I'll never forget the Sunday afternoon three-wheeler rides with our little gang of misfits. I was the youngest, I think, in my teens. Every Sunday we would meet up at my grandfather's store, each other's houses, or at some point in between. We all rode Honda three-wheelers. Our destination might be a sandpit, logging trails, river beds, or just a nearby mud hole. Most afternoons, at some point along the way, we would gather in a lazy circle, eat Nabs (that's peanut butter crackers made by Nabisco, for you non-southerners) and drink a Pepsi. It was during those times Uncle Charles told his stories. His deadpan delivery never failed to make us all laugh. Even when he told horrific tales of being trapped in foxholes in Vietnam, we laughed. You couldn't help but laugh.
Charles made laid back people look hyper.
During one particular ride the weather turned cool. Our ride home was several miles and we grumbled our dread. It had been warm when we left home. Uncle Charles unfastened the storage compartment on the back of his three-wheeler and pulled out a jacket (it might have been a flannel shirt) and said with a grin, "This here's an old Indian trick, boys." I remembered that old Indian trick, and to this day will not leave home on my motorcycle without my leather jacket in the saddlebag.
I never called him Uncle. I don't remember any of us calling him that. He was just Charles. I've often wondered if he had any idea how much I admired him. I never told him.
Charles taught me you can tell a sad story without being sad. He taught me that delivery is every bit as important as content. I doubt he considered it teaching. I certainly didn't consider it learning. It was just a bunch of people sitting around making memories none of us realized we were making.
Rest in peace, Charles. You will be sorely missed.
Following is his obituary as published in the newspaper.
PONTOTOC – Charles Moss, 63, died Friday,
Jan. 25, 2013, at the Sanctuary Hospice House in Tupelo. He was born
Feb. 10, 1949, to John and Opal Moss. He was a Baptist. He attended
school at Randolph, graduating in 1967. He served as a sergeant in the
United States Army during the Vietnam War. He was honorably discharged
in 1975 and was later awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Heroism
with “V” device for his service. He worked for Lane Furniture Industry
for 32 years and was employed by Encore Furniture prior to his illness.
He was an outdoorsman at heart and enjoyed hunting, fishing, traveling
and watching football. He was well known for his pranks, jokes and his
sense of humor. He loved to make people laugh.
Services will be
at 2 p.m. Sunday at Baldwin Nowell Funeral Home Chapel in Pontotoc with
Pastor Murry Galloway officiating. Burial will follow in the Baldwin
Memorial Gardens in Pontotoc. Baldwin Nowell Funeral Home of Pontotoc is
in charge of arrangements.
He is survived by his wife of 13
years, Wilma Moss; three sons, Ken Moss (Cynthia), Mike Moss (Rena) and
Tracy Boland; one daughter, Tammy Boland; one daughter-in-law, Gena
Moss, all of Pontotoc; four granddaughters, Kendra Moss, Hannah Moss,
Alexa Moss and Natalie Carter (Eric); two brothers, Ray Moss (Shirley)
and Johnny Moss (Cathy); two sisters, Ethelene Cowsert (L.D.) and
Kathleen Purdon; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
preceded in death by his parents, John and Opal Moss; one brother, Tim
Moss; one sister, Joyce Fay Moss; a son, Lee Moss; and his first wife,
Jeanette Shook Moss.
Pallbearers will be Gary Purdon, Carl Purdon, Daniel Purdon, Jonathan Moss, Cody Box and Keith Hodum.
Visitation will be at Baldwin Nowell Funeral Home from 4 until 8 p.m. today and from 1 p.m. until service Sunday.
Memorials may be made to Sanctuary Hospice House, P.O. Box 2177, Tupelo, MS 38803.