My uncle Bob died in 2013. He had been a carpenter and built his own house and several homes and cottages which he rented out. After a serious fall from a ladder, he left that and became a mailman. He and my aunt Lucille had no children. To this day, no one in the family knows why. It was easier back then to keep secrets. Lucille died first of a heart attack. She had been sick at home and rushed to the hospital by ambulance. The next day while riding in an elevator on her way to have tests done, she went into cardiac arrest. They couldn’t save her.
Uncle Bob lived alone for several years although his own health was failing. I always thought of him as big and strong. A man who didn’t talk, but rather barked loudly. He had an opinion about everything, especially politics and remained a staunch republican his whole adult life. He never talked religion. Never mentioned God or Jesus. I never saw a Bible in his home.
Sometimes, when he delivered our mail, he would come in the house for a few minutes to see my father (his brother) and he would give us the latest gossip that he had heard on his route. He and Lucille didn’t have any close friends, just those they worked with. Lucille was employed at a potato plant. Every once in a while she would give us a bag of red or yellow potatoes. They were tightwads who didn’t own a telephone until they were both getting old. I can still remember seeing Lucille using a payphone in town. It was always dark in their house and they were often in bed by 7 PM.
In the last few years of Lucille’s life, she started occasionally going to the Methodist church that another uncle and aunt of mine attended for many years. Other than that, Lucille and Bob were real homebodies. They usually only visited us on Christmas where my sisters and I had to show them all the presents we got and then they would leave and visit other relatives where my cousins had to do the same thing.
When Bob died, I received a letter in the mail from an attorney. There was going to be an auction of Bob’s possessions and all of his nieces and nephews could come a week before and purchase whatever we wanted. I wasn’t able to go, so my wife went in my place. In one of the bedrooms, she spotted a Bible on a shelf. That surprised me at first, but then I thought it was probably the one Lucille took to church with her. I asked my cousin who was executor of Bob’s estate, if I could have the Bible. She said she would check with the attorney. About a week later I found a bag at my front door. It was filled with several Bibles and a few Christian books. In one of the books, Bob had inscribed something to Lucille. It reads:
“This “book” is especially for you Lucille. Claim Romans 8:28 as your promise from God: “And we know that all things work together for good to those that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Bob.”
Bob also wrote the date: April 7, 1986.
I had always thought he was an atheist.