Salute to JP Lewis



by Mike Capron
I first met JP at a Dance in the Cienaga School House , forty eight years ago. It was my first date with Anne. We danced a long time to the music of the Lewis Family. The school house was crowded with people and the lights were never turned off or even dimmed. I watched JP play the piano a long time. I didn’t know many people there, but every other time I met someone, it was a Lewis. I don’t know if JP would recall this first meeting, but I sure never forgot it. JP was as big as the Piano he was playing and his fingers were larger than the keys, but he never missed a beat. Lots of Lewis men and all played some kind of instrument, switching randomly. We danced, visited and soaked up the Crow Flat Christmas air.   One of the best dances Anne and I ever went to and from then until now, no telling how many JP dances we have gone to.  All were my favorites. Whooooooo..Pie !!!   Was his call for time to dance. 

JP was a roper and a good one. We all wanted to partner with him at the team roping. He didn’t miss and never felt pressure in the short round.   I had to borrow his heading horse one time as my horse got crippled. It was an unexpected accident and they were calling my name. 
 
JP was right there with his horse and he said, “Here get on mine.” 
 
 I was very thankful and somewhat shocked, a man loaning his favorite head horse on the spur of the moment. I didn’t have any time to decline, they were calling my name and he was hollering to get on and get in the box. I did and backed his horse square in the corner, but he blew out of there and tore down the barrier. I circled and re-entered the heading box. He did it again. I was really nervous about riding another man’s horse. 
JP said, “Get Ahold of Him”
I backed in again and made sure he knew I was holding the reins, but to no avail and he left there like I was a child. 
JP said,  ” Here let me on him and show you how.” 
 He did and made it look easy, but I knew there was some differences somewhere.  I just got back on and headed to the corner of the box, but as I was turning around, I called for my steer.   We weren’t late. I roped him and was glad that was my final steer for the roping. Right then was the first time I was introduced to  how strong JP was. I couldn’t hold his horse in the heading box with a big bit in his mouth. That is when I decided not to arm wrestle him. I worked with JP day working on the local ranches. I never saw him out of sorts or upset in any way.  He always rode good horses and never seemed to train on them. Cowboying was in his raising. His smile was always handy and a crew pleaser. His heart never weakened, no matter the discomforts. 
I am not sure how long he worked for the Dell Telephone Co-op., but it sure was a joy to call the repair crew and get JP, he always had a good word and knew exactly how to fix your problems .  One of the best public service companies I have ever done business with.  
Barbara (Brownfield) Wheelis said, “Never saw him in a bad mood, sweet soul just like his sweet momma. He was a huge influence in my life and I treasure those memories!!   
Rusty Fleming said,  “Here was the guy who was always the strongest, the happiest and was always the largest presence of anybody around,,,, but he’s gone,,,,,
 Rest in peace big guy, your battle is finally over,,,, your life was so very well served by all of the people you had an impact on,,,,
,,,,,,nobody ever forgot knowing  JP Lewis,,,,,,,,,
 We will all miss you,,,,,for the rest of our lives we will miss you,,,,,,,you were such a large figure in all our lives,,,,,
 Your passing has created a vacancy that will never be filled,,,,you and I made a lot of tracks that will never be blown out,,,,
 I love ya pard,,,,,open the gates for us ’cause we’ll be trailing along behind,,,,,,
 
And thank you Father God for having shared JP with all of us,,,,,Amen”
Services at 10:30 Saturday ,September  16th, 2017.  Cienega Cemetery ,Crow Flat  Texas 
Lunch at Dell Telephone Co-op. afterwards .

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