I am running out of family.

Dad grew up in household of six: Mom, Dad, four kids. There are only three left now.

Mom grew up in a household of eight: Mom, Dad, six kids. There are only five left now.

My Uncle Ed was a man of exquisite taste: he liked Pig and Rat, sang “Puff, the Magic Dragon” better than Peter, Paul and Mary, and opined at length on the greatness of Predator.

He opined at length on many things. He left me a ten-minute voicemail on my birthday. He talked for two hours to my brother on his. He kept me entertained for an hour at Thanksgiving with stories of the soccer playing days of his youth.

He was a man of enormous strength. He used to be able to vault himself out of his wheelchair and into the driver’s seat of his old station wagon, then disassemble his wheelchair and toss it into the back seat of the car. And he could do this as many times a day as was required.

He was a man of enduring faith. His unfinished doctoral thesis was on the subject of relativism. He once told me a quote, which I misquote, and which seems to be the foundation for his thesis, “One day science will break through the final wall and find that religion had been there all along.”

I have a friend with a Crazy Uncle Ed as well. Let us drink to Crazy Uncle Eds. They are such a large presence that they leave an awful gap when gone.

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