My cousin Bart died last
night, unexpectedly, too early in life, after a sudden illness. My
youngest brother called me this morning to tell me.
Bart was the only son of
my uncle Roy and aunt Maxie. Uncle Roy was one of Dad’s brothers.
Uncle Roy and aunt Maxie passed away years ago. Bart lived with uncle
Bill, Dad’s oldest brother, and aunt Bobbie, until they both
passed. A cousin took care of him for a few years. For about the last
three years, cousin Bart lived in a nursing home in Morristown,
Bart was physically and
mentally disabled, due to an early childhood illness. His right leg
and arm were drawn, but he could walk fairly well with a shuffle. He
didn’t seem to mind his limitations. Bart didn’t really think he
had limitations, for he loved life, family, and friends. He was
sharp-minded in his own way. Bart knew every state capital, and he
loved to quiz you on it. If I didn’t get one right, Bart would
smack his hands, laugh, and correct me. He could remember things from
the past that many folks might forget.
Bart loved to cut up and
joke. He was the life of many a family gathering. He loved to watch
the old TV shows, Andy Griffith, Bonanza, and the like. He enjoyed
calling people Barney, Goober, Floyd, Hoss, etc. I’d say to him,
for instance, “Bart, you ol’ Gomer-lookin’ thing, you!”
He would just shake his good fist, call me Barney or something, and
laugh. We had a lot of fun with Bart. He was a rich soul.
After Mom died, Dad kept
Bart at times, often for a few days, when my cousin, who plays in an
Irish band, had to travel or do something else. Dad often took Bart
down to the Burger Bar, a local Mom and Pop restaurant, where the
“old folks,” and sometimes the young ones too, hang out. Bart
always livened up the place. Bart was good therapy for Dad, and Dad
was good therapy for Bart. I went up most every Sunday to see Dad,
and I was glad to see Bart when he was there. The only problem was
that Bart liked to sneak cookies! “Bart, did you get those
cookies?” He would walk down the hall, look around, and just
I took my 80th
hike up House Mountain this afternoon, in honor and memory of my “ol’
cuz” Bart. He is in a far better place, and I could imagine him
looking down from much higher above and seeing the view that I saw
from the ridge.
While Mom went through
her year-long illness, which led to her passing, over ten years ago
now, she dreamed that she saw cousin Bart in heaven, not disabled,
whole in body and mind. Well, Bart, you ol’ cuz, you, I would
like to see you where you are now! Tell Mom and Dad hello for me, and
tell them I’ll be seeing them again one day!
Bart, these photos are for
you, you ol' cuz! I will miss you!