My Uncle Glen was the oldest of the four boys in my dad’s family. He was truly one of the genuinely nicest people I’ve ever known. He was a self-deprecating, funny, sincere guy who worked hard every day of his life. He loved sports, beer, fruitcake (inside joke) and his family. And we didn’t have him around nearly long enough. He passed away on May 1, 2006. Five years ago.
One morning in 2008 I was on my way into the office, listening to the radio. I listen to the KQRS Morning Show with Tom Barnard in the Twin Cities. It’s juvenile, sometimes crude, irreverent, leans right, and is hilarious. This particular morning they were skewering the Vikings because one of their players had been arrested for domestic assault or something.
There is a funny old guy from St. Paul who calls in once in a while with a goofy joke. In the middle of their discussion of the Vikings situation, they took a call from him. He had the following joke.
“What do the Vikings and Billy Graham have in common?”
“They can both fill the Metrodome, and they can both make you hang your head and say, ‘Jes-us Christ.'”
His cadence and the emphasis he put on the first two syllables of “Jes-us Christ” reminded me so much of Glen. And it was exactly the kind of joke that he would get a kick out of when talking about one of his perennially losing teams.
I thought about that for a moment, and suddenly realized what day it was. May 1. He had died two years ago. I think that was his way of giving me a shout out. It put a smile on my face and brought a tear to my eye. We miss you, Glen.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011