I wonder if you knew that quiet spoken man who married your grand-daughter, Lilah. Paul Dole, my uncle. My favorite uncle. He was much older than Lilah, by some twenty years, and yet I felt their connection even as a kid. He was loyal to her. I loved seeing them together.
When the uncles would gather at Gram’s, Paul would take the chair by the door. An unobtrusive place and it was way too small for his bulky frame. Kind eyes. He had the kindest eyes I’ve ever seen. When I heard Paul was visiting with Lilah, I would rush down to Gram’s and risk her wrath just to see him. I guess he meant so much because he noticed me.
How’s school going, Sue?
He knew my name.
Are you still playing the violin?
He noticed my passion.
Keep going, it’ll get easier.
He encouraged me when no other uncle did.
Paul was a man of few words when at Gram’s, but he seemed okay with sitting there and taking in all the conversation. He’d sip his coffee, never in a rush and I swear peace just radiated from him. Found out later he served in WWI and was a Free Mason. Like others who served in the Great War, he refused to talk of it. Unlike others in my family, he didn’t resort to the bottle to numb the memories.
Many years after his death, I was visiting his daughter. She was clearing out her parent’s house and offered me her dad’s violin. What a gift. What a treasure.
I played as long as I could until arthritis set in, but don’t feel sad, I never was that good. Not like my daughter who plays so beautifully. I feel his song travel through the generations, down through Paul, to me, to my daughter and I’m so grateful for the gift of music.
I wish my kids could’ve met him, known his kindness, seen his beautiful smile and those amazing eyes. I wish I could’ve heard him play.