Cicero, Indiana offered some great off-the-beaten-path fishing locations just north of the reservoir. When I was growing up, my birth father and his younger brother, my Uncle Garry, loved to fish in this area. Mother often joined us, bringing along her Tupperware containers filled with fried chicken, potato salad, cake, and other delicious food.
Uncle Garry, who, like my maternal grandfather, was as much a surrogate dad as he was my uncle. Scarred and wounded from his service in Vietnam, Uncle Garry never hid from offering humor to keep the moment light. My father, Danny, while seemingly happy and sarcastically witty, always had a cloud of depression just beneath his surface. The two Jolliff brothers were similar, yet, on the whole, drastically different. Danny was the jovial and brooding older brother while Garry was his constant cheerleader.
While seated in the grass next to Uncle Garry when fishing at a large Cicero pond, we began looking at rocks embedded in the dirt as he patiently waited for his fishing line’s bobber to tug downward. Sticking out of the dirt at an angle was a narrow rock.
“Look, there,” he pointed. “That looks like a finger.” He added that maybe it could be a full hand beneath the dirt.
I pulled up the finger rock and for some reason, the rock never left my collection. For the past fifty-plus years, it has either been in my bedroom or on my desk in my study.
This morning, Aunt Jenny posted a photo of a rock and explained how she and Uncle Garry would collect rocks with the grandchildren. I don’t recall if I’ve ever shared the finger rock story with her or anyone for that matter. But, for some reason, that little finger rock has become a precious reminder of a fun, simple moment spent with Uncle Garry.