To my uncles,

I can only imagine how eventful it must have been for my dad growing up with a sister and two brothers. He’s told me stories about his childhood, but I’m sure those stories don’t really grasp the full reality of those years he spent under the same roof as you two. Uncle Curt, he was closer to your age than Uncle Neil, so it’s only natural I’ve heard more memories with you in them. One of which was that dog story he’s told on repeat, and being the dog fanatic I am, it breaks my heart a bit every time I hear it. I can only really laugh about the tragedy if I think of the dog as a Chihuahua- the worst of all dogs, if you can even classify them as dogs- so that’s what I imagine the dog to be, don’t even start to tell me any different. 

Now I realise both of you possess those little cat/rat hybrids as pets, so I’m sort of sorry to have to tell you that they are the worst. But it’s hard not to notice the awesomeness of bigger dogs, and know that the smaller the dog, the more annoyingly yappy they get. I’m sorry for the loss of your hearing from all those yaps you must hear on a daily basis. Anyway, back on track. 

Uncle Neil, I grew up seeing star wars posters, wolf t-shirts, and your drawings hanging on the walls of grandma and grandpa’s home. To say you have a real talent for art is obvious, my mom has said it many times that you have much more talent than you give yourself credit for, and I agree. Aside from art, you were also a fun uncle to have around, always having the best movies and the corny jokes intact. 

Uncle Curt, I always had this weird idea that you were part of the VonTrapp family… The Sound of Music probably took up too much of my time when I was young. Aside from thinking of you as the 4th oldest sibling on that musical- his name and bluntness similar to your own- I also thought of you as more of a rowdy adult than most of the ones I’d watched growing up. You’d always find something funny, constantly sounding that huge laugh of yours, no matter the occasion. You also had that disgusting tarantula that lived with grandma and grandpa, and I’d never met another adult with a spider as a pet. 

There’s a pillow somewhere in grandma’s possession, you both know the one: “my family tree is full of nuts” displayed on the front. This could not be truer, and that’s, in part, because of you two. I guess you can say you have mellowed out over the years, getting yourselves wives and families to call your own, but you’ll always be a bunch of crazies in my book. Uncle Neil will always be that guy with a love of the Peanuts comics, and fear of his picture being taken unless he’s perpared for it with a crazy face. Uncle Curt, always a rambunctious adult. That’s the price you pay for being a Hansen. 

At least growing up was interesting, so thanks for that. Between family bonfires, baseball games, and all those meals we’ve eaten as a family, you two have been constant reminders that my dad was right when he said he was the normal one. Oddness or not though, you are, and will always be, family.

Thanks for making life more bizarre,

Melissa

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