Today, we were at Sea Cliff all morning to pay our respects to and remember Uncle Dave. The kids were playing in the sand, the adults talking about anything and everything, including who has OCD (my mom and Annette think they do) and who has dementia (not sure, but Margie thinks everything is related to dementia according to Bruce).
It was Malia’s first time at Sea Cliff, though it won’t be her last. I don’t think her mom likes this picture that much, but hey, she was looking a little Japanese because she didn’t like the brightness. But it was the best I could do. Plus, she’s wearing her Giants beanie. Ahem, her NL West winning Giants beanie.
I think the best part of the day was watching my mom and Susie dance and crack each other up. Brian was showing off his moves and they were teaching him some of the old dances. He is also now clearly taller than both, which made it funnier.
I was looking through some of my old posts about Uncle Dave and I wanted to re-post the one from six years ago. My kids were just 7 and 5. Billy was early in his high school years. It seems like so long ago. I think those who shared their stories would probably like to revisit this.
The original post is here: http://roheblius.net/2006/09/to-uncle-dave-stories-from-below/.
From September 14th, 2006:
I asked my kids what they remember about him. Brian was four so he remembers being there in those last days at Uncle Dave’s house. He remembers playing bingo and helping his mom win a Japanese doll and that she was proud of him for winning. JJ was only two and just nodded his head while Brian talked. I asked my sister for a simple memory and she remembered a Lake Tahoe road trip that was taking significantly longer than it was supposed to because Uncle Dave’s van was breaking down. But she doesn’t remember the van breaking down as much as she remembers Uncle Dave telling a story about a man sitting on the back of the bus who crapped his pants. She actually remembers the fun out of that crazy road trip. I thought back and remembered the time when I visited him in the hospital. I didn’t even really want to bother him and he could tell I was a bit uncomfortable. The reason I was uncomfortable was because he was such a man of strength that it was hard for me to see him sick. And the way he made me comfortable was by asking me about my baseball game that I had earlier. I was surprised because at that time, I didn’t care about any stupid baseball game. I cared about him. But he cared about me enough to make me comfortable.
These stories are for Uncle Dave. They are stories from below.
I remember when I was younger, about 7 or 8 years old, me and my family went over to Auntie Debbie’s house one morning. Apparently, Uncle Dave really wanted fried rice but he wanted his mom to make it like only she could. You know, the good stuff. So she makes it for him and he sits at the table near me. All of a sudden he takes this bottle of ketchup and just blasts the plate of fried rice with it. I’m looking at this like, “What in God’s name is he doing?”
He says, “Here Bill try some.” I say “UUHHH no, it’s cool Uncle Dave.”
He says “C’mon.” But I still say no. For some reason I never forgot that. Maybe because I still have never seen anybody else do that.
I had similiar story regarding Uncle Dave with fried rice and ketchup. The difference was (that) I tried fried rice and ketchup and it is actually pretty good that way. Everytime that I do put ketchup on my fried rice now, while eating my “brakefast”, I think of Uncle Dave.
We were at Auntie Yolanda’s and I think I was a senior at the time. We were visiting. The whole family was there. It was me, my mom, Uncle Joe, and Uncle Dave on the porch. Joe was going on and on telling me I should really think about my future because, “What are you even doing with your life?” On and on. I love my Uncle Joe but I was getting really pissed. I look at my mom. She says nothing. I look at Uncle Dave and I can see him staring at Joe. Then he said, “What makes you so God damn great Joe? Shit man. What the hell are you doing with your life and you’re old!?” It was awesome. I loved my Uncle Dave so much more than I already did that day.
It was the first time I’ve ever met Uncle Dave. Actually, the first time I met most of the family. It was Garrett and my sophomore year of high school. We were taking Biology. One of the assignments, basically the biggest assignment of the year was to collect bugs, for a bug collection. It comprised nearly 50% of our final grade. We had 2 weeks to complete our collection. Naturally, I waited until the last weekend to start my collection. We were traveling everywhere with our bug nets and bug gas chambers. We were at Uncle Dave’s house that weekend. I forget what for, probably a BBQ. Uncle Dave looked at us with our homemade bug nets and asked what in the blue hell we were doing. We explained to him our assignment. Barely having met me, he helped me with my collection. He asked what I needed. I said ummm, everything. He said you need a fly, then bam, swatted the air and got me a fly. Though, it was crushed. I think Uncle Dave did half my collection. Every once in a while, since then, Uncle Dave would still ask me about that bug collection. Or as he would say “the sorriest group of bugs” he’s ever seen. Then we would both start cracking up.
