Because he was able to carry on a conversation via telephone, we talked every month or so. He'd call (that's right--he had a working dialing finger, too) and update me on what was going on in his life and his kids' lives, and then he'd ask about mine.
He had four kids of his own--now grown--but he had enough room left over in his heart and mind to be interested in what was going on with his sister's offspring, too. He kept track of my extended family--no mean feat, given that I have 6 siblings, 9 nephews and nieces and 15 grand nieces and nephews, not to mention my own voluminous family--and was genuinely interested in what was going on with each of them. Over the past few years, I stayed up-to-date on their lives at least partly because I knew there'd be a quiz.
One of the reasons he knew all those kids was because he spent time with them when they were young. Some he took fishing, others he taught to shoot a bow, still others to fire a pistol and hit a target. Looking back, I'm floored by the amount of energy he poured over such a large group of kids. His heart may not have been strong, but it was huge.
Curt's health went downhill in recent years, but each time he called his update on that topic was always brief and upbeat. He wouldn't complain about his situation, he'd just tell me what was going on, maybe make a joke of it. (When the adhesive on the bag you're using as a bladder doesn't stick properly
, you've got excellent fodder for jokes if you're of that mindset.)
We didn't agree on everything--we'd go ten rounds every time the subject of Obamacare came up--but his affection and concern for me, and for so many people, were non-negotiable.
Take him for all in all
He was a man.
I shall not look upon his like again.
Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2
Goodbye, Uncle Curt. I'll miss you.