With Love, Uncle George
I have been fortunate enough to have experienced several miracles in my life, but my favorite one deals with sweetest person I have ever been blessed to have known, my Uncle George.
Uncle George was actually my Great Uncle, my grandfathers brother. The first time I remember meeting him, I had gotten a three speed bicycle for Christmas, and had to wait until the first day of spring to finally get to ride it. I had never had a bicycle with hand brakes before as they were only then just starting to put them on bicycles, and had no way of knowing just how sensitive they were compared to the old pedal brakes. I took off racing down the sidewalk, enjoying the light weight of my new bicycle only to have someone turn the corner just ahead of me, from around the tall bushes that circled the corner property. I grabbed onto the hand brake, the one on the front wheel, and was propelled through the air, over the top of the handle bars, straight into those bushes. I lay there not sure how to move, as I had little branches sticking into me, and I was surrounded by them. Suddenly the bushes were parted, and saw the face of this kindly old silver haired man, who was lifting me out of the brambles.
He was frail of frame, and not very tall, but his sweet expression of concern, the gentleness I saw in his eyes, and the way he had lifted me out of those bushes, held me still as he pulled bits of twigs and leaves out of my hair. He insisted on walking me home, and helped me take my bicycle there as I limped along.
I was surprised when my mother came running towards us, but instead of hugging me, she hugged this man. I was later told that he was her beloved Uncle George, that she had not seen in over a decade.
Uncle George would drift in and out of our lives over the next few years, only staying for short visits, before he was gone again, but when my grandmother died, and my grandfather who was so very lonely after her death needed someone to be with him, Uncle George immediately came to Gramps rescue. The change in my Grandfather was almost immediate. He began to smile again, and although still grieving my grandmothers loss, he was so much more lively, and happy in Uncle George's presence.
My Grandfather had always been special to me, and when he passed on, again it was Uncle George that came to my rescue. He found me crying by myself, and lifted me up in his arms and set me on his lap. He allowed me to cry on his shoulder as he comforted me, and as he wiped away my tears, I told him "Uncle George, my only Grampa is gone!" to which he replied, "Do not worry sweetheart, I will be your Grampa from now on." and he was.
By the time I was grown and had begun a family of my own, Uncle George had eventually given in to my mother's pleas for him to come and live with her. He was the one that took my children for walks, and sang to them, and dried their tears when they cried while they were at mom's house, and they as I did, loved him dearly.
Uncle George was on of those people that never forgot a birthday, no did he miss his chance to bring a box of candy, to what he called "his girls", on Sweetest Day, or Valentines day. He would spend hours picking out, just the right cards to give us for each special day, but all of us got a real kick out of the fact that Uncle George, never signed his cards so as he put it, "We could use them again."
For my Twenty Fourth birthday, my then husband threw a party for me, and all of my immediate family came for the occasion. Uncle George handed me his card, and even as I opened it, I had a strange feeling, shivers running down my back. He had put $5 inside of the card,which I placed back in the envelope. I read the beautiful verse on the card, and then it hit me, the bottom the card was signed, with love, Uncle George. I had never seen his signature before on any of the dozens of cards he had given me over the years, but there it was. I gave him a big hug, and thanked him, but the feeling stayed with me. After the party was over, I was disappointed to find Uncle George's card missing. I searched through the bag of wrapping paper thinking that someone might have picked it up with the garbage, but it was no where to be found. I had hopes of it turning up later when I put my presents away, but it had vanished.
Just over a month later, Uncle George passed away.
Time passed, and I found myself one evening sitting in my kitchen reading a book. My children were asleep, and my husband as usual was off somewhere with one friend or another, so I was virtually alone, when I suddenly decided I had to have a cup of coffee. At that time, this was not a normal thing for me, as I was not yet much of a coffee drinker, but once the thought entered my head, it became a craving.
I set out the peculator, got out the coffee, creamer, sugar and my cup, but when I went to reach for a coffee filter, the package was empty. I had only just purchased a new package in the past week, so I automatically went to the side shelf under my sink to take out the new package, but the package was not where it should have been. By now I was almost desperate for that cup of coffee. So, hoping that I had somehow just put the package away in the wrong place, I emptied out all of the cabinets under the sink, but all I found was another empty package from coffee filters. I slapped the empty package on the side of the sink, and went back to reading my book, but it was not long before that urge for a cup of coffee had me once more out of my chair, rummaging under the sink again in hopes of finding that new package of filters.
When I had scoured each area, every corner and crevice that it might have fallen into, I again put everything back under the sink, but this time, I took the empty package, and laid it inside of the shelf, where I would be sure to see it each time I opened the sink to remind me to again buy more filters. I then went to bed rather than sit there wanting a cup of coffee I couldn't have.
The next day was my birthday, and it started much like any other day. My husband left for work before I got up. I sent my daughter off to school with a kiss on the head, and began my normal day. When my son went down for his nap, I again found myself in the kitchen, this time feeling pretty sorry for myself. It was half way through my birthday, and no one had yet even wished me a happy day. Normally by this time some member of my family would have called to say Happy Birthday, but not this year. My husband had not done so before he went to work, and my daughter was only just in kindergarten, and really did not realize it was my birthday. So there I was, as I said feeling pretty sorry for myself, and to top it off, I could not even have a cup of coffee that I still wanted, despite knowing I had purchased those filters!
So once again, I was about to tear apart the areas under my sink, and I opened up the first cabinet, where the filters should have been, where I had left the empty package to find later, only it was not as it had been. I had left the package in the front of the shelf, the only thing there, and yet, on top of that package now sat an envelope that had not been there the night before.
I opened it up, read through the verse of the card inside, and sat down and cried like a baby as the words at the bottom of the card stared up at me. Someone had remembered my birthday, and made sure I would know he was thinking of me as always. Inside of the envelope was $5 and the card signed "with love, Uncle George".
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