A Tip of the Hat

When I think up things to write about here…
I focus on our ranch activities…
my dogs…
scenery…
wildlife…
and Wyoming.
But I can’t seem to let this one subject go simply because it doesn’t fall into any of those categories.
My father’s 80th birthday would have been yesterday…
Except he’s been gone from this earth since he was only 52…
a number I’m headed for in another 13 months…
I just want to acknowledge him…
for he taught me many things that carry through to those other categories…
I didn’t grow up on a ranch…
My dad worked for Conoco and Rainbow Resources as a geological draftsman…
We lived many places…
but Casper, Wyoming was “home”…
though the relatives were all in Oklahoma!
Here he taught me to hunt and fish…
camp…
change a flat…
tile a bathroom…
build with wood…
(though he declared power tools off limits – he said he wanted me married off with all my fingers…)
garden…
mow and fertilize the lawn…
how to help him work (“If you’re not one step ahead of me… you’re not helping”)…
and to try new things if given the opportunity.
All of which has stood me in good stead in my ranching life.
He taught me how to love dogs…
we had a few…
and he wanted at one point to raise his loved bird dogs, English Pointers, but thought Wyoming was too cold for them.
I still can hear him talking to them low and quiet… “Dead bird… get the dead bird…”
Daddy loved being outdoors…
and remembered to take in the scenery…
dabbling at painting…
telling stories…
quick to point out unique points of interest…
the geology…
the biology…
the history.
He would teach me the intricacies of nature…
how to track a wounded deer…
how to notice porcupine sign…
or elk…
or bear…
He was the first to point out the good attributes of the new places we’d moved…
where I’d linger on the memories of the places we’d left behind…
“There’s good and bad everywhere you live… You just need to focus on the good.”
He taught me to work for what I wanted…
which…
for many years in my life…
was usually Girl Scout camp.
I’d raise the money to go by mowing lawns or babysitting…
show it to him…
and then he’d pay for it…
allowing me to keep my earnings.
He taught me independence.
He taught me about cancer…
and bravery in face of death.
He taught me that his true love was my mother…
and that she came first in his life…
as it should be.
He gave me many bricks for the foundation of my life…
this life on this ranch that I share with you…
and so…
I felt I needed to tip my hat to the man…
who gave me away to my husband…
but never lived long enough to see his grandchildren grow up to hunt and fish…
camp…
lay tile and build things…
change tractor tire flats…
love the countryside and dogs…
and be independent…
Happy Birthday, Daddy…
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PUPPY PHOTO OF THE DAY – Victoria snuggles Toffee during today’s snowstorm…
FSNOW
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