This morning I got up and ate Corn Pops cereal with skim milk. I checked my social media, where I learned that my Uncle Ivan passed away. Uncle Ivan was my late mother's older brother, born in 1931. I liked Uncle Ivan. I last saw him on March 30th of last year, when we went out to a memorial service at my cousin Bill's place for my Aunt Virginia. He and my cousin Bret and I had a fine breakfast together at the assisted living place where he lived. He was a kind and interesting fellow. His passing, coupled with previous departures, feels as if a generation has gone from my life--that group who were kids during the Great Depression and World War Two and
young adults in the 1950s.
Uncle Ivan studied engineering at Louisiana Tech. He wound up as a petroleum engineer at Kerr-McGee in Oklahoma City. He studied law at night at Oklahoma City University. He became a regulatory lawyer in the Kerr-McGee legal department, though I think his highest corporate title was something along the lines of Chief Engineer. He had my late grandfather's gift for affable conversation and for treating each new acquaintance as a potential and presumptive friend. When he retired from Kerr-McGee, he had a cool job as a kind of facilitator at Oklahoma City University. He and my Aunt Virginia eventually retired to Georgetown, Texas, about forty miles north of Austin. A few times,when I had driven to a hearing or meeting in Austin, I'd stop by and say hello. I liked their little house, where a Mule Deer might pop up in their retirement-community neighborhood.
Uncle Ivan might take me to pick up a burger, or we'd all sit and talk. My Aunt Virginia had health issues later in life, after a stroke-like event affected some component of her short-term memory. I do not know all there is to know, but my uncle seemed to do well as a caretaker.
Five months ago, Uncle Ivan married a woman at the cool assisted living place at which he lived. I had met her the day I last saw my uncle. I was pleased for them. But in very recent days, I had gotten a note or two that he had but weeks to live. One note, by his eldest granddaughter, capably told all his friends and families in admirable and unsentimental detail what was happening, as if to answer all questions that folks could have.
He passed away within a few days. I am sorry he is gone. I am relieved that it sounds as if he did not suffer, despite having one of those acute things that sometimes causes pain. He was a good fellow, and he leaves behind two sons who are also good fellows, and a foursome of likable grandchildren, as well as his widow. So passes another link to the past.
This morning I walked on the Chisholm Trail in Plano, near Orlando Street. Then I went to Weight Watchers, where I was down 2.4 pounds. I decided to attend Community Unitarian Universalist Church in Plano. The church was extremely well-attended, as this was the last Sunday before back-to-school. I liked the Blessing of the Backpacks, and the Communion of Water, in which lots of members brought water from their vacations, family visits and social justice work all over the country and poured it into a common little pitcher, telling the story of each sample. That made things linger on a bit, but it was fitting, and an interesting non-sacramental way for a non-creedal church to experience something communal in the same way as a sacrament.
I went to Subway for a turkey sandwich on wheat and baked chips. Then I headed to Celebration Park in Allen. Rather than walk in this huge, open field park, I hopped on the Celebration Pass. This was a sidewalk walk of 2.6 kilometers from Celebration Park to another park called Stacy Ridge. The sky was blue for the first time in days. The temperature was cooler than is seasonal but still quite warm. I got some cool pictures of a Cooper's Hawk. I talked to two men about my age who were walking two large dogs. We talked about all the birds in our area, and I showed them my hawk picture. One man had moved here from California, so he could tell me about the lovely Mandarin Ducks he had seen.
As I walked back to my car, a woman on a bicycle and her Chocolate Labrador Retriever came up. The lab, a bit soggy from a dip in some waters, originally wanted to stay "hi" to me, but she encouraged him to "come on, Tango, just keep moving", so I said something similar to Tango, who did, indeed, just keep moving.
I love dog-watching.
My wife returned from picking up some things. We had hoped to dine on chicken from El Pollo Loco, a much-beloved southern California chain moving into our area. But the restaurant does not fully open until next week. So we will dine on sandwiches, view the series finale of "Inspector Lewis" and enjoy the weather.