I found out today that my Uncle Dale died.
Much like with Undle Ed, it's mixed news—sad that he is no longer here, but relieved since he too, was suffering from a neurological disease for years (but a different one from Uncle Ed).
Dale married my Dad's sister Kay, and they lived about two miles from my grandparents house, so I spent a lot of time there as well. And what really stood out about their house was not the garage, but this giant black walnut tree in the backyard that made running around in your barefeet a rather dangerous endevour (the walnuts would fall and slowly decompose into the ground, making for a very bumpy backyard). This was a thing because of the pool they had in the backyard, a rare thing indeed in Michigan.
But what really stood out to me about Dale, aside from Dale himself (being I think 6′2″ or 6′4″) was his love of family and sailing. Every year he and the rest of his family would drive up to Higgins Lake with catamaran in tow. I do recall riding it once, only because I wasn't into the whole “family camping thang” he and his family did every year (roughing it for me is the lack of A/C in the hotel room).
He also taught me how to ride a bike. I was probably seven or eight at the time and Dale took it upon himself to teach me how to ride in the most effective way he knew how—by placing me on a bike on the sidewalk in from of the house (which ran parallel to a 4-lane road) and shoving hard. All I had to do was keep upright and avoid falling into traffic, the large blue mailbox or the utility poles. I learned how to ride a bike in three days.
Effective … yes. Safe? Probably not.
But I did learn quickly.
So here's to Uncle Dale. And much love to Aunt Kay, and my cousins Joshua, Aaron, Jordan, Caitlin and Ethan.