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Nov. 28, 1981

“Uncle Sir Paul! Uncle Sir Paul!” I cried out, running towards him with my arms pinwheeling wildly. Back then, he always made me call him that. He had recently been anointed into knighthood and, like a lot of things around that time in his life, he took it super seriously.

I flew down the gravel driveway that lead to the log cabin and greeted him as he stepped out of the rented Yugo with a giant hug.

” ‘ello you little bugger,” he grinned and then picked me up under my arms and swung me very violently back and forth.

I threw up a bit out of the side of my mouth and then he set me back down slowly. I sat down in the grass and waited for the world to finally  stop spinning and all the colors to come back properly together.

“You’re always doing that to him. Poor David. Hee-hee!” sang out a voice from the passenger side.

“Unky Michael Jackson!” I cried out. I was not told he was going to be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner at all and was so surprised and happy to see him standing there. He was shoving one McDonald’s fry into his mouth after another and was wearing his famous sparkly glove on one hand. It was now very, very greasy and he smelled weird, like onions, but I gave him a hug too, and he ruffled the hair on top of my head.

“Is this a wig?” he asked me.

“Nu-uh. Nope,” I replied and then I snapped my fingers, as I suddenly remembered something.

“I’ve been working on a new dance move to show you, Unky Michael Jackson!”

“O.K. Let me see what you got, kid. Hee-hee!” 

I kicked my sneakers off, stretched for 30 seconds and then proceeded to glide backwards on the grass in a smooth, reverse-walking kind of  motion.

There was silence for a about a minute between us all after I finished my dance.

‘Well, do you like it? Do ya? Say something! Geez! ” I said exasperated.

“I’ve never seen that before, David. Tell me, what do you call that move you just did and have you shown anyone else?” Unky Michael Jackson said slowly.

“No, I haven’t, and I call it The Moonwalk! Doesn’t it look cool?!” I was happy they were paying me attention now and started to do the dance move again, when Unky Michael Jackson quickly grabbed me by the shoulders, stopping me. He covered my ears roughly and then said something to Uncle Sir Paul that sounded a lot like, “Should we kill him now?”

There was a bit of arguing back and forth between them as I stood there watching a yellow, furry caterpillar inch its way across the driveway. I, one day too, will be  like a caterpillar, I thought. Calm, patient and hairy.

“Hurry up and get our bags out of the trunk,” Uncle Sir Paul finally said to me, snapping me out of my thoughts.

I carried their five pieces of luggage back up the hill to the cabin and even though my small, delicate hands were bleeding, it felt good to partake in a little physical labor.

By the time I had finished dragging the last piece of luggage up, everyone was seated around the dining table and my mom and dad were lighting fragrant, earthy candles all around the room.

“I brought you a traditional British Thanksgiving gift, little boy,” said Uncle Sir Paul, as rubbed his eyes. He looked so tired and when I asked him if he was, he replied about how he was spending 8-12 hours a day trying on various sweatsuits. “And I don’t even like sweatsuits,” he confesseed to me and he looked sadder then when an old sailor finds a dead mermaid that’s been washed ashore.

And for a moment I truly felt sorry for him. Then I remembered that he had, like a ka-jillion dollars, and that thought went right out the window.

He pulled out an elaborately wrapped present from underneath the table and gave it to me somewhat reluctantly. “Ahh…I…I got this for you.  It’s from Japan, so try not to do anything stupid with it.”

I took the present and unwrapped it very carefully and delicately.

“Careful, you stupid little bloke,” he grunted and took a long drag of his cigarette that he just lit.

I held up the box and was shocked to read the words aloud. “Fuji X-10 single flash, high-speed camera. With a neck strap and travel case!”

It was a surprisingly sweet gift from my Uncle Sir Paul and, as far as Thanksgiving Day presents go, very extravagant.

I ran over and tried to give him a hug, but he held up a hand and would have none of it. “No. One hug a day. That’s your limit. And remember, your Unky Michael Jackson was going to try and kill you today, but I told him to hold off on that,” He took another drag and then blew a cloud of smoke in my still smiling face. “So who’s your favorite Uncle now?”

“YOU ARE!” I wheezed and then coughed myself into a spastic frenzy.

‘That’s right!” he cried out. “Now someone get me a guitar and carve me up some turkey! I want to play Hey Jude so fucking bad right now.”

Dinner went splendidly and afterwards the two of them  lost a bet on who could eat the most cranberry sauce to my mom and had to do ALL of our dirty dishes.

That’s when I snapped this picture with my brand new camera and ever since then, it reminds me of the last Thanksgiving we ever had with them.