Monday, January 5, 2009

New Beginnings, sad endings!

First - I want to wish you all a Happy New Year!

Last year ended in sadness...the morning of my birthday my uncle died. It was not as if it was unexpected, however it was sudden. He had been declining, and was taken into Hospice the week before Christmas. We just had not expected it to be so soon. My family was planning to all go and visit him on the 27th...but that was not to be.

Fortunately, Peter, Miss Janice and I took one of our famous "Sunday Drives" and found ourselves in Henrietta. We stopped by to see how he was doing. His granddaughter was there with him and woke him from a nap (she was staying with him to help with the horses and care for him). We had a great visit and I was glad we had taken the time while he was still in his home. The week before Christmas he was taken to the hospital and December 26th he went home! (I have blogged about him in the past: Bad News.)

He will be greatly missed. When I was young he taught me to ride a horse and to shoot a gun. I spent many happy summers at his family farm, and even though he was 10 years older than me...he always made time for a "pesky" little girl. I rode behind him many an evening to bring the milk cow into the barn. He taught me how to milk a cow and feed the chickens. (All new to a big city girl.) He told me that if I left a calf lick my wart - it would disappear. (That didn't happen...I wasn't going to have any of that slobber on my hand!) He tried to make me like "fresh" milk - but I liked mine I always drank yesterday's milk (so it had time to chill.) He always drank his "fresh"...which meant warm!

He also taught my girls (and my girlfriend) to ride horses, and gave them all life experiences you can't buy! He taught them to help him work his cattle and exprience ranch life to the fullest. They learned to saddle a horse by themselves. They helped him with branding cattle and pulling calves. They did farm chores (some real and some he made up to keep them busy) so they could "borrow" a horse to ride. He always had time in his day for my children, his grandchildren, and his niece and nephews.

Spring break usually became "Farm Camp". We stayed down the road at my mom's farm and he would have his grand kids and his sisters kids...we'd ride horses or go fishing. He would make himself available to do whatever the kids wanted during that week. These are the kind of childhood memories we wish all our children could experience. My girls adored him and thought he was the greatest Cowboy in Texas! He was our very own real life hero and epitomized the verse, Mark 12:31 " The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." He was always ready to help a neighbor in need and never wanted any attention brought to his acts of kindness.

The memorial service was a celebration of his life. The church was packed, not only with family and friends, but with love. The stories of his selfless acts, his humble service to others and his love for his children and family. His love for the Lord was evident in his actions and in his simple life. I think I have to agree with my children...Texas has lost one of its greatest Cowboys and he will be missed!

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