What do you call a guy who, even though he is as old as your parents, doesn’t act like it and is super-cool? You call him “Uncle Jer!”
As mentioned in an earlier post, Uncle Jer was pretty much responsible for getting me record albums that shaped my love of popular music. (Even though, at my request he bought me “Donny and Marie: Hits from Their TV Show.” I’m sure he put on a disguise when he had to go to the counter to buy that one!) He’d record tapes of my favorite songs that he had albums of. I particularly remember an Elton John one, but I know there were many others. One time, I even told him I liked classical music, but I only liked the really dramatic, loud stuff. (Before he was into rock, the man collected dozens, maybe even 100, of classical albums) So, he made me two tapes: Bombastical Classical and Even MORE Bombastical Classical. How cool is that?
My brother and I would always go to Kansas City every year to visit Uncle Jer and Aunt Sher. (I know. They rhyme.) We would go to Worlds of Fun and a Royals game. Every year! And, every year, Uncle Jer would ride all the rides with us at Worlds of Fun. Whatever we wanted, he did. I will never forget the time I wanted to ride the Screamroller. It was one of the first upside-down loop-de-loop ones. He said he’d go with me. My brother didn’t want to go or was too short, I don’t remember. So, we stood in this loooong line waiting to get on the coaster. When we got directly under the upside-down section, I chickened out. I looked at him and sheepishly asked, “Can we go back? I don’t want to ride it anymore.” He laughed and said, “Sure.” He never made fun of me or anything. Didn’t roll his eyes about the waste of time just standing there. We just went back to my aunt and brother and moved on. Very cool.
Now, about the Royals. I am a die-hard Cardinals fan. But, my uncle made me like the Royals enough to make them a close second. My favorite player, Darrell Porter, first played for the Royals. When he came to St. Louis, I was sooo thrilled. I felt like I knew him already. And, of course, there was George Brett. We were there when his batting average hit .400. That was cool.
My uncle is hilarious, too. When we went to a Royals game, early on in our KC visiting history, Al Hrabosky “The Mad Hungarian” was a pitcher. I said something like, “I hate that guy.” Well, throughout the game, Uncle Jer would yell out, “Michelle wants Al!” I would hiss, “No I don’t!” Then, he’d do it again. And again. And again. I felt like I was turning four shades of red, but it was funny.
My brother and I tried to teach my aunt and uncle the card game “I Doubt It.” You may know it as another name, but the way it works is you go around the table and in numerical order you say, “I have one Ace.” If someone says, “I doubt it” and you did play one Ace, then they have to pick up all the cards in the pile. If they say “I doubt it” and you didn’t play an Ace, then YOU have to pick up the cards. Then, the next person has to do 2’s, then 3’s, etc. Well, when it got to Uncle Jer, he would say, “I don’t have any 8s.” At first, my brother and I would get soooo frustrated! Then, it just became funny.
The classic Uncle Jer line is the funniest. (Feel free to use it at your next dinner party.) At a dinner everyone was complimenting the chef (I have no idea if it was my mom or my aunt) on various dishes. “Oh, good roast beef” “Good green beans” and then my uncle says, “Good ice cubes.” Maybe you had to be there, but it really was funny. And, now it is just something we all say when everyone starts commenting on the food.
So, yeah. My Uncle Jer is pretty awesome. He even took me to a Rick Springfield concert and we had an excellent time. I can’t imagine doing that with any other relative other than my cool Uncle Jer.
So, Happy Birthday, Uncle Jer! May you rock on for years to come!