When I was little, going out to my grandparents in the middle of the Texas panhandle was a chore. They were good honest people but the library was always closed and it was always just a little boring. It was church and sitting around. Le sigh.
Usually once a visit we went to my grandpa's sister's house. She never had kids, my Aunt Elmer, and her and her husband Uncle P would keep us all in stitches narrating supposedly true stories of things my mom and her brother did when they were little. We didn't believe them, not one bit, but it was always such a nice change to see how Grandma and Grandpa interacted with them. Just being people, normal people, not a Grandma and a Granddad but people you could like to hang out with, even if you were related to them.
As I got older, I really got into the idea of visiting my grandparents and Uncle P and Aunt Elmer. I enjoyed it. They were all so darn feisty. Uncle P always had some chocolate or fizzy drink hidden somewhere for us, and they always had a little ankle-biting dog that would crack me up as it tried to bite my brother: first Walter, then Bitsie. (They were smart dogs). They were all so short, it was like Big Jen In The Land Of The Midgets.
Uncle P died today.
He was the last of those I remember there in the panhandle. We saw him last year, when we were in the US visiting, and I had a chance since to connect and talk to him over the phone. He never really understood the whole "Germany" thing, but he was consistently awesome, and feisty up til the end.
This is when people start to feel old, I think, when their loved ones die. I just feel like my heart has been broken into pieces. I am so sad.
RIP, Uncle P. I hope to see you around.
16.Sept.1914 - 23.June.2009