Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I have no memory of my grandparents, so I don’t know what it’s like to have one. Gran/Grandpa is a toy that I never got for Christmas, and I've still no idea why all the other kids raved about it.

People tell me that I’ve missed-out, but I don’t feel that way, as I genuinely don’t know what they’re talking about.

Throughout my life though, I’ve had a few aunts and uncles.

The two stalwarts of that position would have to be AuntieJoanandUncleEric. I list them like that, because in our house it’s always been said as just one long word.

They lived in Luton, which when I was young, was an unimaginably long way away. They would represent one of my first instances of recognising people who I hadn’t seen for a long time. From that perspective they contributed to my long memory, and the importance I place upon coming through on the promises I've made.

They took us out around Whipsnade Park Zoo (or Woburn Safari Park), and on a ride in a cable car. Hanging in a shaking cabin above a very green forest was a very long way away from Twickenham.

Another time they came out our way and took us for a boat trip on the River Thames. I was talking to my mum on the boat when she said “Uncle Eric’s looking at you.” So I looked round at him just in time to register him holding his camera in front of his face and depressing the shutter. About 6 months later (in kid-time) a letter arrived, enclosed in which was that very same photograph. Not only had they come all the way to Twickenham, taken us out on the boat, and taken the expensive picture, they had even had the shot developed, and then organised having a REPRINT made, and POSTED it. These were difficult complicated things indeed, but above anything else, they had remembered and followed-through, and now I had a photograph.

Whenever we visited them in Luton, 2 things would happen when we had to leave again. Uncle Eric would look at his watch, and insist upon driving us the unimaginably long distance home, always claiming that it was “just up the road.” After driving us for several days, we would get back home, make him a cup of tea, and then he’d do the second thing. Just as he left to drive all the way back again, he’d press a coin into my hand. It was always alot of money.

The last time I saw them together was in 2002 at my dad’s funeral.

A year later I was in Luton at Uncle Eric’s funeral.

Last year I visited Luton and got to catch-up with Auntie Joan. She was in a wheelchair now, but I saw this as an opportunity to push her home from my cousin’s house, and chat about books. Priceless.

Last Saturday I heard that Auntie Joan had gone to join Uncle Eric.

Trying to imagine Luton without those two in their house makes me wonder what on Earth the point would be of visiting relatives there without dropping in on them. They were the glue that held that entire wing of the family together. Of course it’s not, and never has been, solely about them, but it does demonstrate just how much they will be missed.

Tonight I played the enclosed dedication for her on my show on Hope City Radio. It really is the least I can do.

You can hear my component of it by clicking here.

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