Growing up, I was a Daddy’s Girl. I followed him around like a puppy, and he taught me to shoot and fish and build and shovel and repair. Unknowingly, he prepared me for this ranchlife, having the skills to learn and to try and to be confident.
When I was a senior in high school, while other kids were hating their parents and rebelling, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Much of my senior year I was alone in our house, mowing the lawn, doing my homework. My parents came home for my graduation and left the next day for more treatments.
He won the battle for a few years, and managed to give me away at my wedding, but nine months after I was married, he died. Oh, my heart was broken. I missed him badly. I asked his friends to write down some stories about him so that my future kids could learn about their grandfather.
The story that I remember the most was the one my mom wrote about Valentine’s Day. I have to paraphrase since I can’t put my hands on the stories right now.
It had a been a typical Wyoming winter, snowstorm after snowstorm and the hilly streets of Casper, Wyoming were difficult for my mom to navigate in her car. She worked at Casper College and that last pull up the hill had become treacherous. She had repeatedly asked for new tires but for some reason, Daddy put her off. Exasperated, she gave up asking. On Valentine’s Day, my dad came in the house, grabbing my mom’s hands and pulling her toward the garage. Laughter danced in his eyes as he proudly showed her the romantic presents he had bought. There sat her car with four brand new tires! My dad couldn’t be happy with just that… he had painted red hearts on all four tires! Now I don’t know what marker or paint he used, but my mom swore those red hearts took forever to wear off of her tires! Although throughout their years together, he did give her flowers and chocolates, it was the times that he gave her “unique“ presents that she remembered the most…
I hope Valentine’s Day was good for you, and if not, that at least you own the memory of a good one.