I’m not great at public speaking, and this was BY FAR the largest audience I’ve ever spoken in front of. But I knew I needed to speak on his behalf for my own closure… and I knew he’d be proud of me for sucking it up and doing it, even if it was more his jam than it’ll ever be mine…
So I could organize my thoughts, I wrote them down first.
This is what I came up with.
Uncle Jim: 1956 – 2007
You lived your dash better than anyone else I’ve ever known, brother.
Seven and a half years ago, I moved here to this city to live with my Uncle Jim. He and my Mother worked out a deal so that I could live in Jim’s house and go to college in the area. Jim and I weren’t close yet, and I’d only heard the stories about how wild and crazy his life was.
I was his nephew, a relative but not a stranger… There is a different relationship that you have with your “extended family”, and in my experiences you learn to love them.
What made him My Biggest Hero, was that he taught me what it means… To be a Man.
A GOOD Man.
He shared things with me that he never told other people, we did things together that you just can’t do with immediate family, and he thought the world of my ability and my potential. Sometimes he questioned my “common sense”… but he always had something good to say about me to others.
At the same time, I have always bragged about how cool my Uncle Jim was…
I always tell people what he would say:
“A True Friend will help you bury the body.”
And here we are.
I recall a time where Jim and I had lost touch for a few weeks, and as I was driving my Bug out in Largo with this BEAUTIFUL girl, suddenly she says to me “I want that car!” and points to a black Corvette next to us at the red light.
I looked again after I pulled up a few more feet, rolled my window down, and honked the horn. The ‘Vette had the top down, but the windows were up. When the window came down, there was Raymond sitting in the passenger seat, with Jim at the wheel.
I said “What’s up brother!”
With that great big grin on his face, he said something like:
“What’s up Sissy!”
I feel very blessed…
He showed me love as a family member,
We shared respect for each other as men,
and he was also…