Monday, April 25, 2011

U.....is for Uncle

and, after Uncle Sam, that word brings to mind John Candy's portrayal of commitment fearing Uncle Buck. If you've never seen the movie, rated as a comedy, you should check it out.....I'm sure you'll love it

Personally, I think of my Uncle George. Uncle George was not actually my uncle (both my parents were only children), but he was definitely related though. He was my dad's mother's aunt's son and was within a few years of my dad's age. They felt more like brothers toward one another. Every other year we journeyed to Ohio to see him and his family and on the years we didn't go there, they came here. This man was genuinely loved by his step-kids, family, friends, neighbors, employers.....well, everyone loved Uncle George.

The story about him was a little shaded though. Seems as though he came into the U.S. by way of Canada. Once there, he was only a 'river away' from getting into the U.S. Seems as though he and a companion actually rowed across the Detroit River in the dead of night. They were very young....maybe 15 or 16 at the time. I'm not sure why he did this.....possibly something about his paperwork being incomplete. He managed to make his way to Ohio where he knew people that had promised to help him if he could get that far. He eventually got his paperwork straightened out, took citizenship classes, passed the test and became a citizen. He served in WWII, became a medic on the battlefields. After his honorable discharge, he began his education to become a male nurse. After graduation he secured a job working for a hospital where he eventually met the woman he married. She was a widow with five children. He married her and raised those kids just like they were his own. He loved children......and children all loved Uncle George, including me.

Uncle George lived long enough to make fond memories with my children too. My only regret is that we didn't live closer so that we could see him more often. Uncle George, of course, spoke with an accent and his voice was sort of softly hoarse. He sounded just like Marlon Brando's rendition of the Godfather. It became an inside family joke......saying that we were going to get "Uncle George" after you. Ha.....since my ex never met Uncle George in person, I think he was always a little bit unsure about what "Uncle George" may do if called upon. I never corrected his perception as I found it quite to my advantage. But Uncle George was a good man.....through and through.

Oh....and since we are on the subject.....does anyone know where that old saying, "cry uncle" comes from when you want to admit defeat in a fight? Just curious.

7 comments:

glnroz said...

a fun story about Uncle George,, but I don't know the origin of "Cry Uncle".. lol.. down here in Texas, "holler calf-rope" means the same,,lol

forsythia said...

A great story!

Sylvia Ney said...

I'm stopping by from the A to Z challenge and I'm so glad I found your blog. This may be more than you wanted to know, but...

To say or cry uncle is to call for mercy, to acknowledge that one is defeated. It’s American playground slang dating back to the early 20th century. From the Chicago Herald-Examiner of 1 October 1918:

Sic him Jenny Jinx—make him say ‘Uncle’.

The phrase may come from the punchline of a joke that was popular in the 1890s. Douglas Wilson (one of this site’s regulars) discovered this version of the joke in the Iowa Citizen, 9 October 1891:

A gentleman was boasting that his parrot would repeat anything he told him. For example, he told him several times, before some friends, to say “Uncle,” but the parrot would not repeat it. In anger he seized the bird, and half-twisting his neck, said: “Say ‘uncle,’ you beggar!” and threw him into the fowl pen, in which he had ten prize fowls. Shortly afterward, thinking he had killed the parrot, he went to the pen. To his surprise he found nine of the fowls dead on the floor with their necks wrung, and the parrot standing on the tenth twisting his neck and screaming: “Say ‘uncle,’ you beggar! say uncle.’[sic]”.

Say uncle is sometimes claimed to come from the Irish anacol, meaning mercy or quarter, the lack of currency in Britain explained by the term being brought to America by Irish immigrants. Despite the similarity in sound and meaning, there is no strong evidence to support this conjecture.

Angela Felsted said...

I have no idea where that saying comes from, but Unlce Buck rocks!

dana said...

Uncle Buck. How I want one! And I cry uncle all the time anymore.

Peruby said...

Love the movie "Uncle Buck". I watch it every time I see that it is on.

M Pax said...

I love this movie! Uncle Buck was fabulous. I miss John Candy. I loved all his movies.