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January 18, 2013

Gary Church: Uncle Raymond sure took his laughter seriously — but not much else

NEW CASTLE — My wife often asks, "How do you come up with all that stupid stuff you say?"

I would have to say that my sense of humor comes from the Church side of the family.

My dad's brother, Uncle Raymond, never said a sensible thing in his life.

After he did make a statement, he would always laugh.

Since Uncle Raymond lived in southern Ohio, I rarely saw him.

I'm pretty sure he was injured in the war, because I never knew him to work a day in his life.

Mom did tell me one time that Uncle Raymond lost one of his thingies, and I think that was in WWII.

I really don't know what disability he had.

I remember seeing him at his brother’s funeral, and noticed he had a bandage on his hand.

After viewing the body, I went over and to him and asked, "Uncle Raymond, what happened?"

With his southern drawl, he said, "I was chopping wood, and a piece went flying way up in the air. Didn't it take a notion to turn around and come back down and hit me right in the hand."

That was followed by his usual laugh.

When it got so that he could no longer take care of himself, he was placed in a nursing home.

Having not seen him in several years, when I went to visit, I wasn't sure he would recognize me.

He was sitting at the lunch table with other patients when I approached him.

I said, "Hi, Uncle Raymond."

He looked up at me and asked the big question, "When are you going to shave that mustache off," followed by his laugh.

I still don't know if he had recognized me.

Of course, Uncle Raymond had his dark side. When his monthly check would come, he enjoyed celebrating its arrival at the local tavern. He would be passed out for days.

Fortunately, I did not inherit his love of liquor, just his sense of humor.

My brothers and sisters all inherited the Church family humor. Perhaps my brother Bill inherited a little more than his share.

One thing nice about being in a family of comedians — we never have any arguments.

Just don't expect us to enter into a conversation on nuclear physics.


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