Every Little Boy Needs A Hero

Every Little Boy Needs a Hero …

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Larry Patton- My Hero


Young people need models, not critics. -John Wooden
“As you get older it is harder to have a hero, but it is sort of necessary.” -Ernest Hemingway
“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.” -Walter M. Schirra, Sr.

My hero was my Uncle Larry Patton.

This is a photo of the biggest male influence and my hero. His name was Larry Patton and he was my Uncle. He died suddenly but peacefully at his home some time back. Those who know me and my siblings know that our home life and childhood were not ideal, but Uncle Larry to me was the shining light in my life and gave me a role model to look up to. He always had a smile and a joke and a great sense of humor.

In my youth, I would spend my summers on Uncle Larry and Grandpa (Pappy) Dale farms in Lane County Kansas. Easily my fondest memories from my childhood. Sitting here this evening a flood of memories has engulfed me.

Some of the things I remember, riding shotgun with Uncle Larry – just about everywhere. To check crops, cattle, to refuel the tractors and countless trips to Alamota and Dighton, Kansas.

Uncle Larry would let me ride with him in the tractor on hot July days with no air conditioning.

When making a visit to the grain elevator in Alamota he never even would ask he would purchase a cold Pepsi in a bottle from the soda machine and hand it to me.

Letting me drive him to get the mail at the post office in Alamota, Kansas when I was 11.

Buying me hamburgers and large limeades at the Frigid Crème in Dighton.

Giving me extra money for tickets at the Lane County Fair in Dighton.

Letting me blow up ant hills with firecrackers around the 4th July.

Taking time to help me look for arrowheads and sea shells (Yes, folks, there are seashells in Kansas) in hot dusty pastures.

The worry looks he always had during the wheat harvest as he watched the skies for storms and hail.

Letting me ride in the combines and grain trucks.

Laying down with him in a bar ditch on the side of the county road waiting for a tornado to pass – never felt safer.

His “pass the butter trick” at dinner, which always ended up with someone with melted butter greased from the palm of their hand to their elbow.

Helping me catch my first jar full of fireflies.

Helping me name my first toad I caught “Fred” and each toad after that as “Fred 2” and “Fred 3” on so on and on,

His laughter after he realized I wasn’t hurt after I was kicked in the gonads by a blind calf I had corned in the corral.

His chuckles when my cousin Rod would dump a pipe full of water on me when we were moving irrigation pipe in the corn fields (I never did learn).

How he held me when he thought I was sad.

Letting my cousins and I race the riding lawn mower and the three wheeler up and down the dirt on the road next to the farm.

When I was older and married with kids of my own on how he took my brand new 1982 Chevy Blazer and herded some cows with it in Manhattan Kansas (he had a habit of running into said cows),

How he came to South Dakota when my family and I lived there numerous times when my Mom (his sister) was stricken with dementia and how he was the rock that I needed when it was decided that it would be better to put mom into the nursing home, that the staff was better equipped to deal with her condition.

Always when I was older, he was my sounding board when things in life took a downward trend, how strong he was when my mom died, when I was not.

When I was little I always wanted to be like Uncle Larry, to look like him, have his sense of humor – He will be missed by others, I will miss him – I loved him – he was my hero….
Kurt James

Kurt James © 2016
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Kurt James

Kurt James was born and raised in the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. With family roots in western Kansas and having lived in South Dakota for 20 years Kurt naturally had become an old western and nature enthusiast. Over the years Kurt has become one of Colorado’s prominent nature photographer’s through his brand name of Midnight Wind Photography. His poetry has been featured in the Denver Post, PM Magazine and on 9NEWS in Denver, Colorado. Kurt is also a feature writer for HubPages and Creative Exiles with the article’s focused on Colorado history, ghost towns, outlaws, and poetry. Inspired at a young age by writers such as Jack London, Louis L’Amour and Max Brand have formed Kurt’s natural ability as a storyteller. Kurt has published 5 novels all based in and around the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Using the Midnight Wind Publishing brand Kurt has also released a poetry collection - Poetry and Thoughts of a Wandering Man - (Uniquely Colorado edition) and now this collection - Poetry and Reflections of a Wandering Man (Random Thoughts edition) all are available in print or download on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and other fine bookstores. And a few shady bookstores as well. Kurt is working on his 7th Colorado adventure tale novel “When the Song Vanishes”.

6 thoughts on “Every Little Boy Needs A Hero

  • November 12, 2016 at 1:31 PM
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    Kurt, from your words it is clear your Uncle Larry was a remarkable and loving man, had a bit of mischief in him, too. He gave love where it was needed and is a major part in who you are. Wonderful memories of a kind man. Thank you for sharing this, I so enjoyed reading it.

    Reply
    • November 12, 2016 at 3:21 PM
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      My only hope Phyllis is that all kids have a hero in the same mold as my Uncle Larry, be it a male or female… In my eyes he was one of a kind and I miss him so.

      Reply
  • November 12, 2016 at 2:19 PM
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    He sounded like a father, a really good one. You were very lucky to have him but I am sure he felt just as lucky to have you. There was pleasure for him as much as for you I know.

    Reply
    • November 12, 2016 at 3:22 PM
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      You have no idea Jackie how lucky I was t o have him in my life in those summers past. Thank you for dropping by and leaving your kind comment.

      Reply
  • November 15, 2016 at 8:52 PM
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    Kurt, I must tell you that every time I see your Uncle Larry’s photo come by on the slider, I feel good – it just uplifts my spirit. He had such a genuine, beautiful smile. It makes me realize why you have such loving memories of him. Thanks again for sharing those wonderful times you had with him.

    Reply
    • April 8, 2017 at 12:20 PM
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      Thank you Phyllis, he was a good man, he was my hero……

      Reply

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