Daily Archives: August 22, 2011

8.22.11 Say “Uncle”…Creatively

“Say ‘uncle’!” my fifteen-year-old sister would say, her knees pinning down my arms and her hands mercilessly tickling my nine-year-old ribs.

“Uncle! Uncle!” I’d cry in defeat, hoping against hope she’d be good on her word that her fingers would stop their finagling at the utterance of “uncle.”

Fast-forward 37 years. My sister’s 25-year-old daughter visits me this week. I now play the role of the word that somehow means admitting defeat.

Already she has had, it could be said if someone else were telling her story, a series of defeats. And yet she embraces life with an attitude of such clear fierceness, quiet direction, calm certitude that she frames her stories as anything but tales of defeat.

In fact, if our conversations have had any common theme it is just that: How do you deal with past hardships? Do you latch onto them as an excuse for your limitations? Do you prevail despite if not because of perceived defeats? Who is the agent of this one wild life?

All of this I derive in spending only a few  hours so far with her walking along the Shawankgunk Ridge this morning or eating lunch or walking through the hamlet of New Paltz.

Should our talks about love and life, sorrow and mishaps, parenting and parents give any comfort to her as they do me then to say ‘uncle’ also might mean something quite different than to surrender in defeat. At least, I hope, the next time she calls me ‘uncle.’

How about you? Any reflections today on not letting moments of perceived defeat frame your perception of your whole day? Any observations on how being tickled mercilessly might not be the worst way to get attention from your older sister? 🙂 How do you say ‘uncle’?

Regardless, share your day’s three highlights and let us know where you’re writing from.

See you in the woods,
The Three Highlights Guy