The View from Up North

I returned last night from a funeral in Minnesota. A week ago my dad’s sister’s husband passed away at 93. At least 200 people attended Uncle Jim’s funeral. He and my aunt were married 62 years and they socialized playing tennis, dancing and while attending their church.

My favorite memory of my uncle is from a visit we made to their beautiful house when I was in high school. Uncle Jim and I entered the kitchen and teenager music was blaring from the radio. The poetic lyrics went something like this, (lead singer yells), “Love Stinks! Yeah, yeah!” Uncle Jim turned to me with a surprised look on his face, “I’ve never thought so!” and turned off the noise. Touché. I’ve written a memorial poem for him, which I read at the funeral.

James T. Prest

Door-holding, educated gentleman
Sports coat, collared shirt, khakis, most often a tie
Charming conversationalist, Duluth polite society
Kitchi Gammi, Red Flannels and Old Fashions
Traditionalist, Conservative white male
As he’d say, “Nothing wrong with that.”
Sharing opinions and ironic wit
Attorney for more than four decades
Alumni of Shattuck and Amherst
Pillar of his church
His reputation precedes him
Vestry, Salvation Army Board
Secret Agent Man
Captain of the Ronald Hunter House
Prest Courts Tennis Tournaments
Lawn Boy Mowing the Woods
Husband of 62 years
How he loved Libby, and her fabulous cooking
Devoted to family
Brother, Son, Husband, Father and Grandfather
Dogged companion to German Shepherds
Steady, Determined, Sterling
At the pearly gates, racquet in hand
Doubles anyone?

With love to Uncle Jim.

1/17/23  –Rebecca Cuningham

Whose accomplishments do you admire?

  ¡Olé! –Rebecca

PS Kitchi Gammi means Big Waters (Lake Superior) in the Ojibwe language.

James T. Prest. Photo: Wedell Cuningham Wedding Guest

James T. Prest – traducción

Caballero educado, quien abre puertas para las damas
Blazer, camisa, pantalones caqui, casi siempre una corbata
Conversador encantador, parte de la sociedad de Duluth
Club Kitchi Gammi, Grupo franela roja, Bailes a lo antiguo
Traditionalista, hombre blanco conservador
Como diría él, “¿Y que?”
Compartiendo opiniones y deducciones irónicas Abogado más de cuatro décadas
Alumno de Shattuck and Amherst
Un pilar de su iglesia
Su reputación, impecable
Junta parroquial, Mesa del Ejército de salvación
Agente secreto de la OSS
Capitán de la Casa Ronald Hunter
Pista de tenis familial y del barrio
Jardinero, cortando la grama en la arboleda
Marido por 62 años
Como amaba a su esposa Libby, y su comida sabrosa
Hombre de familia leal
Hermano, hijo, marido, padre y abuelo
Amigo devoto de pastor alemanes
Firme, resuelto, esterlina.
En las puertas del cielo, raqueta en la mano
¿Alguien por un partido de tenis doble?
Con mucho amor al tío Jim, 
Rebecca Cuningham 17 enero 2023

¿Hay alguien que admires?

  ¡Olé! –Rebecca

PD Kitchi Gammi significa Aguas grandes (Lago superior) en el idioma do los Ojibwe.

Rebecca Cuningham

45 thoughts on “The View from Up North

  1. What a lovely tribute to your uncle! I didn’t know him, but after reading your poem I feel as though I did. I know this was a difficult funeral for you. By the way, I love his name tag! I take it that his “claim to fame, at least on one occasion was being your uncle. How sweet!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the “Welcome y’all” caught my attention. I wasn’t it expecting it on a name tag from “Up North.” I was impressed that y’all was spelled correctly. It drives me up the wall to see it as ya’ll. Give me a break, y’all! It’s a contraction. What are you thinking the apostrophe is replacing???? Nothing is more irritating than a Southern who doesn’t know how to spell y’all! Then I read how he’d written his name, etc. and my heart melted.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Rebecca – Thanks for sharing your beautiful poem and wonderful tribute to James T. I was at the service and heard your words. They resonated then and now. I’ve had the song “secret agent man” on my mind ever since. Grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

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