Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Uncle Buck

It was on this lake and in these woods that my Uncle Buck helped teach me how to be a biologist.

I learned this morning from a high school friend that my bombastic Uncle Buck (Neil) Beranek committed suicide at about 9:30 a.m., Central Time, in Rice Lake Wisconsin. He had been quite despondant for some time and this morning he reached the end of his ability to cope. He just turned 75 years old on December 15.

Buck was well known for his bombast and story telling and there was no end to the stories he could tell. There was a reason my cousin Boyd and I gave him the title of "The Supreme Bullshitter" many many years ago. He taught me how to trap muskrats and mink which is how I paid for my undergraduate degree in college. He taught me how to ice fish, and how to fillet a fish, and how to track animals in the forest. He even taught me how to tap maple trees and how to turn their sap into maple syrup. His one passion was deer hunting - he loved that almost as much as anything else.

This coming Monday, January 17, will be the 17th anniversary of my dad's death. After his funeral my cousins and I went out to find Buck and located him in the VFW in Rice Lake. As we talked with him, an unsuspecting woman walked in and sat down alone at a table.

Deciding to be neighborly, my Uncle Buck walked up to her and said, politely, "Can I smell your pussy"?

The woman indignantly snorted "NO!"

Buck simply shrugged his shoulders and said "Well, must be somebody else's then" and walked back to his seat.

People always tried to one-up Buck but nobody could succeed until the night of my mom's funeral in November 1996. Buck was always bragging about all the sex he was having (no doubt the latest Buck story).

As he told us of his imaginary conquests, a smile crossed my face and I said "Buck, when was the last time you had sex with a female that didn't have four hooves?"

For the first time in recorded history Buck sat in total silence and did not have a come back. My cousin broke the silence and said "I never thought i'd see it. Buck Beranek had absolutely nothing to say."

That was quintessential Buck Beranek. As my friend Mike DeCapita said when I told him some Buck stories, "Your Uncle Buck was a piece of work." That he was.

Buck had been divorced for more than 30 years and was never able to put aside the anger and hurt he felt from having that happen to him. Living in a beer bottle all these years didn't help matters much either. Hopefully now that his internal torment is over his soul will finally be at peace.

"Grieve not long because he is gone, but rejoice forever because he was."...Dave Hilsheimer (my friend)