ever present
clean and sharp 3x Beaver Stetson Hat. A professional blocker of hats
kept it that way.
"Im so happy to see
you!" I ran out the door of our small house to greet him as he drove up.
My uncle was, indeed, welcome. As much as I wanted to be a part of my
husbands family there was not a comfortable feeling of trust with them,
yet. The advice and direction I needed were here with my own.
Uncle Dennis raised his
family and they were off and gone busy with their lives. The time he
spent raising them was recorded as experience and this gave him
knowledge for knowing what to do, it seemed, in any situation.
I spoke to him of the
events involving the center, the appointments for therapy and what had
happened along the way. He listened quietly and when I handed him the
bottle of pills Rods aunt gave me he was suddenly alert.
"You dont need these."
This was all he said.
The bathroom in the tiny
house was all but in the front room and was actually just steps away. He
took the few steps toward that door, quietly shook the pills out into
the toilet and flushed them. Nothing else was said about that.
"Im not sure about what
Im doing. Always before I had you, or Mother, or Dad to counsel me.
This is just all too much." This was no exageration.
"You have a spiritual
family, you know. Any where in the world you have them." Uncle Dennis
was always able to make an impression on a person with a few words.
There were times when he would joke with me.
"Well, you dont need a
ball bat to make an impression on someone!" He would laugh and this is
how he approached a problem.
So it was, we were busy
about town, meeting new acquaintances one or another we then called,
One man owned a farm
equipment supply. His home was just across from the business. When I met
his wife, we instantly liked each other. She had Indian blood, about as
much as I. This gave us a bond instantly. They informed me of the time
and place where meetings were held. How little I knew then, time and
unforeseen circumstances would make such heavy happenings upon all our
lives. To be able to see into the future wasnt a problem at the time.
All I was going to learn was how the hurt of struggling through Rhondas
condition was no longer something I would have to do alone.
Uncle Dennis was in his
element. He was a people person, as the saying goes. He loved making new
friends. Somehow or another he could fit into their lives as easily as
if he was their dear uncle instead of mine. Some even referred to him as
My life suddenly was tied
up with Bible study, community service through Bible study and
socializing with my new friends.
"Do you think Uncle
Dennis, your husband, Rhonda and you could come to a get together we are
having this weekend?" So it was this busy little college town
congregation had life and were educated in all the social amenities.
All the stumbling blocks
around the circumstances with my child being with me seemed to be
thumped away by some larger hand. Most were aware Rhonda had injuries
and certainly knew about the therapy but all were so polite not a
question was asked. They simply accepted us, as is, to use one of
Mothers expressions. This was a bright and happy time in our lives
despite what we had come through.
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