Monday, April 6, 2009

Remembering Two Uncles

Jay Leon Slaughter

Uncle Jay passed away on March 27. My father is now the only living member of his immediate family. Uncle Jay taught music at Ricks College for 18 years and then served in public relations for the college for the next 18. He would stay at our home in Twin Falls when visiting to recruit students for the college. 

When I was probably twelve years old, I went downstairs to retrieve something from the storage room.  I heard a noise coming from the bathroom.  It was the sound of an electric razor. Figuring it was my brother, Mark, then 13 and not yet old enough to shave; I, the know-it-all little sister yelled through the bathroom door, "Marrrrkkkk! You're not supposed to be shaving!!!" Well... it wasn't Mark, it was my Uncle Jay. I was sorely embarrassed.

Uncle Jay was so pleased with the fact that two of my girls were in the music program at BYU - Idaho.  He often attended Jenni's orchestral performances and was happy to declare that they were related.

Jay had since moved to Idaho Falls, but his funeral was held in Rexburg. I was asked to play, and decided to perform a medley of his favorite hymns -- Sweet Hour of Prayer, Oh My Father, and Our Savior's Love. Emily sang Be Still My Soul. Uncle Jay had been a fine trumpet player and the closing number was Ryan Nielsen's trumpet rendition of The Lord's Prayer. Very moving, very reverent, very appropriate.

At the luncheon, I renewed acquaintance with Jay's four children, three of whom I hadn't seen or even kept up with for 30 plus years! Why does it take a funeral...

Paul has three grown children.  His girlfriend is from Belgium. He has a lounge act in Pocatello.

Francie is living in Rexburg. Her bishop is Ted Ashton, Jenni's BYU-I violin teacher (small world). We photographed her daughter's wedding a couple of years back, so we've kept in touch a bit.

Steven has three talented children from his first marriage - a grandbaby too; and a brand new baby with his new wife.

Laura Kaye who is my age, lost her husband to cancer three years ago and is now living in Oklahoma City near her oldest daughter and grandchildren.  She is going back to school to become a nurse. Her children are strikingly gorgeous!

So many events in the past few years that I was totally unaware of. It would be a fitting thing for us to keep in touch.

Ernest Taylor

Uncle Skip passed away just one day after Uncle Jay. Randy's mother is now the only living member of her immediate family. We received no word of a funeral for Uncle Skip, which isn't really unusual for the Taylor side of Randy's family.

I visited with Skip just a handful of times. He lived in Southern California but would venture to Idaho once in a while. He was a happy man with Grandma Taylor's smiling eyes. I know he lost his first wife, Letha, many years ago. Their reunion last week must have been a sweet one.

There is a little piece of Uncle Skip in Randy. Skip had a little patch of eyebrows that grew long in front and arched over his eyes. Randy now has those too (but I keep them neatly trimmed) - a fun daily reminder of Uncle Skip. 

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