RIP Paul Hendel

Paul Hendel Cowboy Poet
Paul Hendel’s Cowboy Blessing


My pal Paul Hendel passed away on February 12, 2008. When the phone rang at 9:17pm I knew it wasn’t a good call.

Madelon, Paul’s wife called to tell me the news. I’ve known the two since we met in 1988 or 1989. At the time they lived in Lake Arrowhead and after they left, we remained in contact.

Paul Hendel was a musician, singer, and songwriter who appeared at many cowboy music and poetry festivals including the Big Bear Cowboy Gathering. In fact, I usually got a call sometime before the event from Madelon asking me to keep him out of trouble–which I never had to do since the late nights and early mornings were spent with cowboy poets and artisans–good music, good people, and good times…

I have to say, losing another friend sucks. However, I do have a couple of Paul’s CDs and hearing his voice is at least a little comforting. Also, he was having a blast singing and doing his Western music–which is something people dream about but never do. Guess that was his ultimate blessing.

We met because of the animals. Our dogs were “cousins” and after they moved to the beach, my dog and I used to travel over to visit “cousin Oso.” Oso was a mountain stray–and a delinquent–but the two were really, really close. Oso’s roomie, Honey Bear was a master manipulator but the trio were good pals.

Anyway, the long drive to “The Shores” would take us into a ritual…

Mass chaos upon entry. Dogs barking in excitement, jumping (when they knew better), laughter, more chaos…finally a few hugs and greetings.

Then, if it was early enough, Paul and I would head out to the beach and take the three dogs. Madelon usually was busy so we would grab the poop bags, wear our worst duds and spend time talking about life, watching the dogs, and looking for sea glass. Paul had a sea glass collection that kept growing and that he kept on the bar in his first music room in that house.

Once back, we would head into his music room and toss back down a few belts of Jack Daniels. Soon, Paul would pick up the guitar and start singing.

Eventually, it was time to order the traditional pizza–thin crust, plain.

What I remember most about Paul was his humor and good nature. Madelon said he used to be a bad boy–party animal is more like it. Over the time I have known them, life has had its twists and turns for each of us. I am truly saddened that the world has lost Paul so early.

Paul grew up around the movie studios and adorning his walls were many pictures of him with famous actresses and celebrities. He was a member of The California Ole Time Fiddlers and active in the Southern California Branch of the Western Music.

In addition to performing at live venues, Paul had performed on Murder She Wrote, been a regular performer on the regional television show, Country Review, appeared (with his buddy Michael) in the video Ladies Night Out, and has radio commercials to his credit.

His song writing ability has been showcased in movies and television programs such as The Howard Cosell Story, and on ESPN events. Country-recording star John Schneider’s popular performance song, Lincoln County Queen was written by Paul, and was on John’s first country album on CBS records. Credited with co-writing the opening theme song in the movie, The Painted Forest starring William Sanderson (Deadwood Series), Paul also sang two of the songs in this movie.

You can find Paul’s CD Woman of the Wind at CD Baby. I have another called, Wayward Wind but don’t believe it is available now.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 14th, 2008 and is filed under Mountain Lake Resort.

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