Friday, October 23, 2009

GOOD BYE, UNCLE PAUL

GOOD BYE, UNCLE PAUL
Died, December 11. 2004, Age 75

Every boy needs a hero or two. And after my dad I’d have to say it was Uncle Paul. There was something magical about those two words…Uncle…and Paul.

Visions of beautiful farmland, horses, old wagons, tractors, cows, milk cans. Lying in my bed in the house of a smoggy big city I dreamt of “going to Uncle Paul’s”.

And he had been a cowboy, a real one, in Oklahoma. Being a real cowboy, he had a white horse. And being a real cowboy, that white horse was his first love.

Lady was her name. She was already old when I first saw her as a boy. Already out to pasture. But I remember how she stood out amongst all the other horses, how you could easily spot her out in the field, still proud, still a cowboy’s horse.

Uncle Paul made me proud to be a Rohr. I had an uncle who had been a cowboy. I would come back to the dirty streets of Los Angeles after a beautiful Ohio summer believing that to be a Rohr, to have a Dad who was the strongest man in the world, to have 10 incredible uncles and aunts, to be one of 61 grandchildren, and to have an uncle who was a cowboy, was…well what else could a boy ask for.

This was the best life, the best fortune that anyone could ever dream of. I was a Rohr. I am a Rohr. And so are you cousins. You got royalty in your blood cause you too had an uncle who was a cowboy.

So Uncle Paul, saddle up your white Lady once more, and ride her into heaven. And when you get there, say hi to Uncle Ernie, Uncle Frankie, and Uncle Elmer, and of course Grandpa and Grandma. Tell ‘em we won’t be long. Tell ‘em that with their prayers we’ll all make it to that one last Rohr reunion, to that one big “cattle call” in the sky. And, oh yah, when I get there can I have a ride on Lady?

Good-bye, Unc. Thanks for the opportunity to grow up in the shadow of your woods, in the wide-open spaces of your fields, and atop those great machines they called John Deere. And lastly, thanks for those encouraging words that made me famous back when I only knew 3 chords: “C’mon, Tim, play Dead Skunk one more time for us, will ya?” You got it, Unc. You got it.

- By his nephew, Timothy J. Rohr and read at his memorial service, December 18, 2004 by my sister, Michelle Rohr Gerber

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