Hey troops, sorry to have suddenly vanished from the scene but things are completely upside down at my house. Ever hear of a cool relationship where a brother and sister from one family, meets, falls in love and marries a sister and brother from another family? Yeah, well the results are a sort of double-related aunt and uncle who for all practical purposes carry the same DNA as the birth parents of the nephew or niece. Anyway, my 'Uncle Chick' (a childhood nickname he never lived down) and 'Aunt Millie' were those special people in my life.
Uncle Chick being a life long historian, railroad and War of Yankee Aggression student, he even studied Hebrew starting in 1954 so he could examine historical records in Israel... and he wasn't Jewish. Never a dull moment around his house, he built his own film laboratory, studied photography, studied art and was accomplished with oil painting or water colors, became a gemologist, had his own lapidary work shop, collected all manner of rare and interesting things. He always had time for the little ones in the family and seemed to know how to push the right buttons to encourage an eternal quest for knowledge. In many ways this great guy was my mentor.
As you might have guessed, he passed away last night in Missouri, 99 years young. I'm in a state of 'shell-shock' right now, and am working with family to figure out our next steps. So for the time being, MJ is on the side track and I'm off to the Ozarks, either in body or spirit to say my last good byes. Thanks for understanding.