I have been wanting to write about the wonderfulness that is my family but have not been able to find the words. This morning I got a message from my mom telling me that my Uncle Phil had passed away the night before. Although his health has not been good and we were somewhat prepared that it could be happening soon it still sucks. I want to tell you all a little bit about my Uncle Phil.
My grandparents all passed away when I was pretty young but my Aunt Barb and Uncle Phil being my father's oldest sister (15 years older) and her husband always filled that role for my brother and I in some way. My first real memories of Uncle Phil were when we roadtripped to California for my Grandfather's funeral. I remember him at my cousins house telling my brother and I these tall tales and giving my brother a feather to remember him with.
Fast forward about 10 years later. I had done REALLY bad in college and wasn't returning in the immediate future because of a lack of financial aid. I had no clue what I was going to do and my Aunt suggested I come live with them in Alaska, retake my classes at the University in Anchorage and make the most of whatever time I took off from school. So I did.
I spent the next year at my Aunt and Uncle's house. My Aunt Barb is a very busy woman and my Uncle Phil was a retired Captain from Alaska Airlines. Uncle Phil and I would drive to the University everyday together (he was taking a couple of classes too) and afterwards he would take me to get some lunch wherever it was that he had a coupon. When my aunt was out of town or came home late I would cook my uncle his favorite meal - Meatloaf. On Saturday's he would make me do some chores and then reward me with lunch somewhere that he had a coupon. He said he was putting me through "Wife Training" because I was ill prepared for any husband.
He also tried to set me up with some nerdy guy he met out at the airport who had a degree in Mechanical Engineering (that was the only thing we had in common). This guy was a class act. I think he was really in love with my Uncle and super confused when he showed up at our house and I was there. The man even told me that he "didn't like girls." The night turned in to my uncle and I trying to convince this kid of the biggest stories we could think of... he seemed to buy it all. He believed that I had taken a small boat out off the coast of Alaska and caught a 1000 pound halibut all by myself. He was such an idiot.
My Uncle was also the only person to ground me and this happened when I was 21 years old while I was living with him. I spent lots of time on the computer talking with friends back home and emailing and he had strict rules about the use of the computer, one of which was that the monitor had to be turned off every time I was done. Well, I failed to do so a couple of times and I got grounded. The grounding didn't last long but it still happened. I have many more memories from my time in Alaska living with my Aunt and Uncle but I am going to keep those for me.
Uncle Phil may have been a man who had to have things done his way but once you figured him out he had a huge soft spot and would do anything for you. He will be greatly missed.