The first intellectual puzzle to ever present itself to me was shared with my cousin, Tommy. How could his Uncle Steve not be my Uncle Steve? I had three fabulous uncles, smart, handsome, nice men, one of them his father, my Uncle Emile. But he had these Italian uncles, Steve, Matt, and James. When we put together the fact that he had a different set of grandparents, Jim and Bridgette, it started to make sense. (We were very, very young when we tried to figure this all out.)
His Uncle Steve farmed with my uncle and they grew the best strawberries in California, Well, I went to his funeral Thursday morning. Really didn't want to, and didn't have more than a day to make up my mind about it, since I only found out the day before. Knew I was being a big baby about it, but still didn't want to go. But the oddest thing happened Thursday morning - one of my friends in Chicago, who would never ordinarily do this, called me a little before 6 am, my time, Margie was so sorry, said she couldn't believe she didn't remember the time difference. So I told her my funeral conundrum - and she talked me through it. Being sorry you went to a funeral is irrelevant, the only thing to consider is that you can never fix being sorry you didn't go. So I went. And was on time, another benefit to the earliness of that call. One of the main things I remember about Tommy's Uncle Steve is that he always treated me like a grown-up. Only thing to do was be a grown-up and pay my respects to a fine, fine gentleman.