Uncle Dave was a quiet man.
But a nice man.
Always with a smile. A quiet smile. A friendly smile. And always a kind word, or a joke.
And never an off-color joke.
He was a good man. A quiet man. A hard-working man. A good Christian man
Uncle Dave became Uncle Dave before any of us ... my sisters or me ... were born. Okay, he wasn't really our uncle until we came along. But he married my aunt ... my father's little sister (one of them, anyway) ... back about 1950.
He was a hard-working man. Carpenters Union. Farmer.
Fathered our oldest cousin, who grew up to be one of the most pleasant people you could ever meet. And, years later, his son came along, Dave II. Not Dave Jr., but Dave II. Actually, David.
And, really, that's a tall order to fill: being Dave II.
Because Uncle Dave was a good, good man. Oh, Dave II is, too. Maybe that's why the "II" -- you know, II (2) and "too" sound alike. So he'd be like his daddy.
Last time I saw Uncle Dave was a few weeks ago, at a funeral. He'd been sick, lately. But dressed up, went out to a family funeral, sat through the service, went to the cemetery, found some shade, and paid his respects.
Saw him, and of course, my eyes lit up. A smile came across ... not just my face, but my heart. Uncle Dave was that kind of man.
Went over and spoke to him. He went through all the pleasantries. But he meant it. It wasn't just "how're you doin'?" He really wanted to know.
And, he said something ... don't remember what it was, just something like Uncle Dave says ... that made you laugh. Not a slap-your-knee, out-loud guffaw. But a nice, quiet, appropriate-at-a-funeral laugh.
That was the last time I saw Uncle Dave.
He'd been sick lately. And we knew he didn't feel all that well.
He didn't show it.
He didn't plant a garden this year.
That, all by itself, told how bad he really felt.
Uncle Dave died this Wednesday. Had his funeral yesterday.
He left behind a good wife. A good daughter. A good son.
Lots of grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Oh, his grandchildren had children.
A big family lost a big man. A big man who had a big heart.
Uncle Dave is gone. He won't plant any more gardens.
But he sowed lots of goodwill, happiness, and joy while he was here. We'll be reaping from that garden for years to come.