"Uncle/Tom"

Regardless of the negative racial connotation of this phrase, I grew up knowing two people that we referred to as such. "Uncle Big Tom" is my mothers brother, and "Uncle Little Tom" is my aunt's ex-husband. While I share genetic commonality with Big Tom, I respect and honor the latter with much more regard. I just found out yesterday that Uncle Little Tom passed away on January 30, 2018. It wasn't as though we stayed in touch all of these years gone by, but more about the influence he had on me as a child and adolescent growing up. Regardless of my Dad's sister's interpretation of this gentle soul, he represented so much of what I epitomize in what I aspire to be. Born in Honolulu to interracial parents, his Asian/American heritage enlightened me to diversity. So much of my cultural exposure as a child came from this magnificent soul and his sharing of his appreciation for life itself. He was one of those people, that you simply can't find anything negative to say about him. He just carried with him an exceptional spirit for life itself. 

 

I realize today, perspective plays such a pivotal role in how we view any aspect of our lives. The observer dictates the narrative as it’s conveyed to the world at large, yet there are moments within any story, where the influencer commands the outcome. “Uncle Little Tom” represented different things to different people. Even as he divorced my aunt, he was never outcast from the family. He remained connected to my grandparents throughout the remainder of their lives. The last time I actually spoke with him was at Grand Dads funeral. Reflecting back upon the this man I knew, I can’t help but smile at the benefits I derived from our time together. Unsung is the word that comes to mind, as I describe this man I remember as “Uncle Little Tom”...