My name is Mary Ellen, and I hold the title “Most Gorgeous Niece.” The reason for this is because I happened to answer the phone when Uncle Matt called one day, and he asked to speak to his most gorgeous niece. I quipped, “Speaking,” and we both got laughing! To this day, 20-something years later, he still calls me that. However, ALL of the nieces are gorgeous, and I’m privileged to be among them.
My earliest memories of my Uncle Matt are getting shoulder rides, being thrown in the pool and going to Snowman’s for ice cream. Now I take my children to Snowman’s for ice cream, and it always reminds me of him. Snowman’s is a seasonal ice cream stand less than two miles from where we grew up. A nice perk in a small community! It was never hard to convince Uncle Matt to take us there, although he’d love to fool with us saying a drawn out, “I don’t know …,” while fighting a losing battle with a smile on his face!
When the call came to our house that he was going to be Bishop of Rochester it was late in the evening, as I recall. My parents and my grandmother were jumping for joy, smiling, laughing, they even gave us ice cream. I believe it was past our bedtime! I don’t remember if there were other adults there. The excitement was infectious. My sisters and I were smiling and so wanted to know what the happy news was. It was not time for us to know yet. We guessed things like winning the lottery, or that my father was going to be president, and things of that nature, and at every guess, the same response was given by elated faces: “No, it’s better than that!” How right they were!
Through the years as I grew up, my uncle has been there for me whenever I have reached out to him. He is humble, honest and one of the best listeners I have in my life. There is a calmness about Matt Clark. My family gets together often, and when he is able to join us, he brings a sense of ease to the room. It’s like the pendulum of life swings a little slower. At the same time he is witty and laughs with his entire face. It’s insanely contagious! I’m smiling right now as I write about it!
I’m so happy for my Uncle Matt and look forward to seeing him adjust to retirement. He works very hard, and I have suspicions he will most likely continue to do so, but perhaps not at full speed!
It is a blessing that Uncle Matt is in my life; he’s “top drawer”!Tags: Bishop Matthew H. Clark