[caption id="attachment_1652" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Dave, Dad, Arn, Rick, and John. And Ray in the back."][/caption]
I know there are some good stories out there about my Uncle Dave (AKA "Gradle"), there just has to be, but unfortunately I don't really know any of them. At least, not any good ones. I'm gonna have to depend on my other relatives to come to my rescue on this one. By the same token, I know Gradle has good stories on the rest of you, so I guess it all evens out.
Like my other Ridgecrest-dwelling relatives, I got to hang out with Gradle during my brief stint in the Mojave Desert. I can tell you two things for sure: Gradle can cook some mean fish, and he's really good at Yahtzee.
When we would go to Gradle's house, it was always a nice time of kicking back and re-kindling an addiction to the game I hadn't played in years. And once Gradle reintroduced my to Yahtzee, I couldn't believe how long it'd been since I'd played last. Most of my other relatives are really super competitive, but Dave would be genuinely happy when someone else had a good roll. His enthusiastic encouragement and support, even in something simple like a board game, is something I still remember fondly.
And there's also the fact that his fish is a-to the-mazing.
Gradle is also very loving and quick with a kind word. Although he's probably the relative I've spent the least amount of time around, I think I've heard "I love you" and been told how much God loves and cares for me from Gradle as much as (or more than) anyone else. That says something.
Gradle's been through a lot, I know that much, and yet he's come away from it all with a strong faith and a heart as big as his smile. How could I not be a fan of that?