One day the whole family was at Cherry Park for a birthday or whatever else we were celebrating. Anyhow, all the cousins started talking about who could run the fastest. All the boys were puffin’ their chests and racing each other up and down the lawn. Well, of course Uncle Dave gets wind of this and wants to get in on it. Little Dave breaks into laughter right on the spot telling his dad that he’s old and can’t beat no one. Uncle Dave challenges him to a race. Little Dave gets his serious face on and they line up. Uncle Dave puts out his cigarete and gets his game face on. (Keep in mind, Uncle Dave is in tight-ish jeans and flip flops, about to race on freshly dewed grass.)
Someone shouts, “Ready, Set, Go!” Us cousins are just laughing our asses off and watching intently as they stay neck-in-neck. Not surprisngly, Uncle Dave beats Little Dave by a few steps. We are all cheering and the cousins are punking Little Dave as he catches his breath while holding onto a nearby tree. Uncle Dave looks unscathed, and barely tired as the smile comes across his face and the famous Uncle Dave laugh erupts.
I remember one summer I went to Great America with some family. Uncle Dave was kinda upset at first because apparently some of these tickets he had or something were expired. So a little later in the day, we went on this ride where you’re on a raft on the water. It was all bad for Uncle Dave because no matter which way the damn thing turned he always got blasted with water. This just wasn’t his day. He kept screaming things like, “Oh dammit my cigarettes! My cigarettes!” We were laughing so hard.
This story starts out like all the rest. It was at a family BBQ at Bird park and we were all having some soul food. Garrett and Edson had started to play tennis, and were getting pretty good. They were both talking smack with Uncle Dave, saying that they could beat Dave and I at tennis. Like all the other match ups that Uncle Dave gets me into, I was again ready for the challenge. Uncle Dave and I would team up quite often, against the uncles in many competitions. He knows how to loosen me up and (help me) play my best. He was one of the few people who makes me play better. I don’t recall ever losing a match with Uncle Dave as my partner. As the smack talking was coming from Garrett and Edson, we were walking to the tennis court. I noticed that Uncle Dave was wearing slippers, not tennis shoes. I asked him, “Are you going to be able to run around on the court with just your slippers?” He said, “Don’t worry about it, we got this.”
As we were warming up I also noticed how he held the tennis racket. He was holding it just below the face of the racket, similar to how someone would hold a ping pong paddle. I again questioned him, but this time on how he held the tennis racket. Again, he said don’t worry. We were warmed up and the game was ready to start. I was to serve first, as we got ready to start the first point. Uncle Dave was ready at the net with his his ping pong paddle grip. I crushed a serve at Garrett and to my surprise he was able to hit it back cross court. As I prepared to receive the return, Uncle Dave out of no where came sprinting across the court to smash it back for a winner, slippers and all.
Point after point it was the same result, Uncle Dave flipping and flopping, slippers and all. Garrett and Edson couldn’t get a ball passed him. I don’t even recall getting to hit the ball much. Uncle Dave had taken matters into his hands. Uncle Dave was all over the tennis court and the slippers didn’t slow him down. The slippers made his feet grip the court like a champion. He ran down every shot Garrett or Edson could hit back.
I think we were all surprised how well Uncle Dave could play tennis. The unorthodox style worked. It also had made us laugh. Even Uncle Dave was cracking up. I have never laughed so much playing tennis. Uncle Dave had loosened me up once again, so that we pulled out another big win. I don’t think Garrett and Edson even won one game from us. To this day if Garrett, Edson and I see a tennis court we still reminisce about our tennis match with Uncle Dave.
Me, Kimi and Bill spent a lot of time with Brittanny, David and Nicole as kids, which meant us all being over at Grandma’s often. Grandma would always make us fried rice or okazu and set us all up together at the table. With six grandkids to feed, food was portioned out carefully and there was always just a little left over. We always scarfed down our servings, hoping to get the best, slightly burned part at the bottom of the pot. Low and behold here comes Uncle Dave with his empty bowl not even five minutes after we got our food. We all look at each other with panic in our eyes. Uncle Dave hurriedly fills his bowl and scrapes out all the good stuff. We all scream, “Hey! save some for us!” just as he ruins the fried rice with a mountain of ketchup, knowing we won’t want it now.
We all just laugh as he shoves the bowl in our faces, filling our noises with ketchup and easy over egg. Uncle Dave always made things fun.
If I can summarize what everyone is saying here, I believe it is that our worlds aren’t quite the same without our Uncle Dave in it.