I got sad news this morning from my Dad that my uncle Kirby, his younger brother, died of a massive heart attack yesterday. I didn't know him that well but I am sad. I remember when he came to visit us in Gainesville, I imagine I was 5 or 6 - I remember his beard and that he left a copy of The Tao of Pooh behind. I remember riding with him on some sort of 6 wheeled ATV-type vehicle on the country roads in Pennsylvania when we visited my Grandparents' farm one winter. I remember after my Grandma Langford's funeral in 2000, the last time we were all together with my Dad's side of the family, as we sat around the table learning what she had wanted us to have and gently divvying up the rest, how my Grandma Langford left me her engagement ring, at a time when I was convinced I would never get married. And my Uncle Kirby, whom I barely knew, came straight over and gave me a heartfelt hug. I have never forgotten that moment.
I have a beat up, well-loved, wooden rocking chair on our porch that lived on my grandparents' porch in Susquehanna. At some point during his rowdy childhood my Uncle Kirby carved his initials in the arm, which makes me cherish it even more - a bit of visible family history. I love that rocking chair with his initials carved into it. And I am so sad.