Wes 2gr

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Uncle Wes was this wonderful father figure.  Although I had a very good father, Uncle Wes often stepped in and added special dimension to my childhood and the memories I now have.

It was over sixty years ago, in the 1940s, when Uncle Wes had this old, black truck.  The amazing thing about his truck was that it could fly. 

Uncle Wes would call up our home on some Friday nights and invite me to go with him to cemeteries in his flying truck...the next day.

A parent might be scared of knowing that a child would be riding in a flying truck and certainly not to go to cemeteries.  Why in the world would they be flying and spending time in cemeteries?

Uncle Wes was my mother's brother and all the family was very special. We all knew Uncle Wes to be a great man.

I would never hear the old, black truck coming, because it was a quiet truck.  That's probably because Uncle Wes kept his old, black, flying truck in tip-top condition.  However, I always would be sitting on the top step of our steep stairs leading up to the big porch at our house on Willets Place in Ithaca. He would ride up the hill on East Buffalo Street and turn on Willets Place, a private street where the Ithaca College Infirmary was also located, and the President of Ithaca College's home was in front of us.

I'd run down the stairs and jump in the truck when I'd see Uncle Wes turn the corner and head down the street.  I'd always be looking forward to my times with Uncle Wes.

Off we would go and once we were on the road Uncle Wes would announce that we were now lifting off and starting to fly.  I believed him.

Was I not bright?  How come I fell for ths?

I guess because I didn't stand up on the seat and I was just a little child, I believed with all my heart that we were flying and heading for the cemetery.

Why would we be going to a cemetery?

Uncle Wes owned a monument shop where he sold granite an marble monuments and flat, rectangular stones giving honor to those who had died.

He was skilled in chiseling in the names and dates of the person who had died and always put the birth date and the death date.

My job was to help him clean up afterwards.  We would take rags and clean the monuments and flat stones with Turpentine or Mineral Spirits and then we would take grass clippers and trim all around the granite parts or marble areas and get everything looking great.

Sometimes we headed for other parts of a cemetery to do more work...or we would head out, flying, to another cemetery in Ithaca or outside the city.  Mostly, we would spend the whole day together.

At some point we would stop work and eat our bag lunch.  We would always have a sandwich, maybe an apple or banana, water to drink, and either Aunt Mary's delicious chocolate cake or something my mom would send with us.

Uncle Wes and Aunt Mary had three children and two were now adults.  But, one of the children was about my age, just a little younger and we were like brothers. 

I guess he went out with his dad at other times, but these Saturday trips in the flying truck were just our times together.

What a geat man and what an example he set for me.

We might have been only spending time in cemeteries and flying in that old, black truck, but I think that's where I learned great respect and honor for the people who had died, and where I learned that we should always spend time helping little chlldren to develop well.

I cherish what Uncle Wes did for me and he will always be in my heart.

 

About the Author

Richard R. Davison grew up in Ithaca, New York.  After graduation from Ithaca High School and attending Cascadilla Prep School near the Cornell University campus, he moved to Tampa, Florida, and attended the University of Tampa where he met and married Dorinda Garcia on the same day they both graduated from the university.  Richard also graduated with a Master's Degree from the University of South Florida in Gifted Education and an Ed.S. degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Florida where he also was admitted to candidacy for the doctorate.  An automobile accident changed those plans.  He and Dorinda became teachers in the Hillsborough County, FL, school system and he retired with 38 years and she retired after 25 plus years.  They have two adult daughters and their husbands who they think highly of, and three precious grandchildren who light up their lives.  They travel now when they can and are especially happy when all the family goes to northern Spain, to the province of Asturias, to visit Mrs. Davison's numerous relatives there.  Another highlight is when they visit friends and relatives in other parts of the United States.  Last year they visited Venice, Italy, Turkey, and the Greek Islands with friends, and they and their family also spent a month in Peru. They also love animals.  God and the church are important to all members of the family, and they consider service to God as one of the most important things in their lives. Mr. Davison serves on the Executive Board of The Learning Centers of Tampa Bay, Inc., and he is on the Advisory Council of the nationally accredited Learning Center located at St. John Presbyterian Church in Tampa.  Mr. Davison won a service award bronze medal from the University of Tampa upon graduation and also an award presented at the Tampa Theater for his work in photography, highlighting the history of Tampa.  That award was given by the Junior League of Tampa and Tampa Preservation, Inc. His book, "Puddles of Ithaca," about his beloved, mixed-breed beagle dog pet, is to be published this year.   

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