I stopped by at High's on the way home. After my quick stop was finished, I jumped into the company vehicle. An older gentleman asked me to roll down my window, obviously noting the company name on the vehicle. I obliged expecting to field questions about ex employees that I knew very little about. I readied with answers like "Sounds familiar" as Sykesville/Eldersburg is that small town where everyone knows everyone and if you don't recognize the name they said they will try to jog your memory with an entire family history until you find a connection.
"Charles A. Klein & Sons, Inc....are they related to Andy Klein?" he inquired as I rolled down the window.
The name threw me a bit as I wasn't expecting my Uncle Andy to come up, but I happily responded, "They are. In fact, Andy is my uncle." I still talk about your Great Uncle Andy in the present because no matter how long it has been, little events like this always pop up to remind me he is with us in our hearts and minds and memories.
The guy evidently had his air condition unit replaced, evidently not too much before Andy passed. He went on and on about how good and how nice my uncle was. I had no intention of stopping him because frankly I agree totally. Near the end of the story, the guy mentioned his unit recently went up, but to his surprise Andy had made sure he had the extended warranty on the unit and ended up saving him a ton. He looked to the heavens and said, "Thank you, Andy!" He thanked me for stopping to chat and I thanked him for the wonderful things he had to say about my uncle. We parted ways with an uncannily simultaneous "God bless" and I drove away filled with memory after memory of my uncle. Never even got the guys name nor did he get mine.
This kind of thing will happen to you as you grow up. People will find out who you are related to and regale you with story after story about them and their interactions. Luckily you come from good people, or as they say good stock, and people recall the good things they did and always seem to have been the better for the experience. You have some big name good hearted families in the Maryland area on both sides of your family tree, but don't be surprised if a story pops up when you visit other states or even other countries. Even if the story is about an ancestor you never had the fortune to meet, smile, nod, and listen intently...because there are no better examples of love that truly touches someone's heart.
I miss my Uncle Andy and I am damn glad that people still stop me to tell me how great of a person he was, as if I didn't already know.
Sincerely with love from your dad,