I remember a group of people gathered around a large kettle stirring the steaming contents with a large paddle. They were silhouetted against the red sunset so I couldn't see them very well, but I was sure they were witches.
In reality they were my mom's brother and other family members, and they were making apple butter. And I was a small child who was terrified I and my brothers and sisters were going to be thrown into that boiling caldron.
Well that is one, but not the only funny memory, I have concerning my uncle Dick. He was always smiling. Always positive and happy. Telling jokes.
I've always thought of him fondly because he and my mom were brother and sister. She told us many stories of their childhood.
Their mother died of tuberculosis when Dick was 8 and mom 6. She had to stay in the Cresson Sanitorium for a while after that. She remembered the day her dad and brother came to tell her their mother had died.
Not so long ago uncle Dick told me he remembered that day as well. He said his dad wanted to bring her home with them, but the administration wouldn't let him. Dick said it was the only time he had ever seen his dad cry.
The two children spent weekends in Huntingdon with their uncle Dave and aunt Hid who took them to the movies. When they were brought back home, Dick would push my mom into the house first, telling her if anybody was in there, they'd get her first.
He also had a rooster he'd sic on her when she went to the outhouse. Until the rooster made a mistake and flogged Dick. As an adult, she was still afraid of the "banty roosters" as she called them.
They were two against the world, and as they got older uncle Dick became more and more vocal and demonstrative about his love for his little sister. When we'd go to the family farm to visit he'd hug and hug mom. Once she said that he hugged her more as adults than he ever did while they were children.
When mom was diagnosed with cancer, uncle Dick and Aunt Betty often came from Shade Gap to visit her. He called her often. After her death, uncle Dick became our Jaymes family connection. He continued calling and writing to me.
I thought he was looking more and more like their dad and I could see so much of my mom in him too.
Two weeks ago when he passed away of a massive heart attack, I felt like I lost my mom again. There won't be any more stories from their childhood. There won't be somebody we can talk to about mom.
There's one thing I know for sure. Mom, grandpap and grandma were there to greet uncle Dick with open arms and big hugs as he walked through the gates of heaven. But we'll miss him terribly here.
(Madolin Edwards is the community news editor and can be reached at email@example.com.)