Saturday, July 17, 2010
I went to two funerals this week.
My uncle, Gene, lived to be 100 years old. Shortly before his big birthday, he fell. He didn’t trip over anything or anyone, and he didn’t bump into anything. He was simply standing there watching my 87-year old aunt play solitaire on the computer, and his hipbone broke. He never managed to recover from the fall, though he did get to have a big birthday party and continued to live for another four months.
Up until the fall, Uncle Gene was still driving. He even went to his office a couple days a week. This was a guy who did push-ups into his early nineties and whose skin pretty much looked like a baby’s bottom. His sister also lived to be 100.
Gene was a dapper dresser. You could always spot him in a crowd – green sports coat, plaid pants and shiny patent leather white or tan shoes. His hair was always meticulously combed back. He worked hard all his life, starting a business from nothing and building it so that he could comfortably support his family. Uncle Gene was the oldest living member of the Lexington, Kentucky Rotary Club, having been a member for 66 years, and he was made Honorary President of the club on his big birthday.
Gene was a pilot. He loved to fish. He liked good bourbon. He was just a really good guy. And he had a smile that never quit.