Unfortunately, I didn't know my Uncle David as well as I would have liked. He was my biological mother's older brother and I didn't meet my biological mother until I was 18, so therefor, I didn't meet Uncle David until then either. My half brother and sister had the opportunity to grow up with him next door, but I was off to college by then and didn't get the chance to see him and "hang" with him like they did.
My first thoughts of Uncle David were that he was an "Artsy-Fartsy-Drama-Type." He had this deep booming voice that was perfect for voice-overs, plays, and narrating, which is a good thing because that is what he loved the most. For as long as I have known him, and apparently even when he was in High School, he always had a play or some kind of production he was working on. Acting, Singing, producing, directing, writing.... It was just what he loved. I will never forget his rendition of Fiddler on the Roof! It was mentioned that he is probably running around Heaven now convincing people to be a part of his newest production.
Uncle David was smart. Not just smart, but absolutely brilliant. He was a member of Mensa, held numerous degrees, and was counted as a professor at several different universities and colleges in his lifetime. However, no matter how much of a genius he was, how wrong you were, or how right he was, he never made you feel stupid or less. He always lifted you up rather than pulled you down.
One of the things that was said quite a few times at the funeral was "David could sure turn a phrase." Perhaps this was as a result of his many plays, or perhaps he was a good writer and directer because of this ability of his. Whichever the case, he always knew the right thing to say at the right moment to lighten (or enlighten) the mood. Often when he would say something, you might think he was quoting some obscure play or phrase he found in one of his many books, but no, it was something that had just popped into head at that moment and it sounded like a good thing to say. Completely original and unique, just like Uncle David.
He was a boy scout. I don't mean he used to be a boy scout when he was younger, he's always been a boy scout. He made it all the way through the ranks and earned the right to call himself an Eagle Scout, an honor that has become a family tradition with my Uncle Richard (his younger brother), my brother, and my cousin Josh all following his lead and earning their Eagle. My youngest brother, Carl, is also on his way to becoming an Eagle. Boy Scouts was almost as big a passion in his life as his acting and plays. He became a scout leader and was always available to help with popcorn sales, camping trips, or an Eagle project until his health made it too difficult. (The boy scouts are collecting canned goods today. Please consider a donation in honor and memory of my Uncle David. I think he would have liked that.)
He was a staunch Christian, conservative, and a registered Republican. He couldn't wait to vote and give voice to his opinion, so 3 days before he died, he had my mother take him to early voting this year. He cast his vote (for McCain of course) and even though it is summised he may have rolled over in his casket come election day, his vote did count since he was alive and well the day it was cast. I think that even if he had known both the outcome of the election and his own future, he still would have voted with pride.
Unfortunately, Uncle David was also a diabetic. I'm not sure how long he had been battling diabetes, but it has been as long as I have known him. However, his love for life sometimes overshadowed his need to take care of himself. It wasn't until after he lost all feeling in both of his feet, had to have toes amputated, and began losing his sight due to his disease did he really decide to buckle down and take his disease seriously. Even though he began to get serious about his medical issues, it was this that eventually lead to his massive heart attack that took his life on November 2nd.
The family decided that Uncle David would not have wanted a sad, somber funeral. Although it was conducted with all the respect expected at a funeral, it was quite upbeat. Happy memories were told, cheerful music was in the background, and upbeat music was sung. My mother's cousins sang "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and told us all not to be so "white," instructing us that we needed to clap and sing along. There were laughs and jokes and I think Uncle David would have gotten a big kick out of Cousin Keith (who is also a minister and did the service at the funeral) saying "Go Horndogs" rather than "Go Horn Frogs" when discussing Uncle David's first college. He would also appreciate the fact that his grave is within sight of the High School Football stadium. He will be able to hear the band and keep up with the score.
I will miss my Uncle David. I will miss his smile, his laugh, his dry since of humor. He annoyed me at times, but that is what "elders" do. In order to help you learn, they have to annoy you from time to time :)
Uncle David, I may not have said it as often as I should have, but I love you and you have made more of an impact on my life than you may ever have known. You will be missed sorely until we see each other again.