My Uncle Jerry

My Uncle Jerry is a white guy. The way it happened was he was best friends with my dad so we called him Uncle Jerry. My brother and I made our first and last visit to him in Long Island, New York, the outer edge of New York City that had the painted houses and cut lawns. It was the summer of 1994. Those ten days with him, as they say, changed the rest of my life.

Uncle Jerry was a tough no-nonsense type of guy, how you would imagine a rugged old sheriff retired after years of noble service in a dusty western town. The first thing he did when we got to his house was he handed me his business card. He said with a smirk and the tough-guy New York accent, “Put this card in your shoe so they can identify the body.” His wife snapped, “Jerry,” and he didn’t even laugh.

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