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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Uncles/Aunts (04/17/08)

TITLE: Never Take The Ten!
By Stacy Jamison
04/22/08


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Pappy Joe was my uncle. Like a magician, he was able to pull fun right out of thin air. The winter nights dip to freezing in the desert, so he would wet the concrete patio at sunset. The next morning, we had our own private ice skating rink in his back yard. We would slip and play until lunch time…just about time the sun would burn away the ice. On occasion, we would fall and bruise ourselves. Pappy Joe would say “Never take the ten!” Kiss us and send us back out to play.

Elementary school, during every summer, we spent at least a week of our vacation with my aunt and uncle. As soon as we arrived he would show us where we could find tools and nails. We would go out into the stark deserted desert and hunt for anything we could use to build a house. Piece by piece we would search and build for days. When we were satisfied with our efforts, we would run to Pappy Joe and inform him we had property for rent. He would walk out with us into the harsh desert and inspect the house we built. He would haggle with us on the price as we walked back to my aunt’s kitchen to negotiate a contract at the table; usually over some home-made treats and Kool-Aid. If we agreed to accept a price much lower than originally quoted, he would remind us “Never take the ten!” and encourage us to keep negotiating until we obtained a fair price for our property. Eventually, we would settle on a deal and he would pay us to rent our house by the day. We used our money to buy candy and soda, or whatever other things we wanted while we were visiting. He kept us busy and we rarely got into trouble.

As soon as I was old enough to drive, I would save my money and make the two hour drive to see my aunt and Pappy Joe. Sometimes, we would lay out in the font yard in lounge chairs…talking till almost dawn. He always wanted to know what I thought about life. He wanted to know the things going on in my life. He always listened to me…intently.

Anytime I had a question, he was ready with a thoughtful and wise answer. And I was full of questions. How did you meet my aunt? How did you know you were in love? Have you ever been scared? Have you ever been in a fight? Do you hate anybody? Do you have any enemies? Patiently, he answered every one. Honestly, he recounted being afraid in the war. Courageously, he detailed the strength he found in God…always and in all that he did. He shared sage advice about his professional boxing career. He was a driven mentor for children, especially young boys. Anyone who knew Pappy Joe usually loved him. And anyone who took time to talk with him knew exactly what he would advise. “Never take the ten!”

I matured and became a parent myself. I would come to visit him as he sat in his garage. We would talk for hours about the joys and pains of raising children. He would listen intently as I discussed my victories and life’s defeats. He was full of questions and I would try my best to be honest in my answers. He would detail the strength he found in God and give me thoughtful and insightful advice. We’d share coffee and reminisce about the times I came to visit and the fun we shared in my youth. A kind and loving man was Pappy Joe. With loss of sight and failing health, he never took the ten.

Pappy Joe was a father; a good father. Pappy Joe was an Airman; a valiant warrior. Pappy Joe was a fighter; a respected pro boxer. Pappy Joe was the best uncle I ever knew; a good friend. Pappy Joe was also a teacher; a compassionate and wise man. But what I remember most of all, in the lessons he taught and the love he shared; Pappy Joe loved God.

“Never take the ten.” It is a boxing term; meaning never give up. Even when the referee is standing over you counting to ten; do NOT give up. Get up! Stay in the fight! Pappy Joe never took a ten and I don’t intend to either. God bless Pappy Joe.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 04/24/08
Oh, what a marvelous tribute to your uncle! I love the details you provided about him; the many memories and his colorful saying. It's been a joy to read about your Pappy Joe.
Marlene Austin04/30/08
Your heartfelt expressions here give testimony to the powerful force Pappy Joe has been in your life. You painted a strong picture with your words. :)
Peter Stone04/30/08
What a great uncle, and great to see him have such a positive influence in your life. And never having heard the phrase 'Never Take the Ten' before, I felt the article would be strengthed by putting the last paragraph at the beginning.