September 1, 2023

Uncle Jim

Legend you are.
Yosemite spirit dweller,1
asshole to my grandmother.2

Never knew you, always wanted to.
…better I didn’t.

Wealthy attorney3 married to
a body of water fashioned
with a road made an impasse.4

Think you’re smarter than the USSR,5
well you probably are.

Eccentricized by relatives
with less interesting lives.6

Unearth more of your story,
I dare not try.

  1. My grandmother told me her brother, known to me as Uncle Jim”, told her he was destined to die behind a specific rock in Yosemite National Park on the date of the combined number of days alive of his two children who were 30 and 36 at the time. (Italicized quote from my grandmother’s rendition)↩︎

  2. He was always portrayed as mean-spirited in stories. Shortly before he died, his sister (my grandmother) traveled from PA to CA to visit and likely say her goodbyes. When she arrived, he cursed and dismissed her from the room. Dorothy is one of the kindest souls to ever grace the earth—not a person you’d ever be inclined to be rude to unless you were indiscriminately cold.↩︎

  3. From what I’ve been told, Jim got a full scholarship to Harvard and went on to become a prominent corporate lawyer for Honda.↩︎

  4. He married a Japanese immigrant named Kazue Ogawa—a name I mistook as a kid to be spelled causeway.↩︎

  5. Apparently Jim got in trouble as a tourist in Moscow taking photographs of the Kremlin. When instructed by authorities to dispose of the film, he hid it.↩︎

  6. Apologies, fam.↩︎


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