Happy Birthday Dad
July 25, 2011, 6:53 am
Filed under: July 2011
A man who loved horses

July 25, 2011

     Today was my dad’s birthday. He no longer walks this Earth, but rather rests in my horse pasture. I am pleased to have him nearby, but do miss him still. Happy birthday dad.
     My dad was a guy who liked everyone. I don’t remember him having a cross word for anyone. He seemed to always give everyone a break. If he was treated badly, he would blame it on the persons problems in life. It was never personal to dad.
      I suppose there were folks he just avoided, but I can’t remember even one confrontation, except for a run in with my grandpa over a problem he and mom had. I guess it all worked out, but mom and dad did divorce when I was about five years old.
     My dad loved horses , mules, ponies and women. He was a likeable cuss with a nice smile, shining blue eyes and black wavy hair. He wore his hair in a style unique to him. It had a sort of superman curl in the front, but piled on his head. He wore it that way all the days of his life.
     He was a cowboy who dressed the part. His cowboy boots and western shirt were just part of who he was. He could rope with a lasso too. My aunt and I would run and he would try to rope us. He didn’t always catch us but when he did, he’d smile and laugh and get us to run again.
     Dad loved old pick-up trucks, antique tractors and all things about farming. He liked to sing, watch people and tell corny jokes. He liked children, not just his own , but kids in general. He was a school bus driver, school janitor and friend to many.
     My dad was an auctioneer. He would rattle and banter at the drop of a hat. He practiced in the car, while he was shaving or anytime I asked him to do it. Dad liked western movies and books and even moved to the southwest United States later in his life. He was a cowboy until the day he died.
     I remember following him one time to my grandpa’s woodpile. I was jumping into his boot prints in the snow. I said, “Look dad, I’m following in your footsteps.” Dad looked back and said , “I hope you don’t.” I asked him what he meant by that.. He said, ” Son, I have been married three times, worked lots of jobs with no career and I am broke. I hope you don’t follow in my footsteps.”
     I have thought of his advice many times in my life. It hit home when my first wife and I divorced. It smacked me in the face when a business that I built all my dreams around failed and I stood penniless without a plan. I remembered his easy-going nature, as I sorted my life out and I blamed no one but myself.
     The last few years of my father’s life were cut short by Alzheimer’s disease. He could remember many things about his youth, but nothing current. The disease stripped him of his personality, his dignity and his independence. It actually killed him. He got pneumonia from forgetting how to swallow and died from it.
     Today I will enjoy a cup of black coffee as I visit with an old cowboy. We will share a minute and talk horses, farming and life. I will thank him for his advice, his love for me and for helping to make me who I am.
     Happy Birthday Dad


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