My Uncle Larry was well known to his family and his friends for being a real joker. He loved to tell jokes and make people laugh. He was also very handy with tools. He loved working on all kinds of things, from cars to carpentry. One time he was looking for one of his tools…specifically, his hammer, and couldn’t find it. He looked everywhere, and finally, when he could think of no other way to find it, he sat down on the floor by the cat, and asked, “Kitty…Whar’s the Hommer?” It was said in a joking way, but apparently, the kitty knew more than Uncle Larry expected. Of course, the kitty didn’t really know anything, but when Uncle Larry looked down…there beneath in a crack in the floorboards, was the hammer. I’m sure it was a surprise to Uncle Larry, because he didn’t think he would find it, but in a moment of resignation, he found it because of a silly question.
Uncle Larry was my mom’s best friend as a child. Just two years older than she was, they did a lot of things together. One time, Uncle Larry bought an old car…a junker. He worked on the car, fixing it up, with great plans for it in the future. That morning, he decided to take the car to school, and give his sister, Collene, my mother a ride while he was at it. They figured out pretty quickly that the brakes on the car probably needed more help than the engine had needed. Now they were driving down the road, had no way to stop. For me, this story brought visions of Fred Flintstone putting his heels to the pavement in an effort to stop quickly. Of course, reality is much different. According to my mom, her brother pulled off an amazing feat…swerving around every obstacle until he could finally get the car slowed down enough to coast to a stop. I can imagine that Uncle Larry was extremely relieved that he and his sister were not going to be in an accident. Accidents can be so scary, and it doesn’t take much of an impact to cause injury. I’m sure that my Uncle Larry was very thankful, but my mom was very proud of him. His driving was amazing according to her.
When Uncle Larry was older, he decided to go to work in Bemidji, Minnesota in a mine there. With World War II going on at the same time, the family found out that he had been drafted. They had no way to contact him, so it was decided that my mom, and her fiancé, my dad, and Dad’s sister, Ruth would drive up to Bemidji to let him know that he had to come home, and prepare to go to fight in the war. They went up there, but couldn’t find him right away. He had gone into town. Eventually they found him and headed back home to Casper, so that he could go and fight for his country. I’m sure that was a bittersweet trip for my mom, who was now unsure of his future. Thankfully, Uncle Larry came home from the war, and went on to become the wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and uncle that he was to us, as well as the great brother and son he had always been. Today Uncle Larry would have been 80 years old. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Larry. We love and miss you very much.