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Gone but not Forgotten


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I scramble downstairs, take a tight turn, and plop myself down on a kitchen chair. My hand clenched the underside of the chair. Half of my body is excited while the other half of me is shaking with nerves. My mom called everyone down into the kitchen; she didn’t tell us what it was for. Many different thoughts scattered my head. I thought, was this good news, something exciting or was this bad news, something absolutely terrible? My hands got sweaty, slipping off the chair, my sight went black. I crossed my fingers, hoping the news wouldn’t be bad.

My mom said, “Today, I got a call, Uncle Stevie passed away; his brain shut down. Grandad will be over tonight, he is going to have dinner with us tonight.”

My eyes water and fill with tears. I want to run away, escape reality and put myself into a daydream. My body filled itself with guilt; I felt that I had done something to make this happen. I blamed it on myself, wishing I could rewind and prevent this tragedy from happening. But I knew that it had happened and there is nothing I can do about it; I had to close my eyes and go back in time, to the moments we had together.

I always looked forward to him coming home; he was my favorite Uncle, my best friend. Even though he was currently living in Colorado, he cared so much about our life, and what we were up to. One tradition that we had was he would pick me up from school (if we had it) and bring me somewhere special. He would drive to Burr school; and wait in the cafeteria for me to get dismissed. I saw his jolly face; I took a running start, jumped in to his big bear hug as he picked me up and twirled me around. We either went to Ye Yacht Yard; we would pick up ice-cream and just talk. We chatted for a long time, getting the scoop on the last happenings in our life. But if it was too cold, we went to my favorite hot chocolate place, Chat-n-Chew, and talked while slowly sipping our drink and nibbling our cookies. Whenever I walked into the doors my heart started pounding, my eyes jumped back and forth on their offered selections not knowing what to choose. He wasn’t married, so he didn’t have any kids, but when he came it was like more father-daughter time for me, he was exactly like a second father.
I went to Southport Brewing Company (SBC) with my mom, 2 sisters, Sarah and Allison, and of course Uncle Stevie. I enter with my feet tiptoeing across the floor. We get placed at a round table with a white tablecloth. The aroma in the air is intriguing, making my mouth start to water, my stomach growling. We were laughing and talking, trying to figure out what food we wanted. I burst out laughing, but starting panicking at the same time. I was sitting next to Uncle Stevie on his right.

