The Fun Uncle
I was a teenager at a family reunion. We’ve all had the experience – staying with people you vaguely know for several days and trying desperately to enjoy it. There are a million places in the world I would have rather been. We were in Florida. Why was I here when Disney and Universal were just a hop skip and a jump away? I never hated these gatherings, but why couldn’t we do it somewhere fun? Kill two birds with one stone. The adults get their boring talking time, and I can enjoy my time away from school.
“Aunts and uncles, grandparents, yeah yeah… where’s the food?” This was my mentality for most of the gathering, but I would soon learn to regret it. Like the typical sitcom family, I had the one fun uncle. Chris – he was the one that cracked jokes and made fun of my dad. We were just finishing up a meal at the clubhouse, and were getting ready to head back to the house for a boring day. Now me and Chris are pretty different people. He’s loud, rambunctious, and out of control. I am calm, collected, and don’t talk unless I feel like it. But we share one major interest: Cars. I remember watching in awe as he pulled up in his ocean blue Porsche 911 convertible.
It happened as we were walking out. Chris tossed me a leather pouch. Me being, the incredible athlete I am, didn’t even catch it. It fell on the carpeted floor and a set of keys fell out. I thought he was kidding. But he told me to go and get the car.
I was in absolute nirvana. I was driving a Porsche convertible around the rich district of Orlando, Florida.
I think this experience taught me more about family than any other event in my life. The fact that my uncle was willing to pass over the keys of a $60,000 high performance car to a teenager he saw once a year at most really blew me away. This is something that could only happen within a family. I am one of those kids who is “ready to go to college.” In other words, I want out of the house. But this little event reminded me – family is more than just little brothers breaking your stuff. It’s about generosity and solidarity. It’s something I am seriously going to miss when I leave for college. There have been countless other instances where someone in my family has done something like this for me. But this particular event opened my eyes to it all. I had literally vowed that I WOULD drive a Porsche before I died. The problem was where to obtain such a fine piece of machinery… If it wasn’t for my awesome family, I would have waited God knows how long to realize my dream. And to think, I wanted to go to Universal…
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.