Uncle Henry
              October 27 1924-November 5 2006
 
 

      In Dragons of Histh Book 3 is a character called
Joe Hartmann.Though the character has a little of me
and a little of Uncle Joe,he was mainly meant to be Uncle
Henry.

      In the story Histh is feeling awfully lonely and depressed.
Her dragons sense that and set off a chain of events that bring
a human named Joe Hartmann and the Mousetrap Goddess
together in a farm field.

      The meeting is anything but cordial,and Histh decides
to drag the unwilling human into her family of dragons.
However Joe Hartmann was a heavy smoker,which caused
him to come out of the process a weaker sicker dragon than
normal.This shocks Histh so much that she takes the mortal
dragon under her wing.

           Hence Joe Hartmann gets to see the world as few other
humans and dragons can.Histh now has a companion she can
confide in.

            In the Black Velvet story "Blacks Worm" is a
character named Charlie Babbage.Mr Babbage with the aid
of Swiss women clockmakers,brings to life a gear driven mechanical
intelligence called the Babbage Experimental Sextant(Bessie)

         Bessie,Babbage and the lady clockmakers are reflections
of Uncle Henry's interest in making and repairing clocks.

            +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

         Uncle Henry was a bricklayer by trade who worked with
Opa Herman on various projects on the family farm in
Barger Oosterveld ,Drenthe,Netherlands.

        He married my dads sister in 1950.Before the main body
of our family emigrated to Canada,my dad,Uncle Herman
and Uncle Henry went over first to set things up.

         Uncle Henry was supposed to work at one farm whilst
his two brothers in law worked for a lawyer who really wanted
to be a farmer( Raeben McCunt.

      However Uncle Henry somehow missed his stop and ended
up riding the rails to Montreal.Being new to Canada it hadn't
occurred to him that Montral was not just a suburb of Halifax.

      He finally realied the error of his ways and made his way
back from Quebec to Nova Scotia.

       He quickly left the farm where he was supposed to work
and made his way to RaeMac farm at River Hebert where
my dad and Uncle Herman were working for the lawyer farmer.

       Raeben McCunt didn't know anything about farming
and neither did Uncle Henry.My dad and his brother
Herman had been the farmhands at the family farm in
Holland.

        However Uncle Henry was shrewd and learned to
ask his two companions about farm related matters.Once
they had to deal with a old leaky field sprayer whose
leather plunger was worn out.Uncle Henry asked my
dad and Herman about the sprayer,then turned around
and told Raeben how the sprayer needed to be fixed.
The owner was impressed with Uncle Henry's depth of
farm knowledge and took it in his head that Uncle Henry
was the expert and the other two farmhands were the
bumbling yokels.

       Once the rest of the family came over they stayed in
the area for another year or two .On Sundays they'd all
go to a nearby ghost village called Minudie and picnic on
the Bay's beach.

         Uncle Henry settled in the Burlington area,where he
found work as a bricklayer and building houses.

       My earlier recollection of him comes from
when I was about 4-5 years old.His house had steep
steps leading into the basement.During one family
gettogether I went tumbling down the stairs to the
bottom.Uncle Henry was dowen there,freaked out
and worried I'd broken my neck.

       A few years later my dad and him took 3 pigs up north
in Uncle Henry's homemade trailer.The trailer got stuck
on the entrance to the rural slaughterhouse.Amongst other
things,the butcher amused us with the spectacle of having a
headless chicken run around.

      Because all three of them had come over together in 52,
my dad,Uncle Henry and Uncle Herman shared a bond they
didn't share with other family members.

         Uncle Henry was a 2 pack a day smoker and I was
largely introduced to the concept of smoking by watching
him roll his own cigarettes or buy a pack from a
dispensing machine.It was easy enough to tell when Uncle
Henry had visited,because you could smell the nicotine in
the air.

          If you look at photos of him you can see that smoking
aged him greatly.He always looked tall and gaunt,but the
smoking shrivelled him on his bones.

        Being shrewd,he knew how to make a buck.Back in
1980 we contracted him to build a lottery kiosk.He leisurely
overbuilt the thing,giving us a Fort Knox,rather than a
safety deposit box.Since he was paid by the hour the
costs quickly rose to the point where my dad had to tell
him to hurry and finish the job.

        Uncle Henry loved his dogs and in later years tended
to go for small housedogs.When he visited my mom he'd
often go to our pet dog with a treat before entering the
house.He liked my mothers homemade chicken soup and
everyonce in a while my parents would head to Burlington
with a big pot of soup for him.

        Uncle Henry had a grandfather clock he had made
himself in the basement of his house.He also liked to fix
and tinker with cuckoo clocks.

         In the end it wasn't the cigarettes that killed Uncle
Henry.About two years ago the doctors told him he had
a aneuryism that they couldn't do anything about.Sooner
or later it would kill him.

       He spent the next two years telegraphing his eventual
fate to the rest of us.When his last dog died he refused to
get another one,knowing he wouldn't be able to care for it.

     Slowly he wound down his activities and was preparing to
move into a nursing home with his wife.Just last
October 30 2006 my parents visited him with the chicken
soup and he chatted about his preparations.

        Then came November 5 and my parents phoned him
around 10:30AM.he'd just finished watching the RC mass on TV
and was awaiting the arrival of his daughter Eda at noon.My
parents finished their conversation with him around 11AM
and he sat down on a chair to await his daughters  arrival.

       She arrived at noon and found him sitting there dead
in his chair.What he had told us for two years would
kill him finally had.

        All the various members of the family gathered for
his funeral on Thursday November 9th at St Gabriels RC
Church.This was a church he had helped build 4 decades
earlier.The priest was knew to the area and really didn't
know Uncle Henry or the family he'd married into.But it was
a nice eulogy and we didn't spoil it by enlightening the Father
on some of the spicier events we could have told him about.

        Uncle Henry was laid to rest in a cemetary out in the
country north of Burlington.


 

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