May 4, 2012 - Uncategorized    No Comments

William Walter: 1926 — 2012

I just returned from my second funeral so far this year, this one for my other uncle who succumbed to Parkinson’s last weekend.  Having 2 “Uncle Bill”‘s in the family may seem confusing at first, but it was easily rectified with the creative application of occupational title:  “Uncle Bill” was my mother’s brother (the deputy sheriff), while “Dr. Bill” was my dad’s brother.  And he was, indeed a doctor, of the “old school” variety: a “GP” or “General Practitioner”.  In short, he was a family doctor … heck, he was our family’s doctor.

My fondest memory of Dr. Bill revolves around the 4th of July.  As a kid, family gatherings for holidays was a tradition, and each family member played a unique and highly important part.  July 4th was no different, as Dr. Bill would throw a party in his back yard that I’d look forward to all year, complete with a whole roast pig slowly turning over a pit he dug, enough food (picnic pot luck, with everyone chipping in) to feed a small army, and a pool.  He had a pool.  A real pool.  Not one of those “tank on the lawn” deals either.  This was in-ground, big (well, big to me) beautiful pool.  I remember playing with my cousins, all of us having a blast, while my grandmother (or, it could have been my mother) warning me to wait at least 20 minutes after eating before going in.  There was nothing better on a hot July day than the food and fun.

I knew Dr. Bill was a bit of a collector.  I remember his basement:  dark, cozy, and full of rocks, fossils, barbed wire, and other things.  What I didn’t know was his literary bent as a teen, but at the service today the bulletin had a poem he’d written when he was back in high school.  It sums him up better than I ever could, so I’ll just say “I’ll miss you, Uncle” and leave you with his words:

No Time

I don’t have time, no time at all,
to do the things I’d like.
To dream of pleasant brooks and falls,
and picnics on a bike.

I’d like to write a bit of verse,
and then some prose perhaps.
And travel the whole universe
while poring over maps.

I’d like to day-dream hours on end,
a very pleasant way
to meet a long departed friend,
and pass the time of day.

If I had time to do my best,
in everything I tried
I’d reach my goal, attain success,
and finally when I died

They’d write a simple epitaph,
and briefly it would read:
“Here lies a man who dreamed and laughed,
and took time to succeed.” 

- William Walter

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