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Taking time to spend with a great man
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Forsyth County News

We’ve just celebrated Valentine’s Day and the folks in the flower, chocolate and jewelry business have sought to imbed in our heads that nothing says love like roses, you’re as sweet as chocolate or a diamond is forever.

Take that last one and substitute “family” for the sparkly stone.

Indeed, whoever talked about the ease of picking one’s nose is much easier than picking your family said a mouthful.

Unfortunately, one bad apple, or one bad stepsister, can ruin the whole bunch. When it comes to light that one with whom you shared childhood memories betrayed a mother’s trust, it must be akin to what those Pro Bull Riders feel when they’ve lasted less than eight seconds: hurt and pain.

Instead of being gored by a slobbering bull’s horn, you’ve been gutted, realizing some family members will do bad things. I’ve heard it said that money will do strange things to people. I believe it would be more accurate to say that money will do things to strange people.

In a case that comes to mind, we’re not talking about a Ewing family-sized estate that would give every family member a gusher. The only oil Mom’s estate would have financed would have been a tube of Brylcreem – maybe.

Still, it was the principle of helplessly watching the trust of a mother wind up being betrayed, instead of the co-executor simply doing what was supposed to be done.

Family squabbles are never fun, even if they don’t hit the big time like the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. Instead of violence, words can do plenty of damage. Once the harmful ones are unleashed, it’s like trying to put that Brylcreem back in the tube once you’ve squirted that little dab that will never do ya’.

I just realized the previous paragraph dated me like a three-year-old apple. For you youngsters, think of Brylcreem as black-and-white and hair jell and mousse as being HD.

No more hair commercials, let’s get back to the battle.

Sinatra sang: “Regrets, I’ve had a few, then again, too few to mention.” My brothers and I sure wish we had a mulligan with Mom. It’s a safe bet that as she watched the whole sordid mess unfold, she unfurled her wings and knew things didn’t work out the way she wanted. A little communication of her plans and visions would have alleviated most of the pain and bad feelings.

Even though it was nearly eight years ago, the damage remains. Now there are talks of criminal charges being pursued because the money and property have disappeared into the Oklahoma dust.

Cancer killed Mom, but this conflict would have helped her catch the express bus to the pearly gates.

This has festered in me for a while and I feel so much better. In fact, you’re due a laugh, and since Jonathon Winters is dead, I know just the guy to do it.

My beloved Uncle Jim is getting up there in years, yet has always been at the top of his game when making us laugh at his latest antics. I think he’s close to 80 and I believe there’s a surprise party in the works.

He’s living in some temporary housing these days while the insurance company guts his Garden Grove, California home that was devastated by smoke damage.

Was it faulty wiring, you ask? Nope. Perhaps a gas explosion? Strike two. Then someone was playing with matches? Go sit down.

Alex, I’ll take what is having a lit log roll out of the fireplace, roll onto a rubber mat, and fill your home with enough smoke to send Jim and wife Ann to the hospital.

No flames. Just enough smoke to make Uncle Jim look like Al Jolson. Except he can’t dance a lick or carry a tune.

But he is one of the most giving people I will ever know and I realize that one day he’ll be gone and with him, so will all those family secrets.

I’m going to that birthday party, come hell or high water, the latter seemingly the rule of the day in California.

He’s had to endure lots of pain from his kids. He served his country in the Army and kept America safe by holding down the fort in Thule, Greenland.

My brothers and I are going to sit down with him. I’ll ask the questions and we’ll get it on tape. There will be tears and a lot of laughter.

The movie will go straight to video, but who cares.

I just want to give him a hug, tell him how much I love him and say “Thank You.”

I’ll feel as good then as I do now. Thanks for letting me share.

Mike Tasos’ column is published every other Sunday. He hopes anyone about to lose a favorite uncle gets to hug his neck. He also hopes anyone who has a will does their part to eliminate any bad feelings. It will only get worse when you’re gone. Finally, Brylcreem is like Uncle Jim. They’re both still around. Comments can be sent to