In my family St. Patrick's Day is a big deal. Not only is it a celebration of everything Irish, but it was my Uncle Pat's birthday. Uncle Pat was my Godfather and half of my cousin's too. He was a good guy. A really good guy. He had nicknames for all of us. I was Muggsy or Muggs for short. He said because when I was a baby I would punch the air like a prize fighter. I can't remember if Graham or Kevin was MadDog, but the name fits either of them actually. Uncle Pat read more than anyone I knew. He was a total history buff and knew so much about the Civil War and World War II. He loved all things Irish. He was into ancestry way before Ancestry.com. He wrote letters to the post office in Ireland to find some of our relatives and he succeeded. He mapped out the family tree and went to the library (his favorite place) and made us all copies. My kids will have no problem going back several generations if they ever have to do a school project. He was a Vietnam Veteran, and the war was very hard on him. Not physically, but emotionally. He never really talked about it, but the pain was always there. You could see it. He had the kindest heart. He always remembered my kids at Christmas and I always appreciated his gifts more because I knew he was on a fixed income. He really connected with Owen for some reason. They were about as different as two people could be. Pat was kind of quiet and calm while Owen, well ... He rarely traveled far from home but he went to Arizona to see my Aunt Bonnie and all along the way he sent Owen postcards.Owen loved getting those in the mail and still keeps them in his bedside table. I will never forget the last time I saw him. We were at my mom's for a visit and he was over and so excited about his trip to one of the Dakota's ( North I think). He was going to ride the train and meet up with his regimen from Vietnam. I believe it was the first reunion he was going to attend. I don't think I ever remember him being so excited about something. When he got up to leave I gave him a hug and told him to have a great time. He started to cry which made me cry too. I am not sure why he cried. Maybe he knew. Who knows. All I know is I miss seeing him sitting in the chair at family events. I miss listening to him talk to me about civil war history. I miss him calling me Muggs. I am pretty sure he is hanging out in heaven listening to a Celtic Reel reading a Civil War book. Grandma probably made him some Corned Beef and Cabbage (the best in the world, BTW). He is most definitely wearing green.
I feel like Morgan Freeman but instead of Miss Daisy I am driving Master Graham. I have been driving around for four weeks with this huge picture of him. It is his Senior Picture from 1993 that the photographer used as a sample. I love how it shows how serious and intense Graham is. I find the shadow particularly interesting. The shadow looks as if he is sitting on the pot talking on the phone which he has been known to do when I call him. The worst is when I didn't know that is what was going on and then I hear the flush. Anyway, Saddler's Photography sadly shut down this year and they put out an announcement that you could come and get the samples. I hated to think of him being thrown in the trash (this is a sign of how much I have grown in 40 years), so I made an appointment to go pick him up. I left him in the car so I wouldn't forget to take him to my mom's when I go at Easter, but got sick of him falling all over my groceries and such so now he sits in my dining room on the bench with the rest of the stuff that I just can't find a place for yet. I am thinking of auctioning to the highest bidder and the money could go to the charity of Graham's choice. If I forget to take it to my mom's at Easter that is definitely what I am going to do. Where does the bidding start for a wicked cool picture of a hipster before hipster's were cool? Maybe I will just keep it and put it back in the car to help keep me company on long drives.