Family Heroes

In my opinion, family heroes come in all forms.  In my life, I have had many of them. I don’t know what got me thinking about my fun-loving Watts’ great uncles this morning on my way to work.  However, I think of them often. They were heroes in my eyes because they were steadfast in their love of family and country.

These five men were my Gran’s brothers.  She had seven siblings, five of them were boys.  Uncle Ruben was the only one older than her. The younger ones were near my dad’s age and he grew up with them.

The Oldest

Gran’s dad died at a fairly young age leaving their mother to raise all of the younger siblings.  Uncle Ruben went off to World War II sending money home to his mom as often as he could.  He went on to be a leader throughout his life; however, he always made time to come to Great Granny’s for Sunday dinner and spend the day with her. I believe modeling respect for your parents is so important, especially in today’s world. Being a hard worker and providing for your family is something that I admire so much. Uncle Rube certainly did that.

The Others

Now, the other boys I always group together in my mind.  Frank, Curt, Bernard, and Shelby  were still kids when Gran got married and had my dad.  Dad grew up with them and thinks of them as brothers.  He always talks about how they included him and let him tag along.  I believe they are responsible for teaching him to fish and hunt. I know they are a part of many of his fondest memories. It is obvious in how he speaks of them that they were heroes to him as well. In my opinion, kids need people in their lives that choose to spend time with them.

I’m sure the great uncles are also responsible for teaching my dad a few bad habits.  They all were known to handle “bad” talk.  They taught me some dirty words as a small child which I repeated at my Papaw’s kitchen table.  Now Papaw was my mom’s dad and he absolutely did not condone curse words.  Of course, my mom was mortified.  I don’t think I repeated anymore bad words after that.  Anyway, a person doesn’t have to be perfect to be important in a child’s life.

The “boys” were also known to throw my cousins and me back and forth through the air.  They were all constantly full of jokes and teasing.  I loved that about them.  If you have the ability to have fun with children, do it. You might just become a family hero, too.

Fun and Loving Heroes

Uncle Shelby, the baby, was well loved by all that knew him…except maybe the ones who got in trouble in his classroom.  He once set me on the back of a bull in the pasture as my mom watched in horror.  I remember him being full of teasing and laughter. He is mightily missed by our family now.  

Uncle Curt made sure that Gran passed the word for me to bring my kids over to see any new calves he had.  He and Aunt Viola always enjoyed our visits and made us feel so welcome.

Uncle Frank moved away before I was born, but he visited throughout my childhood.  A tall, handsome fella with a voice that I remember today.  Of course, I have a funny story about him, his wife, and the other “boys.”  His wife, Aunt Doris was afraid of cats.  Once when they were visiting Great Granny’s overnight, the other boys who probably were still living at home, threw a cat into the bed with Uncle Frank and Aunt Doris.  I’m sure she never slept well there again.  Furthermore, I am quite sure they were not family heroes for her.

 Uncle Bernard opened his land and expertise for my boys to kill their first squirrels.  He, along with Aunt Violet, gave our youngest son a blueberry bush as a birthday gift that is still providing us with blueberries each summer.  We have been given multiple gifts from their gardens over the years as well.  Their home is a beloved place for my family.

The Power of Being a Family Hero

I know that the great uncles loved me and the other kids in our family.  How powerful is that in shaping a child…to know that I was loved by not just my immediate family but my great uncles and aunts?  I believe that having family heroes is so important to children developing confidence in themselves.  

I guess that is where I am going with this post.  If you are blessed enough to have children in your life, let them know that you care for them and would be there to look out for them.  Let them know that you cherish having fun with them.  Be a hero for them.  

These men weren’t lazy.  Almost all of them served in the armed forces.  They worked hard and made their mark on our community and state.  When our family needed some brute strength, they showed up.  They still had time for our family.

The only one left now is Uncle Bernard.  I appreciate the relationship that he and my dad have.   When he walks into church or any other place that we might be together, I feel that connection.  I hope that I brighten his day a little, too.

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