Friday, April 18, 2008

Springtime in Texas

Lucas & Dad did some light sprucing up in Rockwall this past week, taking advantage of cool temps and sunshine to finish Allie's new garden. (Thank you, Allie for the inspiration!)

We also grabbed a few iris bulbs to bring home to California after seeing how STUNNING they were in bloom. Mimi obviously had really good taste when she planted these beauties!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Farewell to Uncle Joe

Lucas & I have returned today from Dallas, TX to pay our respects to my Aunt Cynthia, my cousins, Gary, Kathy & Karen and their families as they mourn the loss of husband and father,

(Uncle) Joe Ernest Lowe 1933 - 2008

While growing up, Uncle Joe was a gruff, salty old dog - much of my life. Rough around the edges and not the easiest man to carry on a conversation with as a young boy. I respectfully avoided him other than the polite handshake upon first seeing him during family gatherings then I would scurry off to play with my cousins. He was a Captain for Braniff Airlines, then went to work for a private executive charter and retired with American Airlines as flight similator instructor.

A few years after I moved to California and had began my career, the most unexpected conversation happened between me & my Uncle Joe. We were at an impromptu family gathering in Pittsburgh, TX (hey, if there is a Paris, TX - there must be a Pittsburgh as well). We were at my cousin Kathy's family farmhouse having a grand reunion. Uncle Joe comes out of nowhere and sits beside me on a bench, puts his arm around me and begins to tell me that "while it must be hard to go in a different direction in life...not everyone has to follow the same path. You should be proud of being the person you are and want to be, not the person others think you should be. I'm sure it isn't easy with the whole macho image that we as men feel we always have to uphold. But you should go on being true to yourself. I want YOU to know, that I for one am proud of you." While I've paraphrased his comments, this was the gist of what he shared with me that hot summer afternoon in east Texas.

Afterward, both of my cousins - Kathy & Karen - came up to me with concern about what their Daddy might have said and if I was ok. I shared his comments with them to all of our bewilderment & wonderful surprise.

Thank you, Uncle Joe. That was an extroardinary gesture & endorsement that day. I will never forget it. Our relationship took on a completely different path from then on. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have seen him two weeks ago while I was in Dallas. His eyes lit up and he firmly grabbed my hand and shared with me the situation of his diminishing health. He asked what I had been up to and repeatedly said "That's Great...that's great..." a phrase he used regularly during conversation. He was completely there that day and passed exactly a week later.

Uncle Joe, may you fly high in the heavens as you so loved to do in your life here on earth. We miss you already.


...and of course an obligatory shot of some of the handsome attendees, Lucas & Christian ;o)