Father's Day is set aside to honor our fathers. Whether it be, our heavenly Father or our earthly ones. I didn't get to be with my dad this year. He wasn't up to a trip here, and we were roofing. So......I have been thinking about him the last few days.
(This was taken after state high school rodeo - we would be going to Nationals in Huron, SD that year. Slim, the one dad has was well over 16 hands. Mom is by Slim. He was dad's horse, I used him for break away and poles. Connie is holding Eddie, her barrel and pole horse. I have Rocky - my palomino- he was my team roping and show horse. JD's standing by Rocky. Dad made sure we rode good horses. )
My first memories of Dad - riding with him on his big horses. He has a way with animals. His horses and dogs would do amazing things for him. When I was around 7 I broke my arm. That weekend was our first Little Britches Rodeo - (we had been in Little Buckaroo before that). I couldn't ride to practice and Dad had to go to Boise for work - I got to go with him. That day, (2 hours driving each way), is so vivid in my memory. It felt like I was the only thing on his mind. We went to Sears, he told me get whatever I wanted. I got a kind of candy, choc. covered something, the kind he liked. We ate at McDonald's, not his favorite place but he didn't care. Dad felt bad because he knew I was so excited for the new rodeo, I loved our day.
(When I flew home to get married I got to help him take the cows up to the mountains. )
The first time I remember seeing him cry was when Grampa Glen died, unexpectedly I was 9. He was very close to his dad. When my sister's barrel horse had to be put down - (another future post); he turned away when I asked if we skipped Christmas presents could they get her a new horse. When he wouldn't comprimise his moral convictions and lost the top job - he went to work at the sale barn. Work was work for him - didn't matter what it was. He went on to manage the biggest ranch in the state before he opened his own saddle shop. When my brother was being a stupid teenager, got drunk and lost - the first words my dad said to him when we found him were - "Boy, don't you know we love you? Don't scare us like this again!" They were camping and I had a rodeo one weekend, on the flatbed pickup steering wheel was a note that said, "If I am to be driven to the rodeo, I need 2 qts of oil, and check my water before you drive me home." When I decided to go to Texas - he didn't say much but held me a long time. When I brought home "the one" he didn't even hardly speak to him. When I married "the one" my dad teared up as we walked down the aisle, and he suffered through gall stones until we flew out and then had surgery. When he met his first granddaughter he lit up like a Christmas light. When he was right in the middle of spring branding and couldn't come to Oklahoma to see his first grandson arrive - he wrote a touching letter that made sure I knew how much he loved me. And when he saw that little red-headed boy - oh what a sight! He is a wonderful Grampa. When he opened his saddle shop - he amazed us with how happy it made him. His youngest grandkid was 9 when his first grandson was killed - it took part of him; he makes it a point to spend more time with the others. When his first grandchild married - he helped us with anything we needed. As his mother is getting frail, he's stepped up to be the parent. He's fighting some medical issues that we hope will soon be healed with surgery unless the good Lord heals him first. He's a loving husband, a wonderful friend, an excellent cowboy and saddle maker, a great grampa. He taught us to work hard, stand up for what we believe in, don't shirk the menial stuff, tend to your horse before you get a drink or eat, make sure the dog's fed as well, take good care of your saddle and tack, bring home the calf in the snow storm and try to save each one, .....do unto others as you would have them do unto you.......and he's the best dad in the world to me. I am very thankful to the Lord for giving me my dad.