My uncle, Jack McDaniels was always a mechanic, just like his dad before him. He may have had other jobs, but mechanics was really his first job love. That may have been the thing that led to what he was doing when he was dating my aunt, Bonnie Byer. At that time, Uncle Jack was a race car driver. Many of their dates were spent at the local race track, where Uncle Jack drove car number 77. I’m sure that the idea of a race car driver appealed to Aunt Bonnie. Tell me, what girl wouldn’t get a thrill out of a guy who lived a little bit on the edge. Certainly, Aunt Bonnie was taken with him, and he with her.

Before long, they knew it was love, and on Valentine’s Day 1959, they were set to tie the knot. Uncle Jack was on the way to the church with his best man, Gary Rich, who was dating Aunt Bonnie’s sister, my Aunt Dixie at the time. As the neared the turn to go to the church, Uncle Jack drove right past it. They were now headed toward Midwest, Wyoming. Gary said, “Jack, what are you doing?” Uncle Jack said, “Nothing,” but Gary knew what was going on. Uncle Jack had the “Wedding Day Jitters” and he had them bad. Gary soon convinced Uncle Jack that he would hate himself forever if he ran out on the love of his life. Uncle Jack knew it, of course, but that hadn’t stopped the jitters from getting to him for a minute. After the two men talked, a more relaxed Uncle Jack turned the car around and married the girl who was the best thing that ever happened to him.

With his wedding jitters behind him, Uncle Jack and Aunt Bonnie went on to have a beautiful family. They had a daughter, Cindy, who was born on May 3, 1961. Then, on September 3, 1964, their son Michael was born. Their family was complete, and Uncle Jack’s jitters were gone…or were they. The “Wedding Day Jitters” would return one more time, but under very different circumstances. As their daughter Cindy was getting married, Uncle Jack was once again nervous, for a similar reason. While it wasn’t his own wedding, he was going to be walking his daughter down the aisle, and that is a reason to be nervous. This time, it would be his brother-in-law, Wayne Byer who would get rid of the jitters, and help Uncle Jack get through it all. Uncle Wayne has always been a joker, and he sat in the very back pews, designed for the ushers, and began to quietly chant, “Close the door Dominic Friscum…” He wanted to ease the tension, and the plan worked. Uncle Jack couldn’t help but laugh at the silliness of his brother-in-law. Of course, my grandma, and Uncle Wayne’s mom, Hattie Byer pretended to be furious with these silly boys, but they weren’t fooled. She thought it was just as funny as they did, and it was so typical of the two of them too. Today would have been my Uncle Jack’s 83rd birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Jack. We love and miss you very much.

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