Uncle Bigfoot and I

My heart is heavy.

Two weeks ago today, I received an email from my mother saying that my Uncle Bigfoot dude he has massive feet was admitted into the VA Hospital in Houston. She said his blood pressure was over 200 and heart rate was in the hundreds. I wanted to cry because Uncle Bigfoot was more like my older brother than my uncle. we’re literally twelve years and months apart

When my mother and I moved to Texas in 1981, my uncle was fifteen years old and a freshman in high school. We moved into my grandparents house into the small room across the hall from his room where we stayed until I was ten which was around 1988. By 1988, my uncle graduated high school, I started school and he joined the service. Now if I remember right, he joined the U.S. Air Force after Laine (my aunt and mother’s first sister) and Uncle Mike got married in ’86. Or did he just come home for the wedding. I don’t remember much of the eighties.

Either which way, I remember asking to listen the music he liked because “someone had to listen to his music while he was gone.” That’s when I discovered Aretha Franklin the R&B singer, Patti LaBelle, the Gap Band, Kool and the Gang, and The Time. so old skool

I can’t remember when or how old I was when he came back from the service, but it must have been before Papa got sick. I’ve blocked a large part of my life in Podunkville USA out of my mind. When Papa passed away in 1991, everything changed between everyone including between my uncle and I.

During my high school years, my uncle started cooking more. When I say that man can cook the hell out of anything it’s a great understatement. Uncle Bigfoot, Laine and the old battle axe (grandmother) are the main reasons I love food and to cook so much. Uncle Bigfoot is partly responsible for my #phatgurlworldproblems with cheesecake. Have you ever had cheesecake that closely resembles ice cream?

Imagine a thick heavy cheesecake topped with blueberries and frozen to just the right texture and consistency. Did I mention every inch of these 12″ in diameter cheesecakes is homemade from scratch? No? Are you imagining it now? Ain’t it goooood?

¡Ay Dios mío! ¡’tan muy delicioso y riquísimo!!!

Oh sorry. I can smell the graham cracker crust baking in the oven.

Must.

Stop.

Now.

UGH!

——

Fast forward to my sophomore year of Baylor when I became pregnant by my then boyfriend. I remember everyone being so very disappointed in me, especially my uncle. Again, we were more like brother and sister than uncle and niece. But when the news spread about me being pregnant while at a very Southern Baptist school, he became my uncle. No longer did it feel like he was my Mel’s Diner and I was his Ursula which hurt more than anything.

When baby girl was born, my relationship with everyone in my mother’s family became volatile and beyond emotional. Some time after she was born, Uncle Bigfoot was diagnosed with prostate cancer. My heart was broken because even though it wasn’t the same cancer that took Papa away from me, I thought the worst. He didn’t attend my mother and step dad’s wedding. He was too sick. I remember visiting him in the hospital and once at home.

When I graduated from Baylor, I didn’t tell anyone in my mother’s family. The only family I told were my sisters and Granny. Long story short, we just weren’t seeing eye to eye. In fact, shortly after graduation, I stopped talking and visiting my mother’s family. It wasn’t a healthy environment for anyone and I had to protect baby girl from the drama that was guaranteed to ensue if I stuck around.

That was in late 2002 early 2003.

——

It’s been at least eleven years since I’ve heard my uncle’s voice. Fifteen or sixteen years since we got into our usual Ursula/Mel’s Diner argument. Too long since I actually had a decent conversation with anyone in my family.

Too long…. Since we actually acted like a family. Too long since a decent thanksgiving or Christmas.

Perhaps it’s been long enough…

We shall see..

Thanks for reading…

The Southern Yankee

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