Sunday, December 6, 2009

Phoose Goose

Long before I had heard of Dr. Seuss, I had seen a lumpy character with funny feet and a funny name. It was a phoose goose. Perhaps you’ve not seen this silly character. I’m sorry for you are missing a friend, one I’ve had for years.

Aunt Esther did a fine thing when she agreed to marry Uncle Phil. She got the man, and I got an uncle who is a favorite his niece. This tall man was a college professor, yet he had time to draw this funny phoose goose for his niece and to continue to make her smile even into her adulthood. My dear Uncle Phil.

Their Volkswagen was one of the first we had ever seen. Mother and Dad would laugh at Uncle Phil unfolding himself from the tiny car. It was only one of many things introduced to the Neff Road girls by this intelligent, witty man and equally wonderful woman.

I don’t know how little I was when I had my first phoose goose drawing. I prized it as I would an original Van Gogh or Charles Shultz. The quirkiness that was Uncle Phil was in the drawing as well. Even now I smile wishing I had one large phoose goose to hang on my wall. I could introduce it as a family member.

Aunt Esther and Uncle Phil opened doors of adventure and new thought to me. Uncle Phil was an astronomer offering me glimpses of a sky much more mystical than the one my little eyes could see. He and Aunt Esther were inquisitive and delighted in searching for wonderful rocks and enjoying birds. Their appreciation of nature only drew me closer to them. We shared the excitement of discovering treasures from the earth much as Uncle Phil had found the treasures in the sky.

Later, I would walk with my children on the Oregon Coast looking for fossil shells and sometimes even a fossil bone would appear. When my aunt and uncle came to visit, we scoured the countryside for new discoveries.

Christmas gatherings at Grandad’s always left me with a feeling of being on the outside looking in. Uncle Phil always found me. He teased the laughter from me and delighted me with his drawing. He recognized a small, shy girl who didn’t know how to come out of her shell. He crawled into that shell with me and asked if I would come out and play.

It was fine adventure growing up with this aunt and uncle of mine. They hold a place in my heart where those who have taught me to laugh and to learn reside. Even though they live far away, I have only to look in my heart to find them. I am, in part, who I am because they came home to visit Neff Road.

I am one of a kind like the phoose goose.

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