"Wherever men have lived there is a story to be told." Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Remembering Dad

From the Old Days
This time of year I find myself thinking of my dad more than usual. This was the time of year he was born, and the time of year he died. The fall was his favorite season. The crops were all in and he finally had time to do a little horseback riding.

In September we always went on roundup. The three-day roundups I remember were scaled down dramatically from the six-week-long roundups my dad had engaged in as a young man, back in the day when there were not many fences and cattle could scatter for fifty miles in nearly all directions.

He was an excellent horseman, having ridden from the time he was old enough to walk. He broke his last colt when he was in his early 70s. It wasn’t long after that, though, that he hung up his spurs, perhaps realizing he was getting too old for the game. But the itch to ride never subsided. He was 80 when we bought a little mare for our youngest daughter. Naturally we worried if the mare would be a good, reliable mount, not a spoiled knucklehead that would get our daughter hurt.

My dad came to visit one day and we were showing him the horse. He said he’d give her a “test run” to make sure she was okay. But I could see the longing in his eyes. He was itching to get on that horse and the test run was only an excuse.  He swung up on her bareback and rode her around the lawn and yard. When he brought her back and slid off, his blue eyes were sparkling. He handed the reins over with his seal of approval.

That was the last ride my dad took. Shortly after, he found out he had cancer and died four months later, sixteen years ago today. But I’ll always remember the joy he got out of being horseback again, if only for a few minutes on a kid’s old mare.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Linda, this is wonderful. I wish I could have met him.

Sherry R.

Will Edwinson said...

That was a wonderful tribute, Linda. Fall was my Dad's favorite time of year also. The crops were in, and he always said he liked Fall because it was warm enough to be warm, and cool enough to be cool.

Linda Sandifer said...

Thanks Sherry and Will. He was also a great storyteller, something I didn't mention here.

Eunice Boeve said...

Love this and would have loved your dad, I'm sure. My dad was a horse person as well. He could do anything with a horse and could not imagine life with them. He cowboyed in his earlier years, worked ranches a few years after marriage and family and then for the forest service. He packed horses to fires, lookouts, and trail crews. He died when I was five, but I do have memories of him, for which I am grateful. My younger siblings do not.

Eunice Boeve said...

I meant without horses, but I guess you figured it out. :-) He used to sing his own version of the old cowboy lament "Oh Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie" like this: "Oh bury me not on the lone prairie where some dry farmer will plant corn over me."

Linda Sandifer said...

Eunice, thanks for sharing memories of your father. He sounds very much like my dad. I'm sorry you lost him so early in life.

B.J. Anderson said...

This is a wonderful tribute. I miss him so much.