Friday, December 16, 2005

Uncles and Brother-in-laws

The picture is Uncle Howard with his family in the 1940s.

I have two brother-in-laws and a sister-in-law's husband to deal with. They have similarities and differences. The are similar in that they are all nice people. But they have very different personalities. So I will just take them on one at a time here.

I had four very nice uncles, three brothers of my Father were Lester, Chester, and Howard, and Don, a brother of my Mom. All have died. There weren't any blood relation aunts. Mom's brother lived in Oregon most of my life and I don't remember much about him. One at a time for these guys too.

Here goes. Uncle Howard was Dad's youngest brother, two years younger than Dad. I was his favorite nephew; he called me "Jimmie." My best remembrance of him is that he could yodel. He is the only person I know or have known who could yodel. He yodeled good, very good. He would only yodel when nobody was around, except me.

Uncle Howard's favorite song was Cattle Call,
"The cattle are prowlin'
The coyotes are howlin'
Way out where the doggies roam
Where the spurs are a jinglin'
And the cowboy is singin'
His lonesome cattle call
He rides in the sun'
Til his days work is done,
And he rounds up the cattle each fall
Singing his cattle call"

I like to sing that song when nobody is around too. And I try to yodel. Uncle Howard never sang in public either. Not even in church.

He had two boys, John and Jack. Jack and his sons do the farming on our family farm, John has completely retired from the Corps of Engineers. The both live in Tekamah, Nebraska. Jack is married with three sons; John is divorced and has one son. Jack is coming to Conroe next spring.

Uncle Howard finished school through the eighth grade at District # 42, the same school Dad, the other two uncles, John, Jack, two girl cousins, my sister and I all attended until high school. It was a one-room schoolhouse. That was all the education my grandfather would allow, except for my Dad who when through the tenth grade. Grandpa needed them to help on his farms.

Uncle Howard had newer cars and tractors than we had. Dad still used horses for farming a lot in the thirties; Uncle Howard had tractors early on. Uncle Howard did keep a team and a riding horse. He was the first one in the neighborhood to use milking machines.

His wife, Aunt Fae, and my mom were friends before either married these two brothers. I was my Aunt Fae's favorite nephew too. She would make cookies and candy for us. They traveled a lot. Mom and Dad didn't until their later years. So we didn't go on any long vacations until I had graduated from high school.

Uncle Howard was a very clean living man. He was the only one of the brothers who didn't smoke. I don't think he ever inhaled a cigarette or tasted beer. Not even when he was young. I could be wrong, but that was the impression he left for me to remember.

He was also very religious. He became a deacon at middle age and remained one for the rest of his life. I saw Uncle Howard the day he died.

Later that day, about an hour before he died, he led a prayer group in his hospital room with his family. He requested all the nurses and staff who could come to be there also. Uncle Howard prayed then. He prayed for each family member and hospital attendant by name. And he died in less than an hour.

Singing his cattle call

Love that song - Cattle Call. Say, does John and Jack know Cliff?
Just wondering.
Hi Rachel--Yes, they all live in Cliff's town [he is out in the nearby country] and do some of the same activities.
Uncle Howard and Cliff were good friends too.
Ralph, I think Jim just called you me....anyway What a great post Jim. Your Uncle Howard was a great guy and you have such great memories. I love the old pictures too. I like that Cattle Call song as well, and I can yodel alone, but never in public.
I didn‘t know that Howard could yodel, but I knew Fae better than Howard because if we were there, I spent time inside with her or outside playing with Jack & John.
Those were good pictures in your blog, & you did a good job of getting them copied in your computer.
I found my way over here from Cliff's blog. That was a nice tribute to your uncle. He sounds like he was quite a guy.

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