July 1, 2011
Uncle Larry

Uncle Larry is not really my uncle. He’s my dad’s friend. He’s my sister’s godfather. I always used to be jealous that I didn’t get a cool family friend and just got my dad’s brother, but I have stopped being jealous by now. 

Larry used to be rich. Until his partner ran off with all their cash to an unknown island in the Caribbean, he was a successful lawyer in Southfield. There were even commercials on TV with his name in the telephone number.

He was good at being a lawyer, and, like many good lawyers, was a little socially off-putting. But he wanted us to love learning, so he took us on shopping sprees at Border’s instead of attending birthdays or first communions. Buy anything you want, he’d say. So we did. My mom would tell him that he didn’t have to be that generous. Hey, I don’t have my own kids to take care of. The reckless abandon with which my sister and I were allowed to approach book shopping was surreal. 

He continued doing this until my sister and I were in our teens. My mom tells us that we are old enough to go to the store with Uncle Larry by ourselves. Larry has become a born-again Christian since the last time I saw him. He’s geeked about Jesus, which I am not-so-geeked about. I am at the age where I am expected to make polite conversation with adults, so I sit in the front seat and let Lara sit silently in the back. 

He tells me to put on the radio, so I scan through until I land on a station playing “Ecstasy” by Madonna. Maybe we can talk about Madonna, I think. He’s in his late thirties, maybe he had a Madonna stage.

You like this song, Bridgett? he asks. Yeah, I like this song, I said. It has a nice beat. You know what she’s talking about? Drugs. That’s disgusting. Don’t ever do drugs. You’ll ruin your life. Listening to Madonna with a born-again Christian was a bad call. 

We buy so many books that one of the employees has to get a dolly to help us take them out to the cart. Larry buys $500 worth of magazines. I remember looking at the receipt: 

PERIODICAL
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PERIODICAL
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Once we pack the books in the car, Larry asks us to join him in prayer. This means everyone, even the Border’s employee. We gave thanks to the Lord our God in a Border’s parking lot that afternoon, with thousands of dollars worth of books in the back seat.  And deliver us from evil, Amen. 

7:03pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZnSAKx6llQE3
Filed under: writing family