Pink and Tickled Like Uncle Chester and Kielbasa

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Susan Dromey Heeter

Uncle Chester

By Susan Dromey Heeter, Joyful Musings

Welcome to December, Joyful Musers!

And if you felt November lasted about two hundred years, we are in the same boat – the Mayflower, perhaps. It was a long slog throughout, last week, I do feel began in the 1800s, Lincoln was president; I believe I was wearing a corset.  Man, these long nights and short days can be endless.

Susan Dromey Heeter

Alas, within these slog filled days, I must admit I’ve found some delightful moments upon which to muse joyfully. Last week, I happened to meet up with my Uncle Chester. Uncle Chester was born and raised in Chicopee, Mass., and gave me a crisp twenty dollar bill to go out and “get myself a kielbasa next door at Provisions.”

If you know Chicopee, if you are familiar with Provisions Inc. if you are familiar with a “real” Polish kielbasa, you know that Uncle Chester gave me the best gift ever – that kielbasa whose skin snaps, that kielbasa that when taken off the grill tastes better than anything offered at a five-star restaurant. Anything. And Chicopee is truly, the best place to get a kielbasa…it’s real. It’s authentic. It’s fresh.

And those words might also describe my Uncle Chester. An octogenarian, Uncle Chester does not mince words, you know where he stands upon the moment you meet. Niceties and small talk are something Uncle Chester really does not know how to do. Hence, he is real, he is authentic, he is fresh.

A father of seven, one son and six daughters, Uncle Chester has seen and survived much in his life.  I am one of his forty nieces and nephews and, shockingly, Uncle Chester remembers my name. I delight in Uncle Chester, he’s funny, he listens and he tells it like it is.  Many of his children have ventured near and far, have had a myriad of adventures and lives.  But, when I talked with him last week he recalled, “But they always come home, Susie, they always come home.”

Uncle Chester married my Aunt Sue, the younger sister of my mother, Nancy.  Uncle Chester and Aunt Sue have both a daughter named Susan and another, Nancy.  Alas, Chester has not been one of the monikers for any of their grandchildren.  I’ll have to ask him about that the next time I see him or within the thank you note I’ll write celebrating that kielbasa. But, wait!  I just remembered my brother, John, has a dog named Chester!  I’ll be sure to tell my uncle; he’ll be tickled as pink as that kielbasa.

“Chet” was the name my mother called Uncle Chester and she shared often with me how he was the one that brought her to the hospital when she was due to birth me. “I was so afraid my water would break in his new car,” she recalled.  It did not but I like knowing Uncle Chester was there from the very start…at quite a few births.

It’s nice to think of Uncle Chester and to eat a kielbasa as I write this week’s Joyful Musings. The keyboard is greasy, my dog, Luc, will not leave my side, it’s a lovely snack on a soon to be dark December afternoon.  I’ll return to Chicopee to laugh with Uncle Chester, to giggle at some “did you really say that” remark about one of my brothers or sisters or cousins and then I will realize that, truly, the best people are real, authentic and, oh so fresh.

Be well Joyful Musers, slog through this darkness and know that a kielbasa made in Chicopee makes any moment move that much more joyfully…

Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Spaulding High School in Rochester and the mother of two teenage daughters.  Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal  in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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