Sunday, April 27, 2008

In Memorium: Uncle Smitty

A host of crises caused my temporary absence from blogging. The death of my husband's Uncle, Anthony Rego, otherwise known as our beloved Uncle Smitty, is the chief cause of my silence. Uncle Smitty died on April 4, 2008. I was struck silent with grief and it is only fitting that I break my silence with a tribute to him.

I cannot say enough good things about Uncle Smitty. From the moment I met him over ten years ago, he accepted me as part of the family. No inquisition, no keeping his distance. "Hello dear. Nice to meet you. What'll you have to eat?" I was welcome at the table forever after. I lucked out with my in laws. They (including father-in-law Jim and mother-in-law Vivian, as well as Aunt Laura, Uncle Smitty's wife of over fifty years) accepted me as family and have treated me with love and respect ever since.

Uncle Smitty was the favorite uncle of our children, as well as of my husband and me. Here, though, I will focus on one of the qualities I admired most about him: Uncle Smitty cherished memories of his mother, avid knitter and crocheter, Mary Rego. He valued the process and the product of her craft by holding those memories in his heart for a lifetime; something I hope my children will do. May we all be blessed with such faithful interpreters of our knitting legacies as Uncle Smitty.

Uncle Smitty would reminisce with Jim about going out to buy her yarn: "She liked Red Heart. We used to go and ask the lady at the store to help us find exactly what she wanted." He showed me with pride the afghans she made for him. He explained she made them for all her children and grandchildren and even recalled that it was "Kenny who got the brown one, Janice the mixed colors." It is encouraging to know that our knitting can be so treasured. I will remember him as he remembered his mother: with stories affectionately told.

--Chris Peter

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