Why Wait?

We often only write/tell about people after they are gone. A few months ago I wrote about my Uncle Harvey after he passed away.

I want to write about my Uncle Robert. He is the oldest of my mother’s siblings and Uncle Harvey’s big brother. Today is his 88th birthday.

I don’t know if Uncle Robert was born in a hospital, in someone’s house or found under a rock, but I do know that it was in 1934 in northeastern New Mexico. I also know that his parents moved to southern Colorado pretty soon after that and lived in a rock house. I also know that he missed his younger sister, my Aunt Eleanor, so much during his first year of school at the Troy school, that he just decided to take 1st grade again so he could be in school with her.

After his graduation from high school he studied at Trinidad State Junior College and served his country in the United States Army during the Korean War. After that, he came home and started ranching. He married Aunt Barbara and they had 5 children – my cousins and some of my first friends.

This post isn’t going to be his biography. Heck, it’s just going to be some memories I have of this kind man. Robert is perhaps the kindest man I know. He rarely raised his voice, even when us kids were acting up and maybe needed to a bit of a butt chewing. He’s a helluva cowboy. He cautiously brought in some crossbreeding to improve his herd. He is a good farmer and used to raise wheat over in Plum Valley.

Working cows with Uncle Robert was always calm and quiet. He was the first person to trust ME to castrate his calves (something that Terry Howe always did). Now that’s his job and I guarantee you that no one can sharpen a knife better than him. He can build a corral that will hold even the wildest cow or horse, can feed cows in good or bad weather and is the only man I know who laughed and joked while in the hospital for a pretty major heart issue. I remember being just amazed watching him burn cactus to feed in the winter. There was never any job too low, too high, too disgusting or odd for Uncle Robert to take on. His life is proof that there is “dignity in labor,” just as the FFA tells us in that good old FFA Creed.

Uncle Robert loves his family. I’m sure, if he could, all of his kids, grandkids and great grandkids would live in that big old house he built. He heats and cools his house using a heat exchanger and is still pretty good at gathering the eggs.

We shouldn’t wait to tell people how much we admire them. Uncle Robert is one of the kindest and most solid people I’ve ever been blessed to meet.

Happy Birthday to Uncle Robert Shannon. You’re quite a man!

Robert Shannon, Eleanor Foley, Celee Manning, Mary Mayfield, Harvey Shannon. Five of the best you will ever meet.

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