There are two things in this life that I really, really like. A box of Cheez-its and college football. My Uncle Bill is solely responsible for this!
A long time ago, my Aunt brought this wonderful man into my life. The very first time I met him - at least that I remember - I was laying on the couch at my grandparents house sicker than a dog. My grandparents had a finished basement and we kids usually spent our time down there. This time though, I was kind of banished down there to keep my germs to myself. Uncle Bill came down and brought me my very own softball bat and one of those huge multi-colored lollipops! We became INSTANT friends!! :)
I am the youngest of five kids and I have often teased my family about how I never got a new bike! :) My second memory of Uncle Bill happened at my grandparents house again. The neighbors were having a yard sale and here came Uncle Bill pushing the dirtiest, most decrepit looking bike! He thought I needed this bike and I can remember thinking that it needed a lot of work! Well, that is exactly what it got! Uncle Bill scrubbed and fixed and somehow turned that bike into something that looked pretty close to brand new! It was awesome and I was one proud bike owner!
Then, there was no one that watched football with as much emotion as Uncle Bill! Sometimes, our box of Cheez-its just didn't survive a game in one piece! :))) And, this wasn't just any football game! This involved the Ohio State Buckeye's! Whatever you did, you did not interrupt Uncle Bill and his Buckeye football game! :))
Unfortunately, life is playing a cruel joke on Uncle Bill and he now has Alzheimer's. This is a part of life that I just don't like. Over Labor Day, we went to Ohio to visit and the little girl inside of me wanted everything to be the way it used to be. However, two things happened that weekend to add to my memory bank that make me see things a little better. Sunday, we sat around the dinner table and I heard Uncle Bill pray for the first time. That isn't too say he hasn't prayed before but this was the first time I had heard him. Then on Monday, we went to breakfast at Bob Evans before we headed home. He was somewhat confused here and there over the weekend but all of a sudden he looked at Sandy and I and said, "You had a wonderful dad". Clear as day, he talked for a few minutes about dad with tears in his eyes. Needless to say, Sandy and I had our own share of struggles to NOT cry. :)) Uncle Bill needed no prompting whatsoever about dad let me tell you!
Life changes things and sometimes those changes are hard. But then I remember that in the midst of Alzheimer's, Jesus can still be present and that makes all the difference! My heart hurts knowing that Uncle Bill probably doesn't really remember us or that we were there. But one of these days there will be no forgetting, no memory loss and Uncle Bill and my dad will be together in heaven! I am so grateful for that hope!