Uncle Ian

by barbznz

My uncle Ian died on Wednesday. He was my mother’s baby brother. He had a short battle with cancer but it was long enough for his siblings to get together and spend time with him.

I wasn’t able to see him as I got there the day after he died but I  was able to support my mum through this difficult time. And to see the family again. 

To be honest, I have had very little to do with my mother’s  family since I was child. None of my mother’s family met Suzanne once we left Upper Hutt when she was a baby and  only Aunty Dot had met Simon prior to Mum’s eightieth birthday bash. In reality, I was born between the generations, not much younger than my mothers younger siblings and much younger than my cousins, In fact some of my younger cousins are the same age as Suzanne and some have children the same age as my grandchildren.

I remember Uncle Ian at the trotting stables in Moonshine Road, He was always smiling. He loved life. And his exploits were legendary. There is an underpass in the Hutt that has huge gouges into the concrete quite high up.. They were made by uncle Ian, He fell asleep at the wheel and flipped his car making those marks, Amazing he wasn’t seriously hurt. 

He also got swept away in a flood and chopped his leg badly while wood chopping. He married Pat and had two sons. both fine men, Stephen is my famous actor cousin and David works with computers. 

Once Granddad died and Nana left the stables, the family split up, the brothers eventually going to the Waikato and the two girls ended up in Canterbury.  Nana followed the girls after her mother Nana Alsop died. And I of course I moved between the Hutt and Tauranga so there was little interaction between us. 

The funny things was, I always had flash backs about Uncle Ian. Every time I saw those dirty looking white daisies on the side of the road, I could see Uncle Ian and fire, It didn’t make sense.  It was really strange. I asked my mother about it and she had no idea what I was talking about. 

About 20 years ago, I met up with him at a family funeral. I asked him about it. He looked at me quite stunned. He said you are too young to remember that. And I said, I don’t really remember anything, I just see him surrounded by fire. Nothing else, no context, nothing, just him, those horrible daisies and fire. 

Well he said, I was under a tractor trying to fix something  and the grass caught fire.and my back was burnt. The reason the grass caught fire was due to the fact that the grass had been sprayed with grass killer which dried the grass. Friction with the dry grass and the gravel on the drive cased a spark and ignited the grass.  But he reiterated, I was much to young.

Obviously I wasn’t, After our conversation, I felt much better. More importantly I stopped having flashbacks. I had the answers I needed. 

© Barbara Hart 2014

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