Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Sunday, 13 November 2011

My Heros haven't all been Cowboys

Nope, the hero's in my life have run the gamut from cowboys( Had a huge crush on Cody Snyder ,one of Canada's best Bull riders when I was about 14. Never met the man , but when has that ever stopped a teenage crush? )

To Cowgirls (to many to name , but Oh how I wanted to be just like them) to many other walks of life .

 You have all come to know by know ,just how incredibly proud I am of my family, each of them , my folks , my grandparents, uncles and Aunts have taught me something , and showed me a life worth living.

But this hero is a little different , he was a man I met when I first moved out this way . Quite elderly when we met , I have no idea how to spell his name  Heine(sounds like Hiney) Henkel. He was a local horse dealer, but a very special one .

He was honest as the day is long, and seemed to buy and sell horses more as a hobby than for profit . When I first met him I was a little taken aback. He lived in a ratty old trailer  at the entrance to town  with a broken down house on the place and a barn .Inside the trailer , he would sit at the table , which was covered in papers and books . Always cleared a space for you and offered you a cup of tea. Now Hiene's tea was an experience! You needed to time your visit just right . I swear he boiled the kettle first thing in the morning and poured water over about 5 tea bags, then topped it up with water the rest of the day .So if you showed up to early the tea would curl your hair, too late in the day,it was colored water! Right around 11:00 am  ish was darn near drinkable!

I bought a couple horses from Heine over the years , most memorable being Miami Mouse  a Sweet Little red roan Quarter horse , with some great training and some darn slick reining moves! I paid $600 for her which I came to find later was 50 less than he had bought her for. I was quite young , and I recall him saying ," now dear, that's quite a bit of money ,why don't you pay half now and half in a month" Well things happened , and I didn't get back to him for nearly 3 months , I rushed over ,so upset and embarrassed , and he just smiled , ands said "that's fine , are you sure you don't need longer to pay?" I should mention anther thing that  makes Mouse a memorable horse is she is the dam of my very own Johnnie Handsome !

Over the year he would ask me from time to time to haul a horse for him . Usually not far, maybe 30 min drive or so . When he asked what I would charge I said , $20.00 . Well on those trips , he would point out parcels of land that were right around town , that he used to own . I stopped to think about this at one point , and came to realise this man had owned most of what was now Onoway township , and a great deal more !On another trip , for $20 we went east of Edmonton  close to Elk Island park! (for those who don't know the area , about 2 hours one way) he also bought me lunch at a diner that can best be described as the original "Greasy Spoon " I guess I should have charged him more ,for that trip, but he was such a sweet old man I didn't have the heart or the nerve .

Finally someone from town asked me who I had been hauling for. When I told them , they laughed and said $20 a trip??That old man is a millionaire!!! They told me quite a bit about him, and the fact that he was also a WWII veteran and a decorated soldier at that! . He never talked to me about his military years, and I never asked ,I can't tell you exactly why ,just that is seemed very private to him . He lived very simply , and as I said  he got his moneys worth out of a tea bag so...

Shortly after I was "blessed" with all this info  , he called again and asked me to haul a horse for him . Guess what I charged that time ???
Yup $20 . Same as always .

He passed away many years ago , and there was a huge write up about himin the paper , yes he was all of the things I had been told about him, but what they didn't say or didn't know is he was a wonderful kind old man with a heart as big as the sun. and he was my friend .
Nope not a cowboy but a hero all the same


Christmas-etc... said...

This is just lovely! I enjoyed every word! Thanks so much for sharing the true story of a man of real dignity! (And you too... for not charging him more for the trip!)

sally said...

What a great post and your friend sounds like a man worth taking the time to know. I think it is fantastic that you got the dam of your beautiful boy from him ....we are all richer people for knowing and befriending such people.

RoeH said...

Life is worth it sometimes when we happen to meet somebody like that. I wouldn't have cared about the $20 either. All those stories he told you were worth way more than that.

phaedra96 said...

Those are the ones you want to model your life upon. The best accolade for man or beast is you will miss them when they are gone.

Shirley said...

A prime example of not judging a book by it's cover. You got to know the real man and he sounds like a treasure.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

I love people like that man. They are so rare and such a treasure. I'd say he had a soft spot for you as well. ;-)

IanH said...

Great story. It just goes to show that we should not judge a book by its cover!

Nicole said...

I love men like that, and truthfully, sometimes they get to be millionaires by pinching pennies!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Sometimes people like that just give you the sense of having forgotten far more than we will ever know. They just exude wisdom beyond measure and the time we have to learn from them is never enough. Sounds like a great man.

I have met a few people like your friend and I still stop to think back of some of the things I could have learned had I known better at the time.

Janice said...

He sounds like a very special person.I enjoyed the story. Ijust got caught up with you. I also enjoyed the honorable mentions and the cats that look like maybe they hoped the snow would go....cute.

Linda said...

What a great post.....I'd like to think we all have a Heine HInkle somewhere in our lives....mine was called Ray;)

Crystal said...

He sounds like an awesome man, I like spending time with people like that, who think time is more important than money.

Love the story on Chile Poivre too, sounds like he was nice, I remember you mentioning him a few times, but never realized how special he was.