Uncle Jelly held the record in our family for uniqueness. His name was always a mystery to me. Nobody ever used his real name although I knew it was Jack. And nobody ever, even when asked, gave an explanation about why he was known only as Jelly. Voted ‘Most Likely to Have Fun’ in high school, he lived up to the honor every day of his life. That is probably why he was undeniably every niece and nephew’s favorite uncle. It is also why he was the obvious choice as a babysitter.
I recall one Valentine’s Day when my parents needed Uncle Jelly to watch me while they went on a rare but much anticipated date. When he got to our house the first thing I noticed was the carton of eggs he carried. Uncle Jelly had transformed it with crayons and construction paper to look like a house, complete with roof, door and window. Instantly he had my curiosity peaked to the point I hardly noticed when my parents left.
The egg carton house was placed carefully on the kitchen countertop. I examined it closely like a critic at an art gallery. The detail was amazing.
“Can I look inside, Uncle Jelly?”
“It’s just the Egg family.” Uncle Jelly smiled. “Let me introduce you to them.”
He lifted the lid/roof of the egg carton/house. Just eggs. I had expected something wonderful but it was just eggs. Not even a full carton, either. One egg was missing. The disappointment must have shown because Uncle Jelly patted me on the back.
“I know.” He ran his finger tenderly inside the space that was missing an egg. “We miss Humpty terribly, don’t we?”
“Huh?” He really had taken me by surprise. “Humpty? You mean like Humpty Dumpty?”
“Of course I mean Humpty Dumpty. This is the Dumpty family home.”
“Okay Uncle Jelly. I’m game. What’s the story behind this?”
“There is no story.” He looked at me with a twinkle that told me there really was a story and it was about to be told. “No story, but there is a problem. The Dumpty family has asked me to perform a very delicate surgery on them tonight.” He picked up one of the eggs and spoke directly to it as though it were alive. “Daddy Dumpty, are you sure there is no way I can talk you and your family out of this surgery?”
He had me hooked. I couldn't resist asking "What kind of surgery?"
“Oh, they want to be Air Heads. They have decided what is in them isn’t what they want to be. The Dumpty family has given up on being eggs since, well, you know… the wall incident.”
Uncle Jelly got a bowl from the cabinet and then took an ice pick from the drawer. He poked a hole in the top and bottom of the egg he held. Then he put it over the bowl and blew gently through the hole in the small end of the egg. All the yolk and egg white came oozing out of the other end. Then Uncle Jelly repeated the process on the next egg.
“Would you like to help with the surgery?” Uncle Jelly handed me the ice pick. “If you will do the surgical incision I will perform the Mouth-to-Egg removal procedure.”
He handed me the next egg and, without hesitation, I poked the two holes. He took the egg from me and blew the ooze gently. Together, we completed all eleven eggs.
“Surgery was successful.” Uncle Jelly picked up the first egg. You are no longer Daddy Humpty. Although I disagree with your decision, you are know Daddy Airhead.”
I scratched my head. “I don’t understand. Why did they want to be airheads?”
“You need to know something about life.” Uncle Jelly suddenly sounded serious. I knew the lesson was about to made clear. “Sometimes people don’t realize the value of what is in them. They aren’t satisfied being what God made them so they try to empty themselves of all the good things God put in them. They should never do that. It’s always a mistake to reject what God does.”
“But they are just eggs.”
“You aren’t.” He smiled. “I want you to know that you have a lot of really good things inside of you. Don’t ever let anyone poke holes in your dreams because that is when people can easily blow you away.”
Uncle Jelly always had a way of teaching that got through to me. I understood.
“Can I ask a question?” He nodded approval. “What happened to the good stuff if it does get blown out?” I pointed to the bowl of egg whites and yolks.”
“Don’t worry about that. God always finds a way to let someone else use the good stuff.” He smiled broadly as he picked up the bowl.