We lost Greg Allman this weekend. I was privileged to see him in Montgomery with our good friends Bill and Lee.
And, out of the blue, I was contacted by my sweet cousin Melissa today. She lives in Colorado and saw my blog. We stayed on the phone through Facebook messenger. (Very scary view for her I am sure, Reagen said I hold the phone way too close to my face.) She requested a story about her dad.
My Uncle Tommy. Gone way too soon. Tender hearted. Loving. A total fun mess. There is no way I could describe him in a way that would do him justice. But, out of love, I will try.
What do I miss most? Without a doubt, hands down -His laugh. His chuckle. His way of filling the room with sunshine. His grandson Andrew has it, and I think that is awesome.
What can I tell you that you don’t know? I am 9 years older, so I was privileged enough to be able to put my child in his arms. I wish you could have seen his sweet tenderness. I know you were so young, and I only tell you in hopes of you knowing that he would have done even more with your own children.
His effort-I know you would have loved to see him hold a baby and give advice. He brought me a sack of baby food and pulled out the jars to individually tell me which ones were the favorites of each of you. That always stuck in my mind that he fed you and took care of you and more importantly, he remembered. He paid attention. Something I have always struggled with as a mother.
His joy-We were poor, but we did not feel it. He babysat us a lot. We played games and had challenges. We strained our guts to hold our feet off the floor for 3 minutes trying to win the lottery promise that he would give us $20. There was no hope for me. Johnny turned beet red and got the closest.
We made easy bake oven cakes, mine was lumpy. He let me eat his.
I tried to stump him with a word he could not define. I chose “contours”. I saw it on the back of eye shadow instructions and I just knew a man would not know the definition of the word. I lost. Again.
I remember going to his house and laughing at Yosemite Sam stomping and shouting, “Ooh, I get more free beer this away”. I did not know he said things like that. Once again, I did not pay attention.
But, not really. I have always thought about life as the road straight in front of you. I later saw something about-what is around the curve, that you can’t see. Maybe that is what this is.
An opportunity to share memories of beautiful people that time and distance would ordinarily separate.
So to All of his children-Your dad would be so proud. He was kind and understanding. He was rare. And rare beautiful blooms do not last long, but that doesn’t make them any less beautiful. It just makes them more precious.
I think about how sweet all of you were when we lost mother and you lost him 20 years ago. I love you and on behalf of my sweet, sweet uncle, he does too. He would have paid attention. I know this. I witnessed it personally.
And if there’s any comfort-it is within all of us, each one of us has the ability to let out that deep heartfelt chuckle. And laugh, laugh, laugh.
So in honor of Greg Allman, I dedicate “Sweet Melissa” to you and “I’m no Angel” to me (and Granny).
Your “favorite cousin” Cheryl