This is me and my Uncle Lentry at my cousin Amy's wedding. I had completely forgotten this day was also his 50th birthday until I overheard my cousin Daniel tell him he would spank him and if he lost count he'd just start all over again. Then it hit me. Lentry is 50 years old today. It's so hard for me to believe. Lentry is my mom's little brother. I can't ever remember him not being around. Mom used to tell me how he would have to come visit her and sit on her lap after mom and dad got married and moved into their own place. I guess when I came along that changed. Lentry used to have to walk me home from school. His long old legs took huge long steps to my little short ones in the first grade. Feeling as though I was running and could never keep up as I walked to grandma's house with him after school. I'm sure he hated escorting me home. Lentry is about 6'4". I wasn't even close.
I can remember him eating hot dogs and rocking back and forth sitting on the couch while he scarfed them down. Grandma would scream at him, "Lentry Ray you are gonna choke to death if you don't sit still." He'd just grin that silly grin and keep eating hot dogs. Grandma was pretty short and attempted to scare him to death to get him to do something he was suppose to do. Such as mow the grass. She threatened one day that even though she was much smaller than him, he still needed to know she would tie him to the tree out front to beat his ass if she needed to. She didn't crack a smile during this violent threat. I pictured this whole setting while Lentry grinned that silly grin eating his after school snack. All of these antics took place while Grandma Mildred watched the Cardinals, the Royals or Gunsmoke on the television.
As I grew older Lentry versed me a little in basketball. The one thing for which he had a passion. He showed me how he could palm a basketball. When I was in the 8th grade I practiced until I got it right. One thing that I could do that Uncle Lentry couldn't was palm a basketball with both hands. I delighted in that respect of doing something he couldn't. But I'm sure it was something he told all of his friends about. Every once in a while he will remember to ask me if I can still do that. I haven't tried for a few years, I may just have to in honor of him turning the Big 5-0. (Keep in mind this was before there were women's regulation size basketballs. I must be old, this was when we all used the same size ball. Whatever happened to that?)
Uncle Lentry fished, hunted, and played sports with another cousin of mine. I can remember him taking walks on the railroad tracks to the ole reservoir to fish. Sometimes he came back empty handed, sometimes not. He was a fixture in my life. Jokester and all.
Uncle Lentry eventually met a girl and fell in love. He got married and I got to be a candlelighter in his wedding. Later he and his wife Wanda had 2 boys of their own. Michael and Matthew. If they are half as great as their dad, they must be pretty darn good!
Happy 50th Birthday Uncle Lentry! I love you!!