Skip to main content

Crazy Uncle Dan

We've recently enjoyed the company of some dear friends of ours out in the bustling metropolis of Junction City, Oregon.  Our friends were delighted to introduce us to their darling girl, Elizabeth, whom we hadn't had the opportunity to meet these last six months of her existence.  While we savored watching her small hands, busy feet, and endlessly changing (often humorous) expressions, we enjoyed so much more watching these new parents glow in the joy of their daughter.

As visits with these dear friends are rich, but seldom, we jokingly began a yarn of folklore to assuage the sadness of living far apart, missing more moments with Elizabeth, the new source of daily life and chaos for our friends:  Crazy Uncle Dan.  Crazy Uncle Dan lives in Russia and does Crazy Uncle Dan things, like hanging his wet clothes on the clothesline outside in negative 40 degree weather, then shattering his jeans when he tries to put them on immediately after taking them off the line.  Or like learning to slide rather than walk because the streets where Crazy Uncle Dan lives are so covered with ice that nobody walks, everybody just slips along, all around the town.  Crazy Uncle Dan communicates by beat-boxing instead of talking.  It's a hard language to learn, but he will teach you when you see him.  Crazy Uncle Dan was born, somehow to be connected to Elizabeth, to be in her life as she grows, so that Dan won't be so foreign and unfamiliar when we do happen to see her.

Crazy Auntie Rachel, on the other hand, has been busy creating quite a different reputation with the mothers of the children in her life...  I'm not quite sure the same type of lore will be attributed to her when she leaves.  More likely, children will be better behaved, mothers will use fewer time outs, and peace will again return to these households.

Today was not a good day for these kids in the life of Crazy Auntie Rachel.

At church Crazy Auntie Rachel was playing a game with lil' Culbertson cousins, Sally, Tilly and Otis.  Sally and Tilly would join hands with Crazy Auntie Rachel, close their eyes, then be lead around the church bumping into various things/people along the way.  Finally, we decided that the circle made by our joined hands would be better filled with a person.  Who better than lil' brother Otis?  We started to sneak up on him from behind, preparing for capture, when Otis suddenly took off running down the hallway.  Some say he has a sixth sense for this kind of thing, others believe he may have been tipped off by our giggling and shushing and, "Sally don't hold my hand so hard!" as we approached.  We continued our pursuit when suddenly, the voice of Mama Kamiyo stopped us as quickly as we started, "Otis, we do not run in church."  The eye of the all-knowing mother had found us.  We immediately dropped hands and returned to the lobby, sulking and sorry for what we'd done.  Of course there's no running in church!  Any adult could tell you that!  Any adult even half Crazy Auntie Rachel's age!

Later that day, my friends Amanda, Kristy and I ventured to Target together for some overdue errands and time together.  Joining us for the adventure were Kristy's children:  Lukas (7) and Eli (3 and a half.)  Little did these two unsuspecting boys know the amount of trouble which could be created in a few hours' time.  They started well, Lukas holding the side of the cart and Eli either Amanda's or my hand.  But after a few aisles of women's clothing, women's intimates, shoes, home decorations, etc...  restlessness began to creep in.  It started with bursts of laughter when I'd hide, then sneak up behind them.  Then we looked at the toy aisle so Mom could have some time to try things on.  There were a lot of fun things to see!  I think we can all attest to the rise in one's energy level when surrounded by interesting, fun things to see!  So, when Mom found us again, they fought the transition back to errands as usual.  So, to pass the time looking at tables, chairs, kitchen ideas, we started a little game called let's all hide from Amanda and Mom!   Apparently turning around and having no idea where your kids are is a mom's worst nightmare.  When we were found, boy did we get it.  There were threats of riding in the cart for the rest of the day, no treats, and definitely no more leaving Mom's sight for the rest of the day.  Wow.  Sorry kids.  I know I learned my lesson:  Ask Mom first; always ask Mom first!  And if you can avoid it, no running around Target with your friend's kids, and hiding from Mom when she comes looking. 

I guess sometimes it's easier for legends like Crazy Uncle Dan and Crazy Auntie Rachel to live far away from those who love them.  Everybody gets into a lot less trouble that way.

-car (I mean rkc)


Popular posts from this blog

Until We Meet Again

The Great Banquet (Luke 14: 15-24)
        When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Jesus replied: A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, “Come, for everything is now ready.” But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, “I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.” Still another said, “I just got married, so I can’t come.” The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” “Sir,” the servant said, “what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.”


At the time, it tasted like the perfect combination of spicy salsa over scrambled eggs, just the way I liked it.
But now, I can see, it's not only enduring 8 ruckus cousins piled on the floor for the summer,  but making their favorite breakfasts for them each day.
At the time, it was glimmer of the holiday decorations around the house;  the lantern and lights were always bright, inviting, always welcoming to me.
But now, it's a man who fought for the right to celebrate holidays in this country  whatever way we please, and embraces that right.
At the time, it was the delight of finding the extra few treats on  Halloween that appeared in my pumpkin and seeing the hand which slipped them in.
But now, it's a man who is generous and kind to his children's children.
At the time, it was the joy of walking from Holly Hills to have candy with Grandpa after school instead of going home to carrots and apples.
But now, it's a man who enjoys life and enjoys making life more enjoyable.
At the…


Зарядки or “morning exercises” were a part of every good Soviet's morning routine. It's a tradition that continues to live on in most Russians' ideal schedule, particularly when traveling or vacationing in a new place. Hotels, camps, resorts all offer their vacationers morning exercise before breakfast each day. I decided that this would be a fun “optional” activity for our summer project, and apparently so did several other Summer Project participants - I was shocked when nearly 15 people showed up on our first morning! Every morning at 7:30, the brave fitness gurus and I would run together to the rocky shores of the sea for a 30 minute exercise routine I'd planned out the night before. We did just about every exercise I could think of, including, but not limited to the following: stretching, running, skipping, jumping, lunging, balancing, squating, push-ups, tricep raises, calf raises, holding a plank, leg extensions, wall sits, obstacle courses, and just about anyth…