Every family reunion has one. Someone who is the life of the party, who thinks up the great games and tells hilarious jokes.
Every time we would pile all of the kids into the van and head to Springbank Park in London for our family reunion, a voice would pipe up from the back seat, "Oh, I hope Uncle Gordie is there!"
He was the one who wore the "bucket hat" and teased all of the kids, big and small. He was the one who coined the phrase, "The Thundering Herd", in reference to our gang of kids. We'll always say it now...it's part of the family vernacular: "Here comes the Thundering Herd!"
A few years ago little Tiana asked Uncle Gordie, "Can I use your camera?" I gasped, thinking this little one was going to mess up Great Uncle's camera. He chuckled, and said, "Sure!" He showed her how to use it, and she traipsed merrily around the group, snapping pictures of everyone.
A few weeks later, in the mail came a great big envelope for Tiana. Uncle Gordie had sent the pictures. There was commentary along with them - "the girls are so pretty," Gordie said, "but Daniel is the prettiest!" Daniel will never live THAT one down.
One of the pictures was of Uncle Gordie, but the top of his head was missing. Tiana hadn't aimed the camera correctly. "I'll get you for that," he warned.
Tiana wrote back to thank him, and from that time forward she enjoyed a penpal relationship with "Mean Uncle Gordie". He classified himself that way, but we all knew better. He loved the kids and only pretended to be mean.
Great Uncle Gordie was a GREAT UNCLE...lots of fun, caring, personable, and full of laughter.
We'll miss him.