Saturday I delivered a tribute to one of my favorite people – my Uncle Richard. It wasn’t in my notes, but at the end, I looked at my aunt and my uncle’s kids & said something like, Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my favorite uncle.
When my aunt asked me to speak, I felt deeply honored. And then, really nervous. I was a child when my Aunt Liz married Richard. And I wondered what I should say.
My Aunt Liz's (my dad's) family deserved some attention. 3 of her siblings wrote me back with their thoughts about Richard.
I brought those thoughts to Boulder on Saturday. My dad's thoughts about debating NASA funding with his fellow government colleague. My grandmother's "Oh Richard" when she realized he was teasing her. My aunt & cousin who reminded me that the minute Richard walked into a family occasion he'd ask "When's dinner?" Except for Christmastime - he'd ask "Where are my presents?" I had to tell him every year that he wasn't getting any presents. And my Aunt Liz thought I would have mentioned in my tribute that I told him he wasn't smart enough to be around us Litkowskis. I think I was 11 maybe?
But I didn't. Because he was. I did say that while I liked him initially for giving me 2 cousins that were girls & around my age, I found that he acted my age sometimes too.
He was kinder than most of us. A Southern gentleman who really cared about family and teased with wit, but a smile that softened the joke.
After the tribute, I came back to my seat and Luke squeezed my hand and my brother said "Good job." When the service ended, a few people came up to me to say they liked my speech. But one person said, "I could feel your connection with Richard. That you respected & loved him."
So when I said at the end, Thank you to my aunt & Garth, Blakely & Emily, I meant 1) I was glad to know this man and 2) thank you for trusting me with a sacred time.
I am so glad that you have his voice recorded - it was so distinctive and beautiful and witty.