# goodbye, dickie

Earlier this week I made a whirlwind trip to Oklahoma for my Uncle Dickie’s funeral. It was wonderful to be there with family to celebrate one of the most exquisite men I’ve ever known.

Dick was actually my great-great uncle. As the second-youngest of nine, he spent a lot of time at my great-grandmother’s house—his eldest sister—who had two young children just his age, Jack and Patti (aka Memaw).

Dick - Morris family

{Dick is standing on the far left, my great-grandmother is seated on the far right}

He adored my great-grandmother, Pauline.

Dick - Pauline Disneyland

I’m told he practically grew up at her house with these two. They have always been thick as thieves.

with Jack and Dick

A small town’s Three Amigos until my grandpa arrived on the scene and they became The Four Musketeers. One of my favorite photos is this from their high school days, where Dick and Pops played basketball together. I believe it was this photo that started the nickname “Hot Uncle Dickie,” because, well, he was!

wetumka basketball

{Pops is second from the left on the back row, Dick is two over from Pops, peering over #55’s shoulder}

A natural athlete, Dick was recruited to play football for the University of Washington and OU by Bud Wilkinson before eventually playing quarterback for the army.

Dick - football

Dick - football army

{Dick is standing in the center, #88}

After serving in Italy during the Korean Conflict, Dick worked in the electrical business, which is pretty apt. I’ve never known anyone with as much spark as him.

Dick - 1947

 

02-16-2008 07;34;08PM

He and Beverly celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary earlier this year. Decades of love and adventures between them and she took such good care of him throughout a series of ongoing health struggles.

Dick - wedding

DSC_0301

IMG_1199

He was equally at home in being a ladies’ man and a guy’s guy.

Dick - Pam

DSC_0278

Dick and Phil - golf

And a huge OU fan — Boomer, baby.

Dick - Aldo OU

IMG_0372

My mom and her cousins (and me and mine) have looked to Dick like a father/grandfather in our lives. We benefitted greatly from his fount of never-ending generosity and humor. For being considered extended family, he showered all of us with the most immediate of loves.

Dick, Pops and Jack were unbelievable patriarchs. Pam nailed it this weekend when she said, “Families are lucky to have one of these men in their lives. We had three.”

Funny Man

In a family that prides itself on making others laugh, I swear Dick’s objective was to always make himself laugh first. I’ll miss the way he’d say something so inappropriate and then when he had your mouth-gaping attention, he’d close his eyes, open his mouth in a knowing smile and quietly chuckle to himself.

DSC_0207

When my now brother-in-law joined us for his first Thanksgiving, Dick walked over, outstretched his hand, and said, “I’m Dick Morris. Who the hell are you?”  Here he is at a much earlier Thanksgiving, sitting at my great-grandmother’s table that now sits in our dining room and eating off the Desert Rose dishes we still use for holidays.

Dick - thanksgiving table

The day my sister got married was also the day of my prom, so while family gathered at my aunt’s house after the reception, I changed into a new dress and posed for photos on the lawn. Before getting into the car to leave, Dick came up to give me a hug and told me to give him a kiss. I tiptoed for a peck on his cheek and he yelled out “on the lips!” for everyone to hear. That guy. There’s no one like him.

He was always having the most fun in the room. Can you tell?

DSC_0285

IMG_1175

His lines, his stories, his lists of the world’s most important things…they will live on in beloved infamy.

Candy Man

Dick was the master of peanut brittle.

02-16-2008 07;04;22PM

Every Thanksgiving since I was a little girl, we’ve had a Ziploc bag with my mom’s name on it lying on the counter. It wouldn’t last long, in fact it rarely made it to Christmas, and it’s what we eat any time we are all together.

DSC_1126

He turned his batches into Dick’s Deluxe Peanut Brittle—a side business that made many people very happy around the holidays. Over the last five years he’s passed his brittle-making torch to various family members, including me. How thankful I am that so many of us will be stirring and watching and checking and freezing in his honor. At his service, the pastor related his brittle to family: You need enough sugar to hold all of the nuts together. In many ways Dick was that sugar holding us all together.

Dick and Memaw - Peanut Brittle

Family Man

The thing I loved most about Dick—above this humor, his wit, his brittle, his soft voice—was his love for my grandparents. With Memaw he was another brother, with Pops, a best friend. They were always together and he loved them so fully and so well.

with Dick and Pops

When Pops had his stroke, Dick would come down to Houston to do anything to make their lives easier, from minor repairs to concocting a structure that would hold his arm up and help him build strength. He had always been their great protector, but never more so than then.

Dick - pops

with dick and bev 1

with dickie

Dick - pops golf BW

with Dick and pops 1

I could never thank him enough for the love, friendship, joy and support he freely gave them in the many decades they were together (in Memaw’s case, over 83 years).

Here they are singing a favorite childhood song just a few weeks ago. (Sorry for cutting off the start of the song!)

He meant the world to them, so he means the world to me.

The Funeral

Family came from all over the country to pay their respects to Dick. Pam and his two sons spoke beautifully about what it meant to have someone like him in their lives, no matter how long. His pastor from Texas led a touching service before Dick received his military honors at the grave site. It was a sad day, no doubt about it, but it was made easier with these folks.

Funeral group

Especially her…

IMG_3138

…who ordered orange flowers to be placed at Pops’ ‘next door’ grave “to break up all that OU red.” Zingers til the very end.

IMG_3140

No one ever loved Dickie as much as these two ladies.

IMG_3142

I’ll be thinking of them a lot as we move forward.

IMG_3160

There hasn’t been a time in my life when Dick wasn’t there, until now. And that is the saddest of realities.

CIMG0474

DSC_1149

On my way back home I was struck by a song’s lyrics about family: “Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.” We have a lot of family tree branches to be thankful for, but his will always be special.

We’ll miss you so much, Dickie. See you down the road.

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “# goodbye, dickie

  1. You truly captured the real “Uncle Dick” with his love of family, fun, football, and of course peanut brittle. Loved seeing the vintage photos you posted. On one trip to Houston, Dick and Phil helped me pull out rain-soaked carpet when my home flooded. Always helpful and laughing all the time.
    Beautiful tribute, Marci!

  2. Pingback: Friday Five: Second Blogiversary | hashtag marci

  3. Pingback: Friday Five: Christmas 2015 New Decor | hashtag marci

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s