Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Other Uncle Dan

Not that I didn't like him, but Uncle Dan was the source of much confusion in my childhood. I knew that for someone to be called an 'Uncle', he had to be a brother to your mom or dad. However, since he didn't have the same last name as my dad, and wasn't in any of the old pictures, I knew he wasn't my dad's brother. Seeing as he had no Japanese features what so ever, this removed him from being my mother's brother. So maybe his wife, Aunt Mary Alice was related to my mom or dad. Again, Aunt Mary Alice, though lovely, was not Japanese and some sleuthing on my part revealed that she did not share the same last name as my dad's family. My five year old brain was quite befuddled as to how we came to call these people Uncle and Aunt when there was no blood relation.

Finally it occurred to me to actually ask someone to clarify all this, and my brother lovingly replied, "They're just good friends of the family, you dope."


Okay, I can live with that.

The brother who said that is the one named after Uncle Dan, by the way.

I came to find out that Uncle Dan had met my father in third grade and they had been friends ever since. Wow. That blows my mind. In this day and age of immediate gratification and disdain for anything long term, a relationship that has lasted that long is worth noting.

Anyway, I always liked the visits with Uncle Dan and Aunt Mary Alice. He had a dry sense of humor and his wife was the most laid back person I had met. They had six kids. Six kids? That's crazy, eh? They also drove a VW bus. What's neater than that?

Uncle Dan has some mad carpentry skills. He built a bunk bed for one of his girls and a little captain's bed for another. He built a sun room addition to his house all by himself. I think I made a box in high school shop class and the teacher took pity on me and passed me anyway.
So recently he called me out of the blue and offered his skills. Perhaps he was having flashbacks and thinking of raising his own six in the small (by today's standards) house they shared.

And this is what he did for us. He made us a bench so the kids would fit more comfortably around our kitchen table.

Bo Hunkmeister, having some skills himself, had the kids sign the bench before he finished it.

And here's the tribe giving it the weight test:

No, Baby is not wearing a diaper, he's wearing a gold sequined leotard. Don't ask.

Thanks Uncle Dan. This was truly a blessing to us and we appreciate the time you took to do this.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention my favorite part:

This is the bolt securing the corner of our bench. Uncle Dan used this same bolt to secure a bench he built for his tribe. Rumor has it that it was pilfered from the Verrazano Bridge job site in the 60's. Don't worry Uncle Dan, your secret is safe with me.


Kelly said...

Beautiful bench, beautiful story, beautiful family...I know I can't ask. so I'll exclaim, "Holy Cow! A gold-sequined leotard!"

Anonymous said...

Have your kids figured out the uncle Dan thing yet?

Uncle Dan Jr

The Domestic Goddess said...

Of course, they are far more clever than their mother