You know him--there is one in every family. He is the special uncle loved by all. He is especially kid friendly, fun, carefree and harmless, but he is also the uncle that scares at least one child. He is the one that tickles the kids, plays card games, shares an ice cream cone, watches cartoons, lights fireworks and pulls pranks on children and adults.
As a shy child of six, I hid when “Uncle Bart” came to visit. If I didn’t hide, that visit usually meant I would be picked up, tossed up in the air, swung around several times, teased or chased around the house. I finally got over that fear as an adult and grew to enjoy the silliness and lightheartedness of one happy and carefree persona.
“Uncle Bart,” as we know him, is a kid in a 73-year-old body. Extremely approachable he befriends all easily. A kid at heart who does not limit his pranks to children, he has pulled many an adult sleeping guest out of a comfortable bed in his home onto the front or back yard, simply because he thinks that is fun or because you have overslept. If you leave your shoes out he may drop a ripe banana into them. He has a reputation for holding children upside down in order to shake any money out of their pockets. He may trick you into being part of a magic trick, which results in getting your face soaked.
“Uncle Bart” is a family legend to kids in our family who are now thirty-something. A fun guy who knows no fun limits, he once owned a talking bird named Juan who often roamed his home freely, bathed under the kitchen sink faucet and was trained to kiss “Uncle Bart.” He also owned a well-fed dog named Spike who ate cigarette butts.
“Uncle Bart” has pulled many a prank on family and friends and many have returned the favor. A physically tough individual by nature, he has often turned a few adults on their heads, making them feel they were 6 years old again. When he is around you are never safe. If you are anywhere near a lake, pond or pool, he is sure to push or pull you in and offer you a hand to pull you out.
“Uncle Bart” lost the love of his life, Liz, to breast cancer about 12 years ago. They celebrated their 40th anniversary just a few days before she died. For many years that followed he lost the carefree boyish demeanor, and along with the rest of his family he was a lost soul. Although his heart was broken 12 years ago, he is still the uncle that has left many fond memories in the hearts and minds of friends and family. He is the beloved “Uncle Bart” who brings a smile to everyone’s face, just by the simple mention of his name. Thanks for the memories.