02 March, 2013

A good life well spent

My Uncle Arthur died this past week. He was (I believe) 85 years old. He had been suffering some sort of dementia for the past several years, and he broke his hip at Christmas. His kidneys started shutting down last week and he died peacefully with his son John at his side.

Arthur was a character. He was a policemen in Texas, and for many years was the Chief of Police of the small town where my family lived. After he retired from that job he worked as a bailiff in the county court. Due to a lifetime of hanging out with cops, criminals, and criminal lawyers, he knew more stories and filthy jokes than anyone I've ever met, and he told them with a twinkle in his eye and cracked himself up every time he told one.

I remember as a kid that I could hardly believe my Uncle, who was the funniest, kindest person, could be a cop. From what I heard, on the job, he could be a hardass when it was required, but to his family he was gentle and caring. Once he took my sister and I to the police station and "booked" us. We had our fingerprints taken. I was charged with "impersonating a female," and I still have my fingerprint card.

He loved dogs, guns, hunting, telling stories, grilling enormous chunks of meat, puttering in his shed doing things like making bullets, and most especially, being with his family. We'll miss you Uncle Arthur.

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