Through my laughter I said “Uncle Stevie, your menu is on fire.”
Uncle Stevie replied with a smile on his face, “Hahaha, nice catch. Thanks Kelly.”
I was very surprised with his reaction; calmly he took his menu out of the flame and carefully blew it out. The good thing is the menu’s plastic protection only got melted a touch, not enough that the paper would catch on fire. The rest of the evening was pretty normal, no more crazy events. Whenever I go to SBC I look for the melted plastic menu, ever since it has not shown up. The menu is only one piece of the pizza Uncle Stevie and I created throughout the years.
My uncle had a soft spot in his heart for everyone, especially his family. Every birthday he would send us a sweet, thoughtful card written in all capital letters. But, he didn’t leave it at that, on the night of our birthday, he would call us and sing “Happy Birthday” in the jolliest tone. He never missed a birthday.
Another tradition was “Uncle Stevie sleepovers”, what an experience! We have a pull-out couch in the family room; it is green with a striped texture, fluffy pillows add the special Milicia touch to it. We went nuts when he came over and slept. We would say a quick “goodnight” to him then ran upstairs to hope the time flew by so we could wake him up in the morning. He didn’t receive light wake up calls. We sprinted downstairs and leaped on top of him.
“Good morning” we yelped in our crackly morning voices.
He always let us hop next to him and turn on the T.V. The First thing that we turned to was the news/weather for the day. After we talked about upcoming plans for the day. I crossed my legs, put my hands on my knees, listening intently, hoping for sunshine. I loved it when he slept over, he made it so natural.
One year Uncle Stevie came home during an April vacation. The movie “The Incredibles” had come out. We weren’t going away; we didn’t have to because Uncle Stevie came to us. Uncle Stevie thought that it was a great idea to go and see it, it was something fun to do. I thought, why not? We took my best friend, and next door neighbor, Ella Corcoran, with us. My 2 sisters also came along with Uncle Stevie, me, Ella and my mom. The movie was excellent, something that I will never forget. After we went to Super Duper Weenie for lunch. We sat at a very long picnic table, just the 6 of us. The food arrived and my taste buds were dancing, a mouth watering sensation. Uncle Stevie visits were exactly similar to going on vacation.
Since Uncle Stevie lived in Colorado, we didn’t get to see him very often. He only came a couple of times a year. As well, we never stepped flight on a plane to see him halfway across the country, Allison was too young. The time passed very quickly until we saw him again but other times it went by as slow as molasses’s. Those months could be boring, or action-packed; but whatever it was our catch-up days took awhile, chattering, losing our breath within seconds because of the speed of our voices, moving 100 mph. The last time I saw him before he passed away in October 2008 was January 2008. My mom’s side of the family coordinated and hosted a surprise 80th birthday party for my Grandfather. Uncle Stevie flew in for the special party; Grandad didn’t know about the surprise visitor or the party. My grandfather only lives 1 ½ miles away. In order to surprise my grandfather we had to hide Uncle Stevie at our house. Whenever we got in the car Uncle Stevie had to sit in the back seat, in case we saw Grandad driving around town. We still made it fun and he did the same thing as always.
Before leaving to get to the party, everybody had a job. I was “teamed” up with Uncle Stevie. Our job was to put the balloons into the car. I gripped onto the balloons tightly as Uncle Stevie turned the chilled doorknob to the right. I slowly teetered outside, hoping I wouldn’t lose the grasp on the balloons. Uncle Stevie opened the trunk of the car, as we quickly shoved the balloons into the car. I yanked open the side door to climb on the seats, scurrying to try to get the back, stabilizing the balloons as Uncle Stevie shut the door. I hurdled out of the door, and gave Uncle Stevie a high-five. Mission accomplished!
Then we figured we wouldn’t see Grandad within the 10 minutes it took to drive to the Hunt Club, so Uncle Stevie sat in the front. As a matter of fact we saw Granddad when we were driving. Everyone was laughing, what a coincidence! And guess what, there were a few yellow, green, red and purple balloon tails hanging out the back of the car. We had hoped that Grandad didn’t see us, or the balloon tails. He was magnificently amazed, I can’t believe we pulled it off.

Uncle Stevie was amazing. He always had a different style of goyte or beard. He always had a pair of sunglasses connected to a lanyard around his neck. My favorite thing about Uncle Stevie is his laugh: happy and cheerful. He had curly short dark hair, and deep brown eyes. He was left-handed just like me. I felt that we had a lot in common. And now I know whenever I need to talk to him he will always be there, just not responding in words but he is still responding and talking to me in my heart. I can still ask him what is right and what decision to make, and as my dad always said, “Close your eyes and your heart will always tell you the right decision.” I know that Uncle Stevie will help me make the right decision.
I took all of those laughs and sleepovers for granted until now, when I can’t see him. But from my heart I know that Uncle Stevie is still there and still listening to me, singing us Happy Birthday. All of these memories and even more will stay in my heart and I know that Uncle Stevie loved me and always will. Running down the stairs, clenching the chair, hearing the news, I took him for granted. Now he is gone but certainly not forgotten.




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This article has 4 comments. Post your own!

Kelly M. said...
Dec. 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm:

I hope that you all like my piece!

~kelly

 
shoshansap replied...
Dec. 17, 2010 at 6:14 pm :
kelly i love this!
 
Kelly M. replied...
Dec. 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm :

thanks

:)

 
betsy235 replied...
Dec. 20, 2010 at 8:07 am :

Kelly:

A very moving piece - very well written and a wonderful read!

 
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