[dropcap]M[/dropcap]y great uncle, Henry, used to give me coins whenever I saw him. It was his tradition. He gave silver dollars, buffalo nickles, and gold-pieces too. I don’t know how much money he doled out over the years, I’m sure it was in the millions.
Once, he stayed at our house, visiting the area on business. Lord, I was rich. Every morning that joker had a coin for me. He’d plop it into my palm and I’d marvel.
I didn’t care what it was worth.
Uncle Henry grew up rural, no stranger to hard work. And he had hands as big as skillets. I remember a tattoo on his forearm too, it was from the Navy. That’s where he learned to play the guitar.
And God, could he pick.
Henry was white-hot on the steel string.
He never married. He rented a garage apartment from a widow named Sylvia. They ate dinner together, and went to church arm in arm. They were a regular couple, for their entire adulthood. No one knows why they didn’t marry. Years later, after she passed, he admitted he never slept in that dank apartment. Not a single night.
Sylvia would’ve beat him silly for saying such.
He died from pneumonia. It was a small funeral. Not many folks came. He had no children, and no in-laws. But I was there, so was Jamie. I walked up to the front of the church to say goodbye to him.
I counted thirty-three different coins sprinkled in his casket.