Howdy, Y'all. Wait. I mean, howdy all y'all. I never was very good at foreign languages.
I am back from Texas, where I had a wonderful time kvelling with family. My new niece is, naturally, adorable. I think I will call her Bluebonnet, which is the state flower of TX (I was surprised at that as well). If there are any objections, let me know, and it is early enough to rename her. In real life, she is named after Uncle Al and Grandpa Leo. I never met Grandpa Leo, since he is the grandfather of Sylvia and died at a somewhat young age, but one of his daughters gave his biography at the naming and he sounds like a good man and one who is worthy of being named after. Uncle Al, of course, I know. He died after a long battle with cancer about a week before my sister and Bill got married in 1995.
Here is the kind of man my Uncle Al was. (Have I told you this story? If so, it is worth repeating.) Uncle Al was married to my Tanta Zelda. They went well together, for many reasons, the least of which being that they went from A to Z (Al to Zelda). He was a calm man, and solid, an engineer who worked with the government. My Tanta Zelda is more flamboyant, a New Yorker through and through (she moved to CA in the 1940s or 50s and still has the accent) and a wonderful dresser. First person on her block to get color TV. I'm trying to think of a good metaphor for them, but can't. The closest I can come up with is that they were like a kite and a kite flyer, not in the sense of one controlling the other, but in the sense that the kite is what you notice, but it needs the flyer to make sure it doesn't fly away. Something like that.
Anyway, we all knew the end was going to come at some point soon. I had flown home earlier than I needed to for the wedding, because I wanted to make sure I would see Uncle Al. He died when my dad and I were driving to L.A. so I could see him. After the funeral and shiva, and some time later, someone (my aunt, my grandfather?) went to Uncle Al's desk to begin the process of going through everything. He had always been charge of all the bills, all the finances, all of that kind of stuff. On top of everything, and to the right side of the computer, was a complete set of 1995 taxes that he had completed before he died. He didn't want my Tanta Zelda to have to worry about anything like that. That is the single most romantic gesture I have ever heard of, before or since.
In addition, Uncle Al was the only adult I knew who could program a VCR. So Bluebonnet has a lot to live up to, but knowing Jock and Syl (and Sunflower), I see no cause for concern.