My Uncle Pat died in April of 2011. He comes to mind often. I've been going through a stack of movie books that my cousin Beverly sent to me that were his. Anyone that knew Pat knew that he loved movies. Even when he was on board his ship during the war, he'd write home to his mother and Papa about movies he'd seen or movies that he wanted to see.
His love for film never faded. When I was a kid, Pat would drive to Gadsden, AL from his home in Macon, GA to visit his brother Westbrook and that large family of his. Pat always had nice cars and liked to keep them in tip-top shape and always clean. He'd always ask me to wash his car during his visits and expected a good job for the money he paid. Pat would also treat me to a movie. He'd let me pick'm, and politely suffered through my choices.
Pat became a collector of movies when Beta and VHS tape recorders came on the market. Pat had one of the first recorders in Georgia. I heard it cost him a pretty penny, but Uncle Pat got his money's worth out of them. Every time we'd go see Pat, he'd show us his large catalog of videos. He had spent hours and hours and years and years creating a library and an extensive index of actors, directors, producers, etc. Did I mention that Pat loved movies? He had many shelves through out his house filled with video tapes.
Pat was a handsome fellow with a golden voice. I wonder what would've happened if he had tried to make it in Hollywood. He loved movies so much and was quite talented himself. Pat loved to sing and when I watch movies made in the 1930's, whenever a crooner sang to the object of his desire, I often think of Pat. Pat could've sung that!
My sister Jennie chuckled as she told me that even when Pat was near death, while medical professionals were tending to him, he had his eyes fixed on and old movie playing on the television. That was Pat.
Out of all the movies, all those years, I think it's safe to say that Pat's favorite movie was Mr. Roberts (1955). It's a comedy about life aboard a cargo ship during the war. Pat served on an LST which was a type of amphibious cargo ship that could actually land on beaches. Pat spoke often about this movie. He related to it. There was something about it that stirred up old memories of his days in the service, of old friends. I can only make a vague relation for you, but he loved that movie so much. He couldn't mention the movie title without laughing.
One of these days I'll run across a DVD copy of it, and I'll buy it. Maybe I won't be able to appreciate it like my Uncle Pat did, but I will most definitely be reminded of that sweet fellow every time I see it.