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Tuesdays with MOJO / That's great! An ode to Uncle Saul

Marjorie Spitz Rento3 Comments

I’ve heard my Uncle Saul say the phrase “that’s great” a thousand times if not more throughout my life.  He was the epitome of positivity – it’s probably where I get my “glass half full” attitude. 

Last week at the vibrant age of 89 and having lived an extraordinary life, he passed away surrounded by family.  No matter what age, it always seems like it comes out of nowhere, right?  He passed while I was giving the workshop mentioned in my previous blog, hence the unfulfilled promise of a follow up “it’s not Tuesday, Tuesdays with MOJO” blog entry. Sometimes we have to prioritize. Truthfully, I likely realized that once I posted this blog, I would have to admit that he’s really gone.

Uncle Saul lived life to its absolute fullest.  A photographer in the Navy, he loved pictures, especially ones of family.  He was a dedicated son, father, grandfather, uncle, friend and especially husband, married to my Aunt Sheila for 62 years.  Being married just 4 years last week, I can only imagine how difficult his passing must be for her.  Some equated his death to her losing a limb, and I bet (as strong as she is) that’s how she feels right now.

When Uncle Saul spoke, he looked you in the eye and made you feel like the center of the most beautiful universe. To him I was the most beautiful, the favorite, the best, and the greatest.  Everything I said was GREAT.  And I’m sure others felt the very same way in his orbit. 

When he would carve the turkey at Thanksgiving, he would sneak me the skin – my favorite part. You could always catch me at his side at the carving board.

When his son introduced his boyfriend (now husband) to the family, he welcomed them with open arms at a time when it was not as socially acceptable as it is today to do so.  That was Uncle Saul.

He suffered a horrible car accident in the 1980’s and although a surprise to the medical team, it was no surprise to us that he survived against all odds.  Even with all the painful injuries and long recovery, he never complained.  That was Uncle Saul.

When I decided to marry Bob, he immediately embraced him, not because he had to, but because he adored him.  That was Uncle Saul.  

He and my Aunt Sheila made a special trip from Florida to attend our wedding in Montauk, not the easiest trip for even the healthiest of folk.  “We wouldn’t miss it,” they both said lovingly.  Since my Uncle walked with a cane, I made a seating chart sure to put him closest to the door and bathroom.  My caterer, who was absolutely fabulous, inadvertently got the seating chart backwards and instead seated them as far away from the door and bathroom as possible.  I was horrified.  Saul could care less. Everything was GREAT.  That was Uncle Saul. 

Bob enjoyed our time with Saul thoroughly, like the time he served us month old opened wine that was “the best,” which I secretly avoiding drinking by pouring out in the sink but poor Bob drank like a trooper.

And the time he directed us to drive on the “new” road, much against the advice of his wife in the back seat, which turned out to be a road no less than a decade, instigating a good laugh. That was Uncle Saul.

He always told stories of the family, especially his grandchildren. In fact, his email address was the culmination of his grandchildren’s names, adamalison73@xyz. He was not technologically savvy, but did manage to send me one email, which was a forward from his grandson's boss touting his amazing qualities.  That was Uncle Saul.

But here’s the point: I truly believed he lived so many lives, surviving a life threatening car crash and diseases because of his positivity.  Thankfully that lives on in so many of us.

So I ask you now to raise a virtual glass in honor of a man who is the definition of looking at the bright side.  I ask you to “pull a Saulface” and tell someone they are great, and to look at the great things happening in your life this week and take a moment be grateful.  He was the best and those of us who knew him are so, so lucky to have had that opportunity.  I will miss him dearly, but know he’ll live on in all of us. You are truly great, and always remember that. 

“Great”fully yours,

Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™