Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Tribute to my Uncle

I would like to dedicate a few words on this otherwise husky, herb and northern life dedicated space to somone dear, whom I´ve just lost, and someone who, in fact, had a lot to do with with where I am today, both lifestyle and geographically wise as well. 

M i la n   P a l e č e k

November 10, 1949 - March 17, 2021

My uncle Milan was one of the kindest people I have known and had in my life. 

He spent huge portions of his adult life helping my dad (his brother) fix, move, renovate, build, rebuild and everything in between at my parents apartment and at our country vacation house, and building my parents´ house from the ground up.
He also helped to build my grandfather´s house, and I am talking about my mom´s dad, so someone not even related by blood. 

Even during his stay and his last days at the hospital, super weak as his heart was failing,  he asked my dad to bring him chocolates and fruits so he can give them to the nurses.

The reason I decided to pay my tribute to him here on my blog, when it is a clearly family and personal matter, is, that if it weren´t for my uncle, I would have most likely never even had a husky, fall deeply in love with the breed, build a pack and move close to the Arctic Circle...

My uncle was a huge adventurer at heart. His fate never allowed for him to travel much and far, or definitely not as he could and should have. 
He had this incredibly large interest in everything on planet Earth when it comes to nature, animals, history, different ecosystems, landscapes and cultures. 

While it wasn´t meant for him to explore much by himself in person, he was such an avid reader and follower of all nature documentaries and was extremely knowledgeable about different species of animals, their habitats, etc. 

He supported organizations such as WWF and International Animal Rescue, but he also cared deeply for children in need and supported physically handicapped artists, as well as UNICEF and many charity organizations. 

Well before I got my first husky, he implemented the spark of interest in my heart for adventure with his stories and never-ending supply of books by the likes of Jack London and Karl May. 

The stories of the wild west, about Old Shetterhand and his Apache blood brother Vinnetou, about Calamity Jane and Billy the Kid, but mostly about the White Fang and Buck, the brave dog who led his master and his dog team during the Gold Rush in Alaska. The brave and horrifying stories of the Chilkoot Pass and the Klondike Gold Rush and so many more have for some reason stuck fastened to my heart like a glue and germinated like a seed of a great adventure plant.

I will never forget the day I mentioned to him that I would love to get a dog and had a permission from both my parents. My mom was helping me to search and looked a lot at newspaper ads by local animal shelters and we also looked at advertisements in the only Czech dog magazine which I eagerly waited for every month at the newspaper stand.

I was 15 and deep in my heart I had this dream dog that I came across a picture of, in a mail order catalogue when I was 13. 
The dog was a Siberian Husky and at that time, it was extremely rare to come across someone who had them, let alone an ad....

It was enough to mention to my uncle that I was gonna be grateful for any furry companion but my heart was beating for a Siberian husky, and the future was set.

Just around my birthday, my uncle came for a visit and with a special twinkle in his eye opened a newspaper. He pointed to an an ad by a Siberian Husky breeder that lived surprisingly close and who just had a litter of puppies.
A phone call was made spontaneously to ask what options there may be and the breeder invited us to come visit the puppies once they are 4 weeks old. 

And the rest, as they say, is history. In October I was picking up my very first Siberian husky boy named Ford, who also became my lead dog, my closest companion and who´s blood and legacy still circulates in some of the Kipp d´Amundsen Siberian Huskies today.

One of the regrets I feel is that my uncle never got to go sledding with our husky team. He would have loved it! It really makes me sad he never got to visit us here in our Swedish wild home either.  

I am going to always miss his kind and gentle nature and his unique sense of humor. 

I close my eyes and see him pass a special jokes gazette called Dikobraz to me, giggling about one of the comics, or pointing at an interesting read about lions, snow leopards, the Native people of Amazonia or a history article about the Klondike.

My eyes scan my library with a number of nature encyclopedia he gifted me for Christmas or my birthday, and I can hear his genuine laughter. 

The image of him handing me the newspaper with an underlined Siberian Husky puppies ad, his eyes laughing and a certain "pact" being just formed.

This is how I will always remember this man, who dedicated his life to helping his family, dear ones, and actually everyone in need. 

What a joyful moment it must have been, when he met up with all his dachshunds! And I can imagine Ford welcoming him on behalf of the entire Kipp d´Amundsen Spirit Guide team.
There were many northern lights dancing across the sky since my uncle passed from this Earthly life and I am sure he loved the ride with Ford and Taz in lead. 
(Every time the Northern Lights appear, I know my heavenly team is out for a run)

We love you and miss you, and hope we make your soul proud with our northern adventures, while taking comfort in knowing that you now hold your protective hand over us and guide us along the coming ones.

Till we meet again. 

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