My Uncle the Priest
“Daddy, Mommy wake up!” I yelled. I was four years old, we lived in an older home that had a front porch. Sitting on the porch in a chair was my Uncle Georg. Dressed in black as most priests are. My Dad and Mom jumped out of bed. Racing down the stairs and there he sat. Uncle Georg was tall and rather heavy set, he had wavy dark auburn hair, and hazel eyes. He was also very eccentric, especially for a priest. I remember Mom, running to the door and asking him to come in. My Dad with a look of consternation on his face. Uncle Georg, smiled as he entered the house. My Dad, by way of greeting:
“you know we do have a telephone, if you had called, we would have been ready for you.”
Then he went back upstairs. Uncle Georg, that particular time had gotten there around two in the morning from the airport. I suppose he did not see much sense in waking us up at that hour, which sort of makes sense. I can still to this day seem him with a cigarette and a bottle of beer, talking to Mom and Dad, me I was ushered out of the room. That is the first visit I clearly remember. We never knew when we would appear out of no where. He was stationed at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in Jennings, Louisiana, in fact he helped to build the church itself.
Uncle Georg, would always come to the house unannounced, we got used to that after a while. The summer I turned five he was visiting. Back in the day we had canvass chairs to sit on, Uncle Georg went to sit down; there was a loud crash. Mom came running from the kitchen to see what the noise was. It was Uncle Georg, as he sat down on a chair, the canvass tore. He was sitting all scrunched up laughing, he was stuck; his butt on the porch floor. Mom, came out, saw Uncle Georg whom she always called Brother. He was a big brother, that much can be said. Considering some of the things he did over the years.
Uncle Georg would visit for a few days then head to his younger brother's house. My cousin and I would compare notes after he left. He was a busy man. He was a pastor, who loved to travel. He usually flew to Germany at least once a year. He would bring back Hummel figurines for my Mom, he brought me back a doll one year. He was perhaps one of my most interesting ancestors. I have so many memories of his comings and goings. I remember when he was looking for funds to build Our Lady of Perpetual Help. He finally did get enough to start the construction of the church, just how no one knows. He used to drive a VW Bug, it was a washed out orange. He drove from Jennings, Louisiana to Natchez, Mississippi for years because there was no priest there. I believe my Mom contributed to the building of the church, after all he was her brother. Uncle Georg, loved to fly. He actually convinced his sister, the sister to fly to Germany, France and Ireland. He must have done a lot of talking to get her to go. When Tante May traveled, it was by train.
Uncle Georg, did several annoying things. One caused my Mom a great deal of consternation. I was just coming to the kitchen when I heard my Mom give off a scream that shook the entire house. By the time I got to the kitchen my Mom was giggling and laughing. I thought in my child like mind that maybe a mouse or something had entered the house. Mom hated mice with a passion, why I have no idea. I did not see anything so I shrugged it off. Uncle Georg did not appear for a few years. Mom told me he was working on building our Lady of Perpetual Help. However the following year, he paid a visit. Breakfast when he was there was always an adventure. This visit was no different. Uncle Georg was a coffee drinker; he always left the spoon in his coffee. Then on the second morning, he patiently waited until Mom turned around, He quickly removed the hot spoon, and stuck it on her leg. I thought for sure she was going to let out another scream; which she did, then she laughed. This did not compute in my child's mind. What could possibly be so funny about a hot spoon on the leg. Evidently the two of them thought it was pretty funny.
The years went by and we saw less and less of Uncle Georg. I often wondered where he was. His last visit was in 1966, by that time I was a teenager. Uncle Georg and I walked to the record store where he purchased the score for Doctor Zhivago, a very popular movie. We listened to it as soon as we walked in the door. Singing was not his strong suit, for a priest back in the day that was really bad. A high mass required Gregorian Chant; I just could not picture my Uncle singing mass. When he began to sing, the dog started to howl, which set off a chain reaction all over the neighborhood.
Time has a way of catching up with all of us, me included. Uncle Georg was no exception. I noticed at my Mom's funeral, he did not say mass, which somehow seemed curious to me. He was always very boisterous; now he was subdued. It never entered my mind that he was developing dementia. Before he left this time he gave me a beautiful medal of The Virgin Mary. It had a gold head on a pale blue background. He took it from his own neck and placed it around mine. I was very touched.
Shortly after that he went to live with my Uncle, until the dementia became really horrible. My Uncle sent him back to the Maryland where the main headquarters are for the Jesuits.
What exactly will my ancestor be remembered for?
A hot teaspoon on my Mom's leg. My daughters don't remember him at all, which is why I told them about My Uncle the Priest.