Home > Uncategorized > Entry for April 18, 2008

Entry for April 18, 2008

I was just thinking about Obama and his uncle, Rev. Wright. He says everybody has a crazy uncle who says things we don’t agree with but we love him anyway.
Indeed, my uncle says things sometimes that are tough on my sensibilities. He was a cab driver in Brooklyn, N.Y. and actually I didn’t even know that was his entire profession. I thought that was the kind of thing someone did part-time. But, I was just a boy then.

My uncle was polish. He might fall into that group of xenophobists that Obama most recently spoke about. He wants english to be the national language, he uses those terms that Archie Bunker used to use to describe ethnic minorities, he has hunted I guess – I believe he may still have a gun and he does believe in Jesus. But my Uncle Al is an elderly man now, suffering from diabetes and its accompanying diseases. I haven’t seen Uncle Al since some time in the 90’s I think. I am told he is no longer able to walk. He and his beloved wife, my Auntie Marguerite live in a place in Stroudsburg, PA where they can get the immediate attention elderly people like them need should their heal suddenly fail.

Uncle Al was my mom’s brother in-law. My mom’s younger sister married Al back in the 40’s. Al served in World War II and he had a picture of himself in uniform in the Brooklyn apartment my mom and I used to go visit in the 60’s. They joked that Al was in the Polish army and I believed them but that confused me because Al was always famous as the fellow who WON THE WAR. That’s another good joke but it probably has some source in the Roosevelt democrat that my mother was and I assumed they were, too. You know, it wasn’t the generals like Eisenhauer and Patton that won the war but the common soldier.

So Al could talk about other ethnicities taking over but he wasn’t a minister. He drank and he believed in a little cheesecake. He was something young men encounter. He was a John Wayne. My father was a Walter Brennan. Uncle Al was a different kind of man. My father like country-western music, but Al liked the old swing music. Later in life he became a fan of the polka. There’s a lot of that in the part of PA he lives in.

He is a catholic man who pays his taxes. He must have saved his money as a cab driver because suddenly one year he bought a motel in Pennsylvania, in East Stroudsburg. I used to get to visit this wonderful outdoorsy place full of fresh air in the summer with my mom or with my brother who could drive. There was talk about deer hunting up there in the winter, but I think the place was only open in the summer months – back to the cab in the winter. Al and Marguerite finally moved to PA permanently after mom and I moved to Florida with my father.

I didn’t like hunting. My father was a hunter and the man accross the street who could actually see well enough to kill the quick game life the dogs were able to sniff up. My father had bought a dog while in Florida. She was shipped to N.Y. by train. He named her Doll Baby and she became the family pet. She was a bird dog or more specifically an English Pointer. Dad was proud of how she would hold when she got the scent of quail or pheasant and not flush the birds out at all. That was his job he believed. Dad didn’t want his dog to flush them birds. Mr. Sonner, the man he hunted with did.

But as I grew up I was fond of Elvis who was my older brother’s icon. I also like sports and I found hunting just to be a cold adventure with the old man. The old man had some issues at home so that made hunting not a groovy thing either. This hunting apparently gave mom a little time alone to think about other things besides work and being mom. Mom worked for the same crummy corporation that dad did, the Pennsylvania Railroad.

My father had a tendency toward violence. He had to be thrown in jail on the night of my sister’s wedding. His violence was negative and racist as I saw it. Uncle Al on the other was a man who could protect himself. He was a big strong man and it seemed like he needed to be in Brooklyn. Several times he was accosted by younger men whose ethnicity I am just forgetting for now. They could have been hispanic or they could have been black. I never heard about much more than either of them. If men were gay I was likely to hear about them from my brother not my uncle Al.

My crazy uncle was nobody famous but he was important to our family. He had a sense of humor and as you can see in the picture above with my older sister when she was about 13 he could also laugh and sing. In fact you know he used to play the accordion.

That picture was probably taken with his polaroid camera. He was sort of the family photographer. Lots of pictures of mom and the kids were taken by either him or Aunt Marguerite.

How different white and black cultures must be where a crazy uncle in one will not have you say anything against America and a crazy uncle in the others won’t have you say anything for America.

That was another thing which I assumed you guessed from his service during World War II and the comparison with John Wayne, Al was and is a very patriotic American.

My father had 4 brothers and 2 sisters but I would rather not talk about them. The brothers were born in the south and except for the younger 2 all worked in the Pennsylvania Railroad through the 30’s. I think one then found a job with the Seaboard Coastline in Florida or maybe 2 of them did but my father remained in N.Y. They have never given me the exact facts about all that. They were and are all proud southerners who don’t believe slaves ever should have been freed, etc. My father, in his so called humor often told me he served in the Confederate Army.
These uncles are something so much more than crazy. I think some people call them ignorant.
I wonder why Rev. Wright wasn’t call the same.

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