Testing, Testing

David tests out The Word as he’s saying goodbye. This is my uncle, David — my mother’s brother. This is the uncle who, when I first met him three years ago, said, “Why did you wait 38 years before you let us meet you?”

I’ve liked David from the go — he’s got a twinkle in his eye, a corny sense of humor, a huge laugh and a heart of equal size. He’s also fantastic at sizing people up.

The night he tests out The Word, we’ve been out for a meal with many of the members of that side of the family. When David arrived, bouncing in to the restaurant dead last, everyone stood for hugs all round. He elbowed them out of the way, making for me, saying, in his great big Scottish voice, “C’mere. C’mere. C’mere.” What a hug. And then the banter over dinner. And then the return to my other uncle’s house for coffee and more laughter. And all the time, me ending up right next to David.

The snow starts soon after we start the coffee, so I wind up dashing from the house, facing a drive across the country (it’s Scotland, so it’s only wee — an hour and a half — but still) after dark and wanting to get on sooner than I otherwise would. 

David waits then till I’ve gone round everyone else. He reaches for me. “Right then. Ya wee,” he hesitates, and in the gap I can see The Word in his eye and the debate about whether to test it. “Ya wee…”

I raise my eyebrow and grin.

“Ya wee bastard.”


We wrap our arms around each other. Me, the wee bastard, in my uncle’s arms. Home.


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