Thursday, September 18, 2008

Uncle Hans

In an earlier blog I mentioned that during our trip this summer we had the pleasure of visiting with one of my favorite uncles. His name is Hans Maerz. He was born in Hungary, the fifth son in a family of eight children. My Dad was the youngest son, Uncle Hans was nine years older than my Dad. Later I will share some of the stories they told me about their childhood.
Here he is walking with Debi, Austin and Lauren in his garden, one of his great passions in life.

As a child we loved to visit him, his house was always the source of many wonders. It was decorated with all kinds of treasures he had created out of wood, metal, glass, leather, rocks and many other materials. There were always new items everytime we visited.
Notice all of the items in the background behind Ashley and Austin. Many of these things were here when I was a child.
Though he never had any children of his own, we were all his children. I never knew him to walk past a child without stopping to talk to them. I can remember how Ashley used to love to be around him when she was about as old as Austin is here in this picture. The next generation experienced his love on this trip.
Look at the wonder in Lauren's eyes as he shows her this bear that he sculpted out of Pewter.
He always loves to joke and laugh!

This is a scene that he cut out of wood.
I know this is a Silhouette of Jesus with the children, but I see my uncle here...a living demonstration of this in action. He loves children and they love to be around him.

Here he is sharing his love of rocks. We shut off the lights and he turned on a special light that illuminated the most incredible flourescent colors I've ever seen.

Here are some of his amazing metal cutouts.
Most of these designs were actually drawn by him.

We spent some time in his backyard sharing his garden.
The grape vine growing on the back fence came from Italy. One of his neighbors went back there for a visit and brought back some cutting from a established vineyard. He gave some to my uncle to see if he could grow it in Canada. That was in the 60's, here it is 40 years later and it's full of grapes!

His flowers are incredible, here he shares some with his grand neice. He loves to share the beauty of his world with everyone he touches.

Here is a close up of the flower, it's called a Tiger Lily.

Here is another amazing flower from his garden.

His front yard is filled with roses that he grafted using wild rose stocks, marrying them to bush roses. What amazing results! Being in Canada he does have to bury the tops of these every fall to protect them from the winter frost. In the spring he uncovers them to bloom again.
Our time flew by! Before we left we created some amazing images of our own.
Austin was focused on Uncle Hans.
Debi took this great picture of four generations of my family.

He is now 87 years young! He told us he no longer mows his lawn...but he still does all of the gardening!
He lost his wife, Elizabeth, to Bone cancer in the late 70's after many wonderful years together. They loved to spend their evenings together, him working on something and her reading to him. In the last year of my Dad's life he walked two miles twice a day to make sure my Dad was OK and taking his medicines. He has out lived my Dad by more than 15 years. Because of his love for his savior he always keeps giving.
Everytime I visit him I realize it could be the last time I may be spending time in the presence of this great man of God.
It makes me sad...but I also live with the knowledge that someday we will spend eternity together with our Lord, his wife, my Dad and others who have gone before us.

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