Thursday, December 22, 2011

Remembering Uncle Raymond

I have a few Christmas posts at the ready, but I am postponing them to remember my uncle, Raymond who passed away last Friday.

Uncle Raymond was a big guy right from the start -- a whopping 12 pounds when he was born. His birth reportedly was a long, difficult one, and when he didn't draw breath, the attending physician (he was born at home as were most babies back then), declared a stillbirth.

My great-grandmother refused to believe that this big, beautiful much-longed-for baby boy, didn't have a shot at life. She dunked him back and forth between tubs of hot and cold water, rubbing him vigorously between dunks until he started screaming and flailing.

His uncles called the solemn little boy with coal-black hair and big dark eyes "the kid with the million dollar smile." When they called him that, he just frowned all the harder.

That's not to say he didn't have a sense of humor. He loved to tease his four older sisters, and they loved to tease him back. When he was real little they convinced him that he really wasn't their brother and that their mama and daddy decided he would have to go back where he came from.
Wiping away tears, he packed a few treasured toys into a box and went out to Old Biloxi bridge to hitchhike his way to his new home. Nona, who had been shopping downtown, stepped off the bus, to see her son climbing into stranger's car, while her daughters, who realized the prank had gone a little too far, ran out from behind the bush where they had been hiding waving their arms to ward the car off. That was the last time they ever tried give him away.

He grew up to be a handsome young man who somewhat resembled a young singer from Memphis (by way of Tupelo).

Although he would spend most of his life in Pascagoula, Uncle Raymond was a true Point Cadet boy. From the very start, he loved the water and spent most of his life on it. He learned to throw a cast net before he learned to read. He grew to be a commercial shrimper. I remember vividly the picnics our family held on his boats.

At his service, he was remembered as a man who enjoyed the simple pleasures in life: the water, his family and food.

Not too bad for a boy who wasn't supposed to have a life at all.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for that Cathy. Daddy always had the best stories too.
    Mike Soljan