#50 In Roads-Uncle Funky


I’m bellied up to the bar of an old diner when a man comes in and sits next to me. “You’re the gal who writes for a living,” he tells me. I’m shocked. He sticks out his hand and says, “Hi. I’m Uncle Funky.” I immediately take out my camera. Anybody with a name like that needs his picture taken. He grins and launches into a dissertation on who he is. Come to find out I’m having lunch next to his sister and niece.

Uncle Funky spent three years on an ocean-going tugboat during his stint in the Navy before finding his way to San Francisco, where he lived for 45 years. He retired from his job as a light operator for stage productions at 59 and is currently living out in the sticks near Coos Bay. I ask if he had trouble adjusting to life away from the big city. “Not really,” he says. “I love trees. Hate the weather here, but I’m good with trees.” He wasn’t happy when his doctor announced that he would die with diabetes. “I’d rather live with diabetes, thank you very much,” he announced to the physician.” These days he controls the disease with meds and diet. I ask what he does for excitement and he brightens right up.

“Well, I’m working on getting my 45 H-D trike running. It’s my first Harley, but in the past I’ve owned four Yamahas. My brother-in-law will be putting it together for me; I’m looking for the parts. I’d like to go to Sturgis, since I’ve never been, but I have a problem with big crowds. We’ll have to see about that when it’s all done. I figure about 6 months worth of real work should do it.” I ask why the 68 year old is called Uncle Funky. “I don’t know, it’s the girls that call me that so I guess you’d have to ask them. I’d hate to know what it is they call me behind my back, though.”



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