A brief tribute. There could be so much more said, a book full.
My great-uncle passed away on Saturday.
He never would’ve told you, but he was the driver of the six in the Wilson advertisement. That picture was tucked away upstairs.
What he would have told you was that Major was the right lead for the East Coast Budweiser hitch, that truly, he was too big for the lead and should have been at swing or wheel, but that horse refused to work anywhere but lead.
But you’d only find that out after perusing the pictures downstairs and finding the large framed photograph tucked into the corner and asking about it, an image of a Budweiser hitch and wagon at the Preakness.
And he’d definitely never say that a newspaper photographer took a wonderful photo of him with four mares for a front-of-section once.
What he would have said is that my great-aunt had some snacks in the kitchen.
And she always did.
I remember him as the man who rescued me from a runaway tractor when I accidentally put it into fifth instead of reverse; who, upon hearing my laments of not knowing what I wanted to do when I grew up, said, “Neither do I!” (he had retired from the Extension service at that time); who led my dad and me into the world of Clydesdales; and who always listened to what I had to say.
He was a horseman, member of the Clydesdale Hall of Fame, Purdue Extension agent, and ice cream connoisseur. He was my great-uncle.
He was Uncle Parke.
And for us, that said it all.