Yep. I know. Another relative with a birthday. Well, Uncle Tom is the last one in the bunch. It is going to be difficult to condense all his wonderful qualities into one post, but I will do my best.
Uncle Tom is the epitome of relaxed. Nothing bothers him or freaks him out. Case and point: He taught me how to drive. Now, my dad spent the most time with me when I learned how to drive, but Uncle Tom let me take the wheel first. He let me loose on an old, old car (forgive me, Unk, for not knowing what kind it was) and still laughs about how fast I drove on this one road. Apparently, I was going so fast that there was no way I was going to make the turn in the road, so he just let me go. And, I went flying into some field. I learned to slow down on curves after that.
He used to be a postal carrier. I know. You are thinking Cliff Claven. And there are some similarities, except Uncle Tom’s facts are actually true. And, he doesn’t have that annoying voice. And, he doesn’t spend his life in a bar. Okay. So, there aren’t many similarities.
My grandmother once said of Uncle Tom that he was the most learned person she knew. Pretty impressive considering very few from that town went to college back then, including him.
He reads A LOT! And studies all sorts of things and actually remembers them. (Where was he when I was taking History in college? I couldn’t remember a dang thing.) He and my aunt hosted three foreign exchange students in the 70s and he could tell you numerous details about where each one of them came from.
He has had more hobbies than Imelda Marcos had shoes. But he never did them “just a little.” He always did 100%. My earliest memory was photography. And wildflowers. So we saw lots of photos of wildflowers.
He also taught me to fish, which he had been doing for a loooong time. He’s an excellent teacher because he has the patience of a saint. (Don’t forget that driving thing.) He also learned to fly fish and how to tie his own flies. It was fun to watch him do those.
He loves to cook. He introduced me to tempura. He fixed that when I brought Tom to meet them. I am not so sure my Tom didn’t marry me because of Uncle Tom’s cooking. 😉 Uncle Tom tries all different kinds of food. And then dares me to try it. I almost always do. Almost. He still hasn’t gotten okra in this mouth.
Now I could write an entire book on Uncle Tom’s woodworking. He used to make beautiful shelves, quilt stands, tables, benches, and then carve leaves or other things on them. Apparently, the carving of those sparked his interest in a big way. He has read books on carving Santa Clauses and then made some that are out of this world! He carves them and paints them. He’s always glad when he’s done with the orders for Christmas. I think by then, Santa may actually equal Satan. Not really.
The carving of those Santas obviously sparked his interest in carving. He has attended classes and read book after book about carving birds. I even heard him say something like, “Well, I was almost done with this cardinal, when I realized that cardinals don’t have 7 tail feathers, they have 8, so I had to start again.” Now, all of you ornithologists don’t respond to this post by telling me I’m way off. Just try to get the essence of the dedication of this man. Okay?
He even teaches carving in his workshop to all sorts of people. Yep. He’s that good. 🙂
Honestly, I know I am forgetting probably half a dozen hobbies that he has had and taught me about.
He and my aunt were part of the caravan of campers in my family that would go on a trip every year. He’s had a trailer as long as I can remember. And, apparently, they all weren’t the nicest of trailers. He had one that had a hole in the bottom, I think. I’m pretty sure that happened after he bought it.
And, last but certainly not least, he has always been very involved in the church. He has taught confirmation so long that he is actually teaching children of former students!
And, I know they must enjoy having him as a teacher, because he has taught me so many things, and I’ve enjoyed learning every single one of them!