I believe that there are some people whose feet are more firmly set into the ground than others. They have “tie-up shoe” feet rather than “glass slipper Manolo Blahnik-shoe” feet. My Uncle Herb is one of the Tie Up Guys and I believe in him. Not the way people believe in God or Saint Jude but the way people believe in the seasons and the moon. There it is and when it isn’t there you know it will return.
When I heard that Story Core was coming to Boston I tried to get him to go with me there but he wouldn’t. He is like that, stubborn, his wife, my Aunt Syril, says. That is not all she says but this isn’t the place for that story.
Uncle Herb is a brave man. He is small and sturdy though not as sturdy as he once was, before triple and quadruple bypasses, eye annoyances and eighty five years got to him.
He was part of a wall of people who protected Paul Robeson from a racist mob in Peekskill, NY in 1949. Throughout his life Uncle Herb has spoken up for people whose voices were kept under the sewer lids of Brooklyn, New York and Newark, New Jersey. He was a radical when it wasn’t chic and as a witness to many injustices he did not remain silent. Herb isn’t a great talker but when he speaks there is weight to his words.
I believe him and I believe in him. If he agrees to be your Educational Advocate he goes with you to all manner of meetings, no matter how deadly they might be. If he agrees to be the Executor of a will he stands firm and no manner of family pettiness takes him off course. He is, as they say, a man of his word which though scarce are grounded like so many beech trees.
Over the years I have watched my uncle organize memories of his life and our family’s life so that they wouldn’t fade away, invent gadgets to make a home safe for his autistic grandson and fix everything broken for anyone in need. If I thought a man could fix this sad beautiful world I would bet on Uncle Herbie who has the determination, the patience and the desire. This I believe.
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