Monday, September 24, 2007

Uncle Fred

Anyone who has been around my family for any period of time knows Uncle Fred (he's the one holding the binoculars in the picture above). He's one of those uncles whose first name really is "uncle." Even my friends called him "Uncle Fred."

Every year since before Steve Young took the field, Uncle Fred bought at least a dozen BYU season football tickets.

Uncle Fred's family is small. His wife died when I was 2, and he has one girl and one boy. He didn't remarry until about two years ago to a lady named Dee, who we also love.

Uncle Fred shared his love of BYU football with those of us who would appreciate it. And boy did we appreciate it. We were invited to at least one home game a year. Occasionally we even got to bring a friend.

Do you know how much Uncle Fred could have sold for his tickets to the 1990 BYU vs. Miami game? Probably enough to pay for the season tickets. But he gave his extras to us, and I was even able to take my good friends Keri and Jana.

I have a ton of great memories going to the games with Uncle Fred in his section (Row 17/18, seats 36 and up, section TT). In the old days, pre-9/11, they let you bring in your own food, and Uncle Fred always had licorice and chocolates.

We like to imitate Uncle Fred in our family, and I think most of my brothers wish they were as cool as him. He's one of those people who just oozes cool. He resembles Tom Selec, because he's had a moustache since long before I was born, and he has deep dimples in his cheeks when he smiles. He's rather tall, around 6 foot 6 inches, slender build, and a full head of brown hair with tannish skin.

When we were kids, he always knew all the songs and music from the 60s and 70s. He took us skiing once, and on the trip up to the mountain, he played the Beatles--the first time I'd heard their stuff. My own parents were a bit squarish in their musical tastes, even for their day. (Their favorite groups were Sons of the Pioneers, The Four Kingsmen, the Beach Boys pre-Pet Sounds.)

When Uncle Fred comes into a room, he kind of struts in and everyone kind of stops to hear what he's going to say, and the first thing out of his mouth is usually, "Hey, what's happenin'." And me writing that just now doesn't sound so cool, but you should here Uncle Fred say it.

And probably the most quoted phrase I've heard many of my brothers and other family members try to emulate is Uncle Fred's grunty expression. I'll try to explain it, but you've got to hear it to understand it.

If someone makes a comment, really about anything, Uncle Fred might make another sly comment in his deep voice, then grunt out some sounds followed by, "You know what I'm sayin'."

When I lived with Grandma McEuen in college, Uncle Fred came over everday after his work with the Department of Recovery Services to make sure his mom was okay and to check if she needed anything.

Sometimes we'd talk, and he'd tell me stories about people in the area. I loved it when Uncle Fred stopped by for his visits. It broke up the monotany of the day.

For my senior project in getting my journalism degree, I interviewed Uncle Fred about the Department of Recovery Services. He spent an hour being interviewed by me. My story was pretty lame, but I still appreciated that he would talk with me and allow me to publish his comments.

So to Uncle Fred--you're one in a million. You'll never meet anyone like him.


MarySquare said...

We should ask Uncle Fred if he still has that witch that used to hang above his kitchen sink somewhere.

Fish lady, Fish, and Guppies said...

I forgot to mention how Uncle Fred always opened his home to us, even when he lived in a smallish apartment in Orem. Most of us would sleep in his living room. You probably don't remember those days--when Uncle Fred was the only relative who lived in Utah County.