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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Memories are the stuff that dreams are made of

"How old is that thing?" - If I had a dime for every time I heard that one! I thought I would do some more remembering. This is about another relative I got to know as a kid - Uncle Rufus. Uncle Rufus was a strange man, even by the standards of my other slightly strange relatives. He hated almost everything and everyone. He was the only man I know that would join a protest march and then join the counter-protest half way through. Luckily, Rufus did not have to deal with people a whole lot. Even in his job - see Rufus was a chinchilla farmer. He raised a herd, skinned them, and sold the pelts once a year at a furrier's market. In case you don't know, chinchillas are basically a cross between a squirrel and a hamster. From the face end they look quite a bit like a very large hamster. From the tail end they look like a squirrel with a bit less fluff in the tail. They are, however, blessed (or cursed, from their standpoint) with a fur that is about a soft as fur can get. For that reason for over 400 years, these little rodents have been sought and bought for their pelts. As I said, Uncle Rufus was a "hater". He hated everyone. I use to tell him (when I was out of range of those massive hams he called hands - see Rufus was about 7 feet tall and over 350 pounds)"Uncle Rufus - you are an equal opportunity hater." Yessir, Rufus hated some because of what they were and others because of what they weren't. He hated special days and days with nothing going on. He basically hated. Now this was many years ago, and the civil rights movement was getting a solid start in really making some changes. Rufus would hear someone like Martin Luther King and start screaming at him on the TV. The very next minute he might hear George Wallace and start screaming at his image as well. The thing is, he didn't agree with anyone -he just disagreed with everyone. Uncle Rufus started doing some checking on his background and heritage. See, he was adopted. My grandfather always said Rufus' mother let him go because he was arguing with her about child care as an infant. He did not know his natural father or mother. So, he went to looking around. Turned out he was one-quarter Japanese, one-quarter black, one-quarter native American, and one-quarter Caucasian. He killed himself - hate crime.

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