Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Uncle Murlan

I've got to repeat this picture of Uncle Murlan (91 years old) and my nineteen-month-old niece, Kate, because it speaks so eloquently to what I believe about life, death, the hope for the future.

Uncle Murlan passed last night at 10:41 p.m. in Oklahoma City. He was 91.

My grandfather used to tell the story about how he and his family traveled by covered wagon from Gorman, Texas (where my father was born) to Oklahoma City ( 1910-11).

They--my grandfather and his wife--had spent some time in Arkansas and Texas and, finally, Oklahoma where they raised four children, two boys and two girls.

Suffice it to say, my Uncle Murlan was a George W. Bush advocate and admirer, even to the extent that he framed the White House Christmas card that was, of course, sent to most or all monetary contributors to Dubya's campaigns. My uncle Murlan was proud of his devotion to the Republican party and, specifically, to Dubya himself.

I suppose I need to tell you that my uncle was not a great admirer of Martin Luther King Jr. I don't need to delve any deeper into my uncle's psyche about race and equality and the promise of America. But, what I can say, is that his son, Bobby--a good heart, a dear soul--whispered into my uncle Murlan's ear Monday that, "Daddy, this is not a good day to die. This is Martin Luther King's day. You need to wait a while before you head for heaven."

I, my eighty-eight year old aunt Blanche, my sister, Michelle, and her two precious babies, Jack and Kate, visited Murlan this past November and (I think we all understood) said good-bye for the last time to this unique character and steadfast southerner. Thank God we did.

I'm not so sure that the good lord rejects the old southern rednecks from His realm. He may put them on kitchen duty for a while, but, eventually, what was in their hearts for all mankind probably surfaces and, I suspect, uncle Murlan is probably shaking Martin's (MLK's) hand as I write this missive.

Godspeed, Uncle Murlan.

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