Snows & Princes

Birthday Lunch with Uncle Don 2014

Update from John Marriott

We had lunch with Uncle Don last Saturday to celebrate his birthday. He doesn’t like to broadcast his age, so we agreed that we were celebrating the 19th anniversary of his 75th birthday. His actual birth date is 9/11, but we were traveling in Europe at the time, unable to observe it with him at that time.

He was pleased that the folks at the senior center, where he still works weekdays serving lunch, also took no note of his birthday. He said none of the younger women (<80) want anything to do with old, old men. Better to keep the illusion that he is much younger than his actual years, than to have it known by all those he serves, he says, and those he still dances with at the center when he gets a chance. As usual, we had a very enjoyable lunch, apart from the mediocre food, catching up on recent events in Don’s life and, generally, solving the world’s problems, along with recounting of events from the long ago that we like to hear about from Don’s perspective. We talked again about Grandpa Arthur’s illness in the 1930’s that forced Don to miss a year of high school, as he took care of the farm while Arthur was unable to work for most of the year. He said they never did figure out what the problem was, but they suspected it was a stomach ulcer and put him on a milk diet. Don was able to return to HS as a senior with the help of a compassionate principal, who over-ruled the truancy officer’s decision to kick him out of school. He also said that he drove my father, Elwin, to Fountain Green in 1938, for his first teaching job out of college. My mother, Yula, moved to the nearby town of Mt. Pleasant to work in a school there and continue their courtship. They were married in 1941 and returned to Weber County to live. Don is still pursuing claims of service-connected injuries (his long-time back problems) with the VA that have now reached the final level of appeal. He fully expects a “Not Service Connected” verdict, but seems to enjoy the fight (no attorneys are involved). Much joking and laughter always accompany our discussions, making them especially jolly and fun. Serious items also enter the conversation, including decline, death, and the loss of his favorite neighbor, who moved to a nearby neighborhood. Don says he’s got another year in him. We all hope he’s right and don’t doubt his assessment. That will mean at least 12 more lunches together. I like that prospect. Hope some of you will join us when you get a chance. —John Here’s a pic of Don laughing at our lunch last Saturday. IMG_0666

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