1 day ago
When I was 12, my Uncle Jack gave me a knife. Absurdly large in my skinny hands, it was a rite of passage and marked a transition of sorts in my family. It opened the door to a trip that only uncles and big girls with knives could go on and suddenly I felt a little more free. It was on one of those trips that he encouraged my cousins and I to whittle. We created an entire family from wood that we hid in the dirt year after year, unearthing them at the start of each trip with a sense of anticipation. I have the knife to this day. Uncle Jack embodied joy with a healthy dash of mischief. He always brought the ham and hilarity to family events and you could see his blonde hair and tan skin flashing through the crowd, often with a smile on his face and beer in hand. Looking back, I realize he was a fashionista in his own right, often rocking tall socks and short shorts with sneakers and a glorious ponytail. These are the memories I hold in my heart today upon learning that Uncle Jack passed away. I like to think his spirit will live on, somewhere between the deep valleys and peaks of the Cascades, spreading joy, beauty, and a little bit of laughter to everyone who visits.