By Lisa Marie Stahl
The majority of my relatives live in Canada. My mother is originally from Canada. Her family lives around Medicine Hat, Alberta and since they are the closest to my colony I visit them often.
With each visit, one special thing I look forward to is seeing my mothers youngest brother.
My Uncle Joe was born a Down Syndrome child. His abilities are limited because of this, but even with that, he has a special way of lighting a smile on the faces of all the people around him.
After both my moms parents passed away, my Uncle Joe was taken into care by an older brother and his family on the colony. He has lived with them since. They love and treat him like one of the family, and hes found a special place in their hearts.
Though Joe cannot read, but can write his name, he has an exceptional memory for his present condition. His speech is a bit slurred, but even that, he understands and can speak both English and German.
Joe has an excellent memory of faces and names. He gets many visitors besides his relatives, and he remembers the names of them all.
Joe enjoys attention, and he gets his share and then some. Nothing could make him feel more hurt than not being invited to a birthday party or a gathering such as a wedding or harvest party taken place at the communal kitchen.
Joe also loves music. He is well known for singing a few lines of his favorites, such as Does my ring hurt your finger, No vacancy, Oh, my darlin, Clementine, and even some German songs, if you catch him in the mood. Or, if you beg him long enough hell do an auctioneering act. And, to get extra attention, hell imitate someone behind their back.
Besides music, another thing Joe enjoys doing (which is probably his favorite hobby) is eating. But lucky he has such good caretakers, hes kept on a strict diet, to prevent from regaining over 100 pounds he lost, which at the time also forced his doctors to put him on oxygen. Joe is no longer on oxygen due to the weight he lost.
But Joe isnt always in his happiest of phases. Hes also known to be moody. At times if he feels hes not getting him share of attention, hell start pouting. And naturally, all it takes to stop that, are a few soothing words of comfort and letting him know he is still our most favorite loved member of the family.