Uncle Emery

Illustration of a Farmer

Lindy neglected to mention that Uncle Emery had a unique way to measure our growth from year to year. He marked it on a wall in his living room. Each summer when Lindy and I arrived, Uncle Emery would ask us to stand by the living room wall while he made another mark for each of us. I was quite proud of the many measures of our height.

One summer when we got ready to end our week-long visit, Uncle Emery said

Be sure and stop in town and tell me goodbye.

He hung out with the rest of the old men in the town at the railing in front of one of the banks. We did as he asked, with our mother driving us into town to tell him goodbye. He leaned in the car and told Lindy and me to always obey our parents. Then we drove away with my mother yelling out the window

We’ll see you next summer.

A few days later, Uncle Emery went out in his front yard and put a bullet through his head. Lindy has always insisted that it was our promise to return for another visit that pushed him over the edge.

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