Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Cowboy

Few cowboys ever owned much.
The primary reward of being a cowboy
was the pleasure of living a cowboy's life.

We lost a real cowboy when we lost Leslie Amadore Hencratt at age 76 on April 12, 2012, and I lost my "Unc".  Uncle Les was really my mom's cousin, but we called him Unc.  He and Aunt Leora could not have children, so my brother and I gladly filled in.  I must say, looking back, we were sooooooo spoiled rotten by Unc and Aunt Leora.  At the time, I didn't realize how spoiled we were; I just felt very loved and knew I could get away with ANYTHING and get ANYTHING I wanted.

So the Hencratt family and friends gathered in Cottonwood last week to say our final good-bye to our brother, cousin, uncle, and friend.  Our long-time family friend, Dan Woolery, did an excellent job officiating.  Unc was laid to rest in the Cottonwood Community Cemetery next to his sister and mom and dad. I laughed  to myself because there were more people at the service WITH cowboy hats on than without.  Of course, after the service, in true Hencratt family fashion, we went to the Cottonwood Community Center for a huge potluck!  Even in tough times, there's nothing you can't eat your way out of!  :0)

Unc was born in Red Bluff and moved to Cottonwood when he was a little boy.  He grew up on a ranch and spent 40 years working as a ranch hand on two different ranches (same owner) in Shingletown and in Goose Lake.  He always grew a HUGE garden and hunted.  He lived a very simple life with few modern conveniences.  As the quote above says, Unc's pleasure was living a cowboy's life.  A few years ago, losing his eyesight forced him to "retire".  He loved the land and animals and took great care of both.

He also loved ME with all his heart!  Unc called me "Judy Ann" from the day I was born.  When I was little, I would ask him, "Why do you call me Judy Ann?"  He would smile (which he rarely did) and say, "Cause that's your name!"  He introduced me to Rocky Mountain Oysters when I was very young.  Boy could Unc fry up a skillet full of Rocky Mountain Oysters, and whenever he did, he always saved some for me.  By the time I was old enough to realize what they were, I LOVED them.  If you don't know what Rocky Mountain Oysters are, you can look it up on Wikipedia.  So many memories floating through my mind; too numerous to share!

A rare smile...Didn't see those too often
Unc was a quiet man!  I once read this quote about cowboys:  "Cowboys talk low, talk slow, and don't say too much."  That was my Uncle Les!

Oh how I will miss him!  

1 comment:

  1. He sounds like a great man who will be missed. Thanks for sharing about him Julie and I pray you will find comfort in the great memories you have!