Monday, May 3, 2010

Cowboy Poet

Uncle Jody always seemed to understand the heart of his small niece.

He would stoop down--somehow folding his long, lanky body into a comfortable crouch, easily balancing back upon the heel of his pointed cowboy boots--to look directly into my face.

His clear blue eyes would beam and his craggy face would light up, as he would listen to that small girl I once was. I can still hear his easy laughter. How I loved my Uncle Jody. I knew I was special in his eyes.

He wrote beautiful poetry and loved the work of Robert W. Service, who wrote Dangerous Dan McGrew and The Cremation of Sam McGee. I can still hear his voice, a delightful cross between soft snow and rough gravel as he would read those wonderful poetic stories.

I remember Thanksgivings where Dad and Uncle Jody, along with Mom, all my cousins, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles would fill an entire house with shouts of laughter, loud debate, good food and fun. I would go upstairs, lay my ear against the floor and listen to the rumble.  One of my favorite memories was when Dad and Uncle Joe ate an entire bottle of pickles so hot their eyes were streaming with tears. One could almost see the smoke rolling from their ears.

I miss him. I remember what Uncle Jody whispered, after hearing my daughters and I sing Amazing Grace in three-part harmony.   "I'm not so far away from God as they think," he confided with a mischievous twinkle in those clear blue eyes awash with bright tears.

I am confident I will see our beloved Cowboy Poet again--his worn Stetson hat slung low over his face, his blue eyes sparkling, his beautiful crinkled features creased into a big happy smile.

All Uncle Jody's brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews loved him with a great love--he made each of us feel special.   And we were.


Lois said...

What a loving and beautiful tribute!

Clytie said...

I miss him.

tarzan said...

And we are what we came from - strong stalk. To honor them gives purpose to our lives, and the renewal of memories of what they taught us. This is a beautiful piece Beth and a beautiful vision in your drawing.

Woman in a Window said...

What a full and dynamic house it was full of family like that. You've done him an honor here. He'd appreciate it, Beth, that you felt him so deeply.


Looking to the Stars said...

Once again you have astounded me with your talent. I loved your story, what a wonderful person your Uncle must have been. Thank you for sharing about him. I love reading about real people :)

Serline said...

Nice portrait and a moving tribute. Was never close to my uncle, or for that matter, my father, but always wondered what a strong yet understanding fatherly figure would have shaped my life...

Grannie Annie said...

What a wonderful picture of what sounds like a great guy. I have been doing a lot of remembering this week too and looking back at the people in my life who are now on the other side...and so special in my heart.
It sounds like you have a family full of many special people and memories in your life too...thank you for sharing them.
Love you.

Tammie said...

such a lovely tribute, I love how you described his voice, snow and gravel. Your portrait is gorgeous, handsomely gorgeous.

encaracolada said...

Hello! thanks for you comment. Nice work! (I am sorry that blogger did not let me publish it)

Big Hug

Anonymous said...

You have painted a picture, wrote a story in a large way.
Filled with sensitivity, graditude, love, and most importantly "loving memories" which fill our souls as we grow.
How wonderful it is to read you words and your memories which I can feel deep inside of your entire family. Thank you for this. It fills my heart with the 'hope' that society will treasure family values and treasure togetherness instead of materialism.
This reallly made my day.. hugs, xo, Darlene

Lay Hoon aka mescrap said...

Cool !!
Love the pencil lines and also the beautiful tribute.