Everybody needs an Uncle Al

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When I look at this picture I smile. This is the Murray family that I grew up with back in the day. Al and Elaine Murray were good friends of my parents and Anne, Patti, Michael and John became good friends with my sister and me. People back in the early 60s dressed in their Sunday best to go to church, dinner, or other special occasions. Times have changed and things are more casual but this reminds me of when my folks took my sister and me to Fort Ligonier and other fun sites after church. They dressed me in a sport coat and bow tie with a 3 cornered Colonial hat( Dorksville, USA). But this was the way things were and I am sure most of us have pictures just like this of family times together.
But this is not the story. I want to focus on Uncle Al,the patriarch of the family that you see here. The Murrays were not blood relatives but we saw them as so and Molly and I called Al and Elaine – Uncle Al and Aunt Elaine. Uncle Al was a character. Like a lot of guys my age, we had people in our lives that had some influence and Al was one of them in my life. He was an affable Irishman as you can see with that mug. He grew up in a tough neighborhood and consequently he could handle himself. Like when a guy came up to him in a trench coat with something protruding underneath. The guy says to Uncle Al,” give me your wallet.” Uncle Al immediately decks the guy and he falls and hits his head on the curb- lights out!!! The police came by and told Al that the guy better have a gun because Al was in trouble if he didn’t. Turns out that the guy did have a 38 caliber revolver and Al knocked him cold.
Another time, we were all in church in South Carolina and a priest at mass started to get all political in the pulpit. He says to the congregation,” Maybe I should not be speaking this way from the pulpit?” To which Al responds in a voice louder than the whisper,” You’re right- shut the hell up.” My dad and I almost fell over with laughter in church and another legendary performance for me from my Uncle Al.
If memory serves me, they had a dog named Trixie who barked incessantly when we came to visit. We all would be exchanging pleasantries when all of a sudden Al screamed out ” Shut up Trixie” at the top of his voice. The damn dog fell silent and Al beamed at me with a wry smile that said,” I showed that dog.”
Point being that humor is an essential part of life and Al never took life too seriously. When you are a young guy growing up, you look up to your dad and his friends. Uncle Al was definitely the leader of his family and was a disciplinarian. But he was also funny as hell and a hero to me growing up. When he passed some years ago, I felt a void that reminded me that some day, I would not have my dad either. His generation was fading and it was time for me to grow up. But we need Uncle Als in our lives because they mentor us. They show us that families matter and that you can get through life’s troubles and trials with laughter and a light approach to life. Keep your pictures of family and friends. They will make you smile when you root through some dusty old box and find some gems from your past. Pictures are a window to the past – your past. Cherish your memories and make some of your own. When your wife or husband or child says ” Smile for the camera”, do it. It will be a lasting memory for someone down the road. Thanks for reading.

11 thoughts on “Everybody needs an Uncle Al

  1. Dan Ros says:

    This was a really good read.

    Thank you.

    On Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 12:52 PM, chroniclesofmccloskey wrote:

    > patmccloskey posted: ” When I look at this picture I smile. This is the > Murray family that I grew up with back in the day. Al and Elaine Murray > were good friends of my parents and Anne, Patti, Michael and John became > good friends with my sister and me. People back in the ” >

  2. Bill Day says:

    Great piece and so true, thanks!

  3. Kerri Lange says:

    Our kids have ‘Aunts’ and ‘Uncles’ that are not blood relatives. The 2 oldest are finally realizing that they actually not related, yet they still call them aunt and uncle! SO true!

  4. LindaV. says:

    Glad you re back “in business”.

  5. Janet McCloskey says:

    Your right Dear, keep the old pictures!😉👍

  6. Janet McCloskey says:

    👌😘good article & funny!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. Mike Cline says:

    Great read and it did remind me of my “Uncles”. There weren’t many on my dad’s side as he was an only child but there was “Blackie”, a great uncle who was a paint salesman in S. California. My paternal grandmother’s brother, “Blackie” seemed to be part of the family and as a kid growing up, he was around a lot. I remember him as quite a character. On my mother’s side, there were too many uncles as she was one of eight kids. Many, I met only once or twice, others became life-long friends, mentors and part of my extended family. The most memorable of course was my uncle Fred or FA (Fred Augustus) as he was often referred to. He and his family watched out for me many times while I was in the Air Force in Alabama and Fred and I spent a great many hours on the lakes and rivers of Alabama and Alaska chasing fish. I remain close with one of Fred’s grandchildren, Matt (my second cousin) who fishes with me as often as his family life allows. Uncles can be very valuable in life’s scheme of things.

  8. Mark Hutchinson says:

    Great to have you back blogging Pat! Now no bullshit here, but reading that blog gave me the warm fuzzies! Thanks!

  9. patmccloskey says:

    Thanks Hutch. You are a faithful supporter.

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