the uncles

by Kristen

Dad had two uncles (see cousins as uncles): Ehrie and Marv. Brothers. One tall and lanky. One short and stout. One born with an extra kidney. One born a kidney short.

On Christmas Eve during the candlelight service they would stand on the stage and rasp out Silent Night in German. Their voices weren’t what they’d been in their youth, but their passion was unquestioned.

When Uncle Marv died—several years after Uncle Ehrie became a widower—I worried about Ehrie. His best friend gone. No one to whisper and laugh with in church. No one to sing with in German. He rallied and folded Marv’s granddaughters in with his own grandchildren.

Early one Sunday morning the sound of screeching tires filled the empty parking lot. I bolted out of my office to see a grinning Uncle Ehrie heading to the choir room. He waved at me and called out, “Ya gotta come in hot—let ’em know you’re coming.”

That was Ehrie. He lived life to the fullest and found pleasure in everything from playing the piano to bowling to mowing the lawn. My parents recall his sterner years. His playful years clad in Hawaiian shirts are the ones etched into my mind.

It’s quieter without Marv and Ehrie. There are missing threads in the fabric of the family we’ll feel for a long, long time.


This post is part of the 31 Days: Family series. Read the beginning, and see a full index of posts, here.

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