My father had a lot of brothers. There was Hill,
Roy, Harris, and Harris' twin, who died when he was young. Possibly, the all
time favorite was Harris, Daddy's younger brother, who also represented a
true mystique for us. He had gone "up north" to work in the high-paying
automotive industry, where he resided for most of my memory of him. He was
the only one who always seemed to have money, nice clothes, a good car,
and a different girl friend that he would bring with him (to the great
dismay of my mother). I heard whispers that he may actually be sleeping
with these women on occasion. Harris never married.
Harris' reputation for partying was legendary and on his visits, which occurred a few times a year, he always managed to visit the local honky tonks, occasionally winding up in fights in the clubs. It seems that all of his friends had hilarious names such as "One-yard Lynch" and "Rough House Morgan". The origin of Rough House's name is pretty obvious, but only recently did it occur to me that the "one- yard" was probably referring to a part of Lynch's anatomy.
Harris was a wonderful uncle and all of his nephews love him partly because he always had wise words for us, special sayings, and rewards to offer us, but also because he represented some kind of special achievement. To us he was big, brave, strong, and invincible, an apt defender of the Trolinger name. We were always happy when he visited.
I was ready for college when Harris died, seemingly as a result of an injury sustained in a bar fight in Detroit. I photographed him in his casket from every angle to keep some memory alive. A few relatives silently regretted that the diamond ring we had all admired remained on his finger.
At his burial, I noticed a nicely dressed, little old man, standing alone, weeping gently. No one seemed to know who he was. As the cars began to leave the site, he walked over to my brother and I and asked if we were Harris' nephews. After our positive response he introduced himself as an old friend of Harris, Robert Lynch. Finally I had met One-Yard. It never occurred to me to ask him about the origin of the nickname.