Uncle Frank. My Uncle Frank. To his family, to my children, he was Oggie, or Oggs, for whatever reason. To me, Uncle Frank.
He retired to da UP, to Hessel, in the Les Cheneaux Islands. We visited there often. We still do.
We drank a few beers together, mostly Old Milwaukee. We had a few shots, mostly the house whiskey.
He always bought.
One day, back in 1996, in July as we visited, he asked me to help him take the trash to the dump. I did so. He asked me afterwards if I might like a shot and a beer. I said yes, I might like that.
We made a side trip to his haunt. We had a shot and a beer. They seemed that day to last a long while that day. We talked a while, as though we had known each other a lifetime.
Our drinks were almost spent. He asked if I might like another, and I said yes, I would. He ordered. I said, Oggs, you always pay. Let me pay for these.
He stared at me for a very long moment. Then he just said, okay. I paid. We clinked shot glasses and downed our shots. We sipped at our beers. For another hour we talked just like old friends. I drove him home.
He passed away that night. I had bought him his last shot and beer. I am proud to have done so.