Happy Birthday, Uncle Al. Al DeYoe would have been 99 years old on March 17, 2012 had he survived the cancer that took his life, but not his indomitable spirit, twelve years ago. I need to take a moment now to reflect on the legacy of Uncle Al, but, more importantly, I will try to glean whatever lessons I can from this man’s wonderful life.
Al DeYoe was a guy who knew how to live. He never seemed to let life bring him down, even when it sucked the most. After losing his wife, a wife he diligently took care of after her stroke, he carried on. ”Have a drink with me, Buddy!” was his common refrain. We had lots of parties with him, some big but mostly small. Often, two to three people constituted a party. It didn’t really matter to Al, as long as people were having fun. I think it’s called a zest for life.
Whatever you want to call it, I have reflected on it lately, this love of life. I am currently experiencing a surreal, out of body kind of moment for me, where I am stuck longing for one life to move forward, but knowing that it probably never will, and having to come to terms with the fact that I can’t do anything about it; it’s completely out of my hands. Which saddens me. And when I’m sad I think of Uncle Al, his joy, his drive, and I think that the things that are preventing me from moving forward really aren’t that big when you consider it in the scope of a lifetime, that the little things to work out now will seem small in five years. The risks of losing out on joy are too high to be taken lightly, and Al never let a moment of joy slip by. They were too precious, and he knew it.
That was why he always seemed so sad when people would leave early from one of his parties. They were missing out on all of the good stuff. They would always say that they had really important things to do- I did it myself on occasion- but now that he’s gone, and there haven’t been parties on Marlene Drive for over a decade, I wonder if they regret leaving early. I know I do.
I don’t want to leave the party early. There’s just so much more to experience.
Oh, and on a side note, I found this great country singer named Jimmy Wayne, and am blown away with this song. It kind of sums a lot up for me.