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Hartselle Enquirer

Spring Break

When my siblings and I were children, we would usually end up at my Nana’s house during spring and summer breaks. At the time I thought we spent so much time with her because of her great love for us, but now that I have my own kids I understand that it was free babysitting. 

Over spring break of my 8th grade year our science teacher assigned us the task of building a glider and when we returned the person whose glider went the farthest was going to win a prize. 

It’s funny the things we remember. 

I had no clue how to build such a thing and for all the things Nana was really good at, neither did she. Enter my Uncle Mark, our family’s resident redneck engineer. If there’s something that needs building or fabricating, he is an expert at figuring out a way to make it happen, and usually on a budget that would make Dave Ramsey proud.

In short order, the kitchen table was littered with graph paper, Exacto-knives, and scraps of balsa wood. He’d picked up a cheap wooden glider from a hobby shop in town and had the idea of just scaling it out to meet my assignments parameters. 

Watching him work I felt like I was traveling in time to the stories I’d heard them tell of growing up with their father, who had died just a few years before. Even at that age, I was well aware that our family tradition wasn’t just farming, church, and good cooking; completing that project with my uncle showed me that family is family, regardless of the relationship on paper.

He had his own kids that probably had their own projects to complete, but he took an evening to come over and help me build my glider, not because he had to, but because I needed him to. 

I don’t remember how far my glider flew. I don’t remember what grade I got for it. All that I really remember is the smell of roast in the crock pot and an uncle being kind to his nephew.

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