Telling stories true

One of my uncles was something of a black sheep in the family. Well, not really, but he drank a little, had trouble with his debts, went off hunting when he probably should have been working.

He was a notably kind man and had special grace and style. And the grace was more than physical. I remember catching sight of him unexpectedly one Saturday morning many years ago. I happened to see him from across the street through the window of a supermarket. He didn't see me. He was standing talking with some people in the aisle in a shaft of sunlight. There was something quite moving about seeing him from a distance this way. All his goodness and kindness were shining out. For a moment he seemed to represent humanity itself, humanity worth loving because, whatever its struggles, there is such good inherent there.

I had another uncle who in outward ways couldn't have been more different. He was a large man, gruff, with big hands. Instead of grace, there was sometimes awkwardness in our relationship. For one reason or another, misunderstanding had frayed family relations at various points in the past. But there came a time when family circumstances changed and we became friends. I would visit and we would talk.

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Beholder's eye
July 31, 1989

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