Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Mayflower Anchor and other village stories--Ode to "Uncle" Denny

My dad's best friend, Denny, of about 45 years, died today. It was a shame he couldn't wait one more day since my dad called to tell me from the airport, en route, to say goodbye in person. Alaska is a long way from Missouri, and it sure can be damn inconvienent when you have to spend so much energy just getting somewhere. Better than not going at all, however.

Those are the kinds of friends my parents have and are to others. That is one thing I LOVED about growing up in a small town. I am not a Hillary Clinton fan, but I will say she was on to something when she talked about a village raising a child. That is what Soldotna, my hometown, is to me. The village that raised me--which of course could really explain a lot.

One of the villagers that had a hand in my upbringing was "Uncle" Denny. When you grow up with no blood family around, you become family with the people you are friends with. Uncle Denny is probably one, if not the first, person from my memory who wasn't my mom or dad. He has always been a part of our life.

He is the funniest man I have ever known personally. Man, could he tell a story. :) I smile just thinking about it. If you know him, you're smiling right now too.

The best story he ever got me on was when I was in the second grade. He and my dad convinced me that the Mayflower Anchor was in Denny's yard. In Soldotna. I was soooo excited that I shared the great news in second grade show and tell. Mrs. K corrected me in front of the whole class and I didn't believe her. No, Uncle Denny had it. I had seen it and he told me it was true. My other favorite story he told was when his car was warming up in the driveway at his house and it slipped into gear and crashed into the other cars in the driveway. You gotta have skills to wreck three cars at once, while driving none of them. :)
Here is to the Uncle Dennys in your life. We will miss you.