In the Chug-A-Lug song, there’s a passage about a “finagling uncle” who sneaks the young man into a bar. Every time I hear the song I can’t help but think of a “finagling uncle” of my own ……. who used to sneak me into a bar/dance hall during an “old soldiers and sailors” reunion at a small town in SE Kansas. I think I was 15 the first time.
A veteran of the Vietnam War. He was a Marine, at first, but, then got into the Air Force and retired from there. Smart, clever, and ornery. But, once in a while, you’d see a kind streak pop through. His kids were very close to the age of myself and my siblings. Growing up, we spent a lot of time with our cousins, and thus, with my aunt and uncle.
I hadn’t spent very much time with him over the last several years(decades), nor with his children. We all still get along and all that, it’s just that it happens that way, sometimes. But, I’ve memories I treasure from that man. For me, he was sort of like a Canadian bacon, pineapple, jalapeño pizza. You’d take a bite and there’s a zing that stings! He was ornery with a biting wit! Once in a while, you take a bite and it’s kinda sweet and nice. And, then, other times, you’re getting meat …. he was showing me something.
He was a life-long project for my aunt, who is a saint. A very strong, and sometimes fierce saint, but, a saint nonetheless. You see, A.L. wasn’t a believer. He wasn’t an ardent atheist or anything like that. He just didn’t have time or room for Christ. But, God is a merciful God. My aunt won! A few months ago, A.L. receive Christ, was baptized shortly afterward ……. and then called home.
And, so now, I’ve another song to hear in which I’ll think of my uncle every time I hear it. “They say he got religion in the end, and I’m glad he did.”
I’ll come back and post in a bit, but, for now, I’ve got to go to another cousin, who wasn’t related to my uncle, but, was in some ways closer to my uncle than I.