I'm thinking about the family I'll see at Thanksgiving, which gets me thinking about someone we won't be seeing at Thanksgiving: Uncle Lenny.
Uncle Lenny was a charming, brainy pilot and an early dabbler in home computers. He was married to Aunt Carol, who was my blood relative in this situation. They were a fact of family life when I was a child, Aunt Carol and Uncle Lenny.
Then one day it was announced that they were separated.
Much later they were back together, attending church and family social events hand in hand, smiling, talking about the counseling they were getting.
Then they were divorced.
A sad but typical story. But it's not like they just went their seperate ways. The message that came down after the divorce-and I wanna emphasise that this was from my Mom and other Aunts, not from Aunt Carol herself-was "Uncle Lenny is gone. He is Dead. His name has been blotted out of the Book of Life. You will never see him again." I was sad because I liked Uncle Lenny; he was charming and knew how to make a little boy feel important. But indeed I never saw him or heard from him again.
I'd kinda like to drop him a line, but I don't know his name. He's Uncle Lenny. And while my parents are generally open with me, I don't think they'd want to help me track the guy down.
Anyway, some years after all this I asked Mom why Aunt Carol and Uncle Lenny went through all that, and Mom's answer was "He had a girl in every port." Which explains everything and nothing. You can imagine how that would lead to divorce, but it doesn't in and of itself tell the whole story. Did he keep cheating after all his happy Scripture-verse-laced talk about staying together and counseling and the sacredness of the marriage vows?
And even if he were a repeat cheater, I could understand how my family would hold him in low regard, but there's more than low regard in this family for the man. There's a deep, dark, plentiful well of hard hate. Maybe there's more to the story than infidelity; or maybe when it gets personal such stock elements as "adultery" and "divorce" take on a fiery, frightening and epic force.
Anyway, my family is pretty pokey in most regards, and I prefer it that way.