They say the stars shine bright, in the night sky of the Lone Star state, but tonight they will shine a little less as a son of Texas has been called home.I didn't know my Uncle Richard, which is to say I didn't know him well. My first memory of him is when he came to visit us in New Jersey. I seem to remember that I had to give up my bed for him. I didn't mind because I was forced to share my older brother Benjamin's bed - I did this often when I was scared so it was nothing new for me.
I saw him and his family again during return trips to Texas and at various family get-togethers.Richard, like all the members of this family, never made me feel unwelcome. Often he would try to impart his wisdom upon me; it is too bad I was too young to see it.
A Christmas trip to grandma and grandpa's home in San Antonio saw my uncle telling me not to rush into anything when it came to marriage. Slow down, he said, take your time.In a hotel room in Santa Anna, Texas, he and my mother talked politics briefly. Thinking I was wise beyond my years I piped up my support of social medicine. It was Richard who challenged me with a supported argument.
My last memory of him was at my Aunt Betty's home after having attended my grandfather's funeral. I had written my memories of my grandfather - much like I am doing now- and Richard said to me, "Patrick, you're a good writer."A strong compliment from someone I very much respected.
I wish I had gotten to know you more, Uncle Richard. I wish I had taken the time to reach out to you and say hello. This will forever be my regret.Know this though, I loved you and respected you very much.
Rest now, sir; rest in the arms of your mother and father, rest in the arms of your maker. And in the words in of George Jones, "Lord I wonder, who's gonna fill your shoes."