A phone call from my mother yesterday brought the news that my Uncle Sam had died of a heart attack on Friday. He was eighty-nine.
Uncle Sam, actually my great uncle, was my grandfather's youngest brother, and the last of that generation of Goldsteins. Since my grandfather had died when I was not quite five years old, I'd often thought of Sam as my surrogate grandfather.
Here's to Uncle Sam: family patriarch, a brilliant man, and one of the nicest people you could have ever met. We'll miss you.
And I won't even get into the symbolism of my Uncle Sam dying over this particular Fourth of July holiday.