FFF #8: There Was No Bubble Wrap Between Me and the Saddle, Boy
Hell bent for leather and ugly as a dirt clod, Great Uncle Pete glared down on Jim from his portrait above the fireplace.

“Please don’t look at me like that,” he pleaded with the oil painting. “This will be good for both of us.”

Jim climbed the step stool from the kitchen until he stood eye to eye with his Great Uncle’s image. “You’ve got to trust me on this one,” he added. “Will it help if I promise to pick the best-looking woman to take you?”

Groaning with effort, Jim slid the painting from its moorings, almost falling backward from the weight of it.

“Jeez, that’s heavy,” panted the desk-softened 42-year-old software engineer, as he rested the portrait gently on the floor. “Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, I’m soft. But if you were alive at my age today, you wouldn’t be a cowboy, either. So keep your opinions to yourself.”

Jim sat on the stepstool, staring at the family heirloom he had cherished since childhood. His grandfather had proudly displayed the painting of his older brother in his den, and had told Jim story after story about Uncle Pete’s cowboy adventures. While Grandpa always spoke in glowing terms of his brother’s career, it must’ve had its downside, too.

After all, Uncle Pete was bound and determined that his little brother went on to college to become a lawyer instead of facing a hard life in the saddle. He sent every spare nickel and penny he good back home to help put Grandpa through school.

As Jim considered this, he could’ve sworn he saw the expression on the old cowpoke’s face soften. Instead of a hard glint in his eye, he saw a twinkle. Maybe his great uncle hasn’t been staring down in disappointment all these years, but in pride at what his suffering had accomplished.

Maybe Uncle Pete had sacrificed a life of comfort and stability for himself, but he had made sure that his brother, his brother’s children, and his brother’s children’s children would have a better life.

Jim smiled. “Okay, Uncle Pete. Time to go. No, I’m not gonna sell you. But you’re still going on ‘Antiques Roadshow.’ Here comes the bubble wrap; you may be tough, but you’re not that tough.”
Name: Übermilf
Location: Chicago Area

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