Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day: A Call to My Uncle Bill

Pictured: Uncle Bill, my brother Don Roberts, me, and my mother Madeline Moore Brinlee

My family and I did not go to any cemeteries or parades to day, but to honor the living veteran in my family I called my Uncle Bill. My younger daughter and I have interviewed him pretty extensively on his Navy service and I will write about that in future posts. To sum it up, he served in the Navy in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Most of his service was on the USS Belle Grove, and this included stints observing atomic bomb tests in the Pacific.

Uncle Bill is doing pretty well, but suffers from emphysema and has to keep an oxygen tank close by. He and his wife Cheryl have quite a few cats on whom they dote, and a couple of the cats have had kittens recently. They found homes for all but one; they have become very fond of her and are going to keep her. They have vegetable plants started in their garden and are going to celebrate Memorial Day by grilling steaks.

One new piece of family information related to me by Uncle Bill was about how my father ended up with a larger than usual nose for the Brinlees: it was broken twice. I had never heard about this. The first time, according to Uncle Bill, my Dad wanted to ride the family horse to a party. The boys would usually get hold of the horse by grabbing its tail, which would cause it to stop. This time, however, the horse decided to kick Dad in the face.

The second break occurred when my father was driving across Texas and pulling a trailer behind his car. The last thing he remembered was stopping in Floydada to buy a candy bar and then some time after that crossing the train tracks. He apparently fell asleep shortly after that and crashed into a large truck, and the crash also caused the trailer to ram into his car. He spent the next two weeks unconscious in the hospital; his injuries included a broken nose.

Happy Memorial Day, Uncle Bill.


  1. It is especially nice to honour (Canadian spelling) the living veterans too.
    Don't you just love how these stories come out randomly. Hello people tell me all the good stuff, don't wait until I ask.
    Thanks for coming by my sites. I have learned so much from other bloggers it makes my head spin.

  2. I love how much we can learn from other bloggers; it really makes learning fun.

    I have definitely learned a lot that I didn't know about my Brinlee family from my Uncle Bill; he's a treasure.