I never called him that though. That seemed a familiar between brothers, you see, so I respected it as such. He was always Uncle John to me, and I respected that in all our dealings.
But Zeke, he had a way about him. It expressed itself in rage, but more generally in humor. I could never tell a story like Zeke, nope, never. So I'll not do this story justice. Not a chance of that.
I'll tell it anyway.
He had just arrived in Nam, and had a letter in his hands from his sister, who had just had a child. Zeke bet a fellow brother in arms that he'd never guess the child's name.
You gotta play better than that, says the soldier. You gotta give me a clue.
All right, replies Zeke, I'll give ya the first letter of his name. It's T.
His fellow soldier pauses a minute, reflects, then asks uncertainly, 'Todd?'.
'Nope. Theodore.' says Zeke without a blink. He says it without reflection, without a thought.
Zeke told me that tale many times. He won five bucks. He granted it was unfair each time he told the tale.
Yet he laughed each and every time he told it. I could tell he liked the tale; I could tell he felt a bit of shame at it too.
My cousin's name is in fact Todd, in case you're wonderin'.