My Favorite Uncle

Successful Hunters 1948

Dad’s oldest brother went to Nome during the gold rush, then crossed the ice to Siberia because Nome was all staked already
He stayed in Siberia 2 years, dodging the Cossacks and mining
came home with enough that he never worked a regular job again the rest of his life.
He used to babysit us once in a while and would put fur seal pelts on his bed for us to be on and dump a jar of nuggets for us to play ‘marbles’ with. We occasionally dropped one on the floor and it would drop between the planks never to be seen again.
He lived a couple of houses away from his sister and we were supposed to be staying with her, but he was so much nicer. If the weather was good, he would have a small pack ready when we barreled through his door and we would just keep going right on out the back and up the huge sand dune behind his house. That area is now part of the Dunes National Park. We would ignore the voice screeching in the background for us to come back and all of us would dive over the top of the dune and out of sight. We would spend the day exploring the dunes and he would build a fire to roast some of the potatoes from his pack. Those potatoes would be charred black on the outside and raw on the inside and tasted wonderful. All of us, him included, would get bawled out when we dragged in at dark. Then we would do it all over again the next good day.
He never spent much, lived alone in what most would consider a shack, but he was happy he hunted, trapped a little bit, panned creeks along the Oregon coast and harvested wild plants to sell to nurseries and drug companies fern &, salal to florists, chitum bark, and fox glove to drug companies.
He didn’t have a clue about kids, but we loved him. He gave me eyeballs out of a cow we were butchering because I was curious. I kept them in my pocket, they were neat. Later that night while I was sleeping, his sister, my Aunt snooped in my pocket and about broke my eardrums screaming when she found them. That was a bonus.

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