Throwback Thursday

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Everyone knew Uncle Teddy loved dogs. There were always one or two (or sometimes more) running around the house where he grew up, and dozens more in his neighborhood, and he always had a dog at he and Auntie Cheryl’s house. First was Thumper (I don’t even know if my cousins remember her; she was killed by a delivery truck when I was still little, only I didn’t know that at the time – I only knew she had died). Then came Jade, who Kene and Shayne grew up with. And then came Doughty, named after Uncle Teddy’s mentor and dear friend who had recently passed.

Fewer people knew that Uncle Teddy loved kids. He had a lot of bluster, he could be very prickly, but he couldn’t quite hide the twinkle in his eye when he was giving you a hard time. I’ve said it a hundred times – teasing in our family meant that we liked you enough to harass you. If we weren’t teasing you, either we didn’t care or we were upset. But I’m getting off track – I was talking about Uncle Teddy and us cousins. He would always make time to talk to us, to show us things and explain them to us, and he never talked down to us. He expected us to hold our own.

He did that with his dogs, too. Oh, there were high standards for Jade, Doughty, and (I’m assuming) Thumper. They were very well behaved because they were well-trained. All of this is to say it didn’t surprise me at all to find this picture of Uncle Teddy holding a very young Gracie when I first took her home for a visit. Gracie was seven months old that Thanksgiving. Uncle Teddy came over and took Gracie from me, sat down on the stool in the kitchen, and introduced Gracie to Doughty. He wasn’t awkward with Gracie at all – he had, after all, raised two of his own, and he was a very involved dad, and then there were all of us cousins who were always around our aunts and uncles – and he liked encouraging Gracie’s curiosity about the dog…and Doughty’s curiosity about the new baby in his house. I remember Uncle Teddy lecturing Dowdy about behaving, because of course he would. He probably reminded Gracie not to touch Doughty’s eyes, too. (Gracie, having grown up with the most patient black lab in all the world didn’t know that things like eyes and tongues and noses were usually off-limits.)

It was a small thing, those three off by themselves, with really nothing extraordinary about it. It was just an everyday moment: Doughty being curious, yet so well-trained. Gracie being okay with everyone and everything new around her. And Uncle Teddy being Uncle Teddy.

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One Response to “Throwback Thursday”

  1. Kathy Says:

    What a wonderful memory. It speaks wonderfully to the type of man he was.

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