My uncle, Jim Wolfe was a favorite uncle to my sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, Allyn Hadlock, and me. Uncle Jim had a great sense of humor, and a deep sense of family. He loved kids and he was good to all kids. In fact, Uncle Jim was good to everyone. He was the best kind of person. Uncle Jim has a soft heart. Whatever we wanted when we were around Uncle Jim…if he had any say in it, we could have it, or do it! I’m not sure how my parents, Al and Collene Spencer, felt about all that “spoiling,” but I’m sure they were ok with it, because after all, it was only temporary. He just liked to make us happy.
My uncle Jim was a storyteller among storytellers. The best of the best. When Uncle Jim started telling his stories, we all sat around him wide-eyed with wonder. We never knew if his stories were going to be from real life and which ones were going to be tall tales…at least not until the end, when he would tell us the punch line. Then we would all laugh and say, “Oh! Uncle Jim!” He loved to get a little rise out of us, and it really tickled his funny bone. And speaking of tickling, Uncle Jim was a tickler from way back. He used to chase us around and tickle us, if we started bugging him…so naturally, we always started bugging him. Then we would try to get away. Hahahaha!! Not that that ever happened. Uncle Jim had the kindest heart and he was always a lot of fun!
Uncle Jim would help anyone who needed help, if it was within his power…neighbors, friends, and even complete strangers. He was generous, and would always lend a helping hand where he could. He loved his family fiercely and loyally. No one better hurt his wife or kids, in any way. He defended them in word and deed. He was faithful to them in every way. When he decided to buy some land out in Washington, where he would build his final home, he bought enough so that each of his kids could have their own place nearby. He never wanted any of them to not have a home, so he made sure of it. The land he purchased was on he top of a mountain with some of the most beautiful views on the way up. He did his very best for all of his family, and I don’t know anyone who didn’t love Uncle Jim. In his later years, when his care for Alzheimer’s Disease required that he be in a nursing home, Uncle Jim still kept his character. He loved putting a smile on the faces of all the nursing staff, and anyone else who might be there visiting. He could often be found getting into “mischief” behind the nurses station desk, not that he ever hurt anything, he was just “visiting,” after all. My sisters and I love him still! Just thinking about him make us smile. Uncle Jim went to Heaven in 2013 to join his wife, my Aunt Ruth, and other family members who have gone before him. I know they are having a great time, and we are so glad to know where he is, and one day we will be together with him, and all our family again. Today would have been Uncle Jim’s 100th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Jim. We love and miss you very much.
My grand nephew, Matthew Masterson has always tried to be a tough guy, but the biggest problem with that whole idea is that he has a soft heart. Matthew doesn’t like to see anyone get hurt or be sad, because all of his tough guy stuff is for fun. Matthew likes to hang out with his cousins, Xander, Zack, and Isaac Spethman, playing all of the tough guy games that boys play, like war games, super hero games and of course, every sport imaginable. He is after all…a boy. As cousins, Matthew and the Spethman boys get to spend quite a bit of time together, and they are always off playing some war game or something.
My niece, Liz Masterson, who is Matthew’s aunt, told me that Matthew talks like a small adult, using big words and sentences that sound like they were spoken by an adult. It happens sometimes. Little kids who seem to have grown up too soon.
Matthew has something in common with my daughter, Amy Royce, too. Last week Matthew and his sisters got to go to breakfast with their Aunt Liz. Liz took them to IHOP. The girls all ordered a traditional breakfast, but not so Matthew. He on the other hand decided to have a cheeseburger. Liz tried to reason with him, but Matthew would have none of it. So, he ordered a cheeseburger and then proceeded to pour Cholula Sauce all over it. What ten year old wants Cholula Sauce on their food. Most ten year olds hate hot sauce. Not Matthew. When, Matthew’s cousin, Amy went to breakfast on a vacation we were on one time, she decided that she wanted Spaghetti for breakfast. We all thought she was half crazy, but she ate every bite…as did Matthew. The only thing was that Amy wouldn’t have ordered a cheeseburger if you paid her. In that one, Matthew was on his own.
Matthew is going into 4th grade this year, and I’m sure he will have a great year, but that is not something he wants to think about right not. I’m sure he is like that little girl on television talking about the back to school sign, who says, “Back off sign people…I’m keeping my summer.” I have to agree with you, Matthew, I’m not ready for fall either. Today is Matthew’s tenth birthday!! Happy birthday Matthew!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Some people have such a way with children…a gentleness really. They are so soft hearted…maybe a little too soft hearted, but you find yourself unable to be upset with them, even if they let kids get away with too much. That is always how Bob was with our girls, and in fact, if I hadn’t been much more on the strict side, they would have been completely spoiled. Bob always had a hard time with disciplining the girls. I think he always thought he would hurt them, so he either left it up to me, or he yelled at them a little, and I do mean little, bit. He wasn’t a scary guy at all, and in fact Amy, my more stubborn child, even laughed at him after a spanking he gave her when she was 5 years old, if you could call it that. He just didn’t have the heart for it.
I can’t say that his soft heart was a bad thing, exactly. I mean, did the girls get away with a little more than they should have when they were little? Yes. Is he still a sucker for his little girls? Yes. All they have to do is say, “I love you, Daddy” and he knows he has already lost. Does that fact bother Bob? Not at all. It is simply who he is. He might try to tell people he isn’t a softy around kids, but everyone knows that isn’t so.
Everywhere Bob goes, little kids seem to come out of the woodwork. No, I don’t mean strangers, I mean the children of friends, people he bowls with, or people he works with, and of course, family members children. They are just drawn to Bob. I think that soft heart shows on his face, personally. And if you think you can hide that from a kid…well, get over it. They can read you like a book. Those little kids instinctively knew that Bob was a friend.
Not much has changed over the years, and the grandchildren know that their grandpa is going to help out in any way he can. He is the second call, after their parents, when they have car trouble or any other such problem, because if their parents can’t fix it, or can’t get there right now, their grandparents will find a way…yes, I’m a bit of a softy too. And they know that he will most likely let them get away with a little more than their parents might, simply because he hasn’t changed since their mothers were little. Once a soft heart, always a soft heart.