When Your Dad’s A Cowboy

When your Dad’s a cowboy you grow up a little bit differently than most kids.  He doesn’t take you to football games, teach you the rules to real baseball or show you how to wash a car.  He would not even consider taking you tubing on the lake. He doesn’t wear tennis shoes, baseball caps or ties.  And when he visits you in the big city he sticks out like a sore thumb.

What you get instead is someone who teaches you how to ride a horse, rope a calf and fix fence.  You learn the rules to Cowboy baseball, which is an odd combination of baseball, dodgeball and football and the rules are a little different every time you play.  It’s more exciting than real baseball but also has a much higher incidence of injuries and doesn’t translate well to the school playground…..

You learn that a pickup or car is made to drive and as long as a few (a lot of) dents and some (a lot of) mud don’t interfere with it’s ability to run they are easily overlooked.  This attitude comes in quite handy when you accidentally back into the loading chute.  You also learn that you should always check the oil and that “it’s just as easy to keep the top half of the tank full as the bottom.”

You don’t hear stories about his exploits on the high school football field or basketball court but instead you hear about his days running wild horses in the red desert, moving cattle through blizzards and roping antelope just to see if he could.

You don’t get to take vacations that last more than 72 hours and he only stops to gas the car, no sight seeing.  But you do get to spend more time with him than most kids get to spend with their dads.  You just get to do it while moving cattle, feeding hay and digging post holes.

He says things like:

“I know your sick but get up and go outside, people die in bed!  You’ll feel better if you quit breathing your own air.”

“It’s just part of it” – This is his response to most any complaint regarding being hot, cold, tired or hungry.

“You’ll be going down the road singing who’d a thought it” – This means whatever you were just thinking about doing, you’d better not do it.

“Waja waja?” – loosely translated means, I’m sorry I didn’t hear you could you please repeat that?

“Let’s rock and roll” – means if your not in the pickup in 30 seconds he will leave you behind.

“Whatever you do don’t ever cross the Mississippi.  Nothing good ever happens east of the Mississippi and for that matter there really is no reason to ever leave the state of Wyoming, there’s just no need for it.”

He does things that can be challenging like changing the plan for the day and expecting everyone to automatically know that it has changed.  Or when he says that breakfast is at 6:00 am sharp and we leave at 6:30 am sharp and when you show up for breakfast at 5:45 am sharp he says “I’m done eating we leave in 10 minutes.”

But you always know that he’ll be there when you need him.  And even though there are days he makes you crazy, you still wouldn’t trade him for any other dad in the world.

A few months ago we thought he’d lose his hand and then we thought we might lose him.  Lucky for us he lived up to his reputation as being a tough, stubborn son of a….. gun.  We’re happy to have him still here with us in one piece and back to rockin’ and rolling.

Happy Birthday Dad!

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59 Responses to When Your Dad’s A Cowboy

  1. Donna Eszlinger says:

    what a tribute to any rancher,, yes, pretty much tells it all, exactly how it is..

  2. Elizabeth Fisher says:

    yup my dad was a cowboy too. Did all that too.

  3. Judy Lanka says:

    Describes my husband almost to a tee; and we have four kids in sound marriages, two of them ranchers, 14 grandkids — almost all married, and soon-to-be 25 great grands. No where better to raise a kid than on the ranch!

  4. Cayde O'Brien says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Wish we had about a million+ more like him running our government.

  5. maggienutter says:

    “Well, ya might be bleedin’ but its far from your heart.” “Sit on the calf. She won’t take ya, Cow won’t hurt her own calf.” “What were you thinkin’?”

  6. Sue Chaulk says:

    Once I wouldn’t eat spinach. He said try it you might like it. I did. He was my greatest supporter even though his own dad wasn’t any support to him. He expected me to try and I did. Trying meant I accomplished many challenges I thought I could not do. He’s been gone 26 years and I miss him everyday.

  7. Joseph Botts says:

    This is so true! – I really didn’t know how lucky I was to have a Dad like that, and there were times you could NOT have convinced me that I was! But the years have taught me that I was one of the very fortunate sons of a Rancher, and I wish I would have appreciated it more at the time.

  8. Lois Herbst says:

    Matches the cowboy father/boss/husband in this family.

  9. Lee Sultemeier says:

    My Dad to a T with a few minor changes of location. “Ya got beans in your belly and a roof over head. ” and ” we’re waistin’ daylight”. My husband of 47 years also fits this. Beautiful.

  10. Donna Hill says:

    I was raised working beside my Dad. That’s how I wanted it! I worked along side the ranch hands! Wouldn’t change a thing! Miss you Dad!

  11. A Knight-Errant says:

    Reblogged this on A Knight-Errant.

  12. I like the Dad who teaches you Spirituality. Whether Cowboy (my Dad and Uncle were) or not. Had to learn that though my Step Mom who was Catholic in upbringing, but who knew who God was as an integral part of our lives. I finally learned that long after my BFF was gone and now I have Him as my BFF. I have relayed Her knowledge to my children in the hopes they learn what is most important in this life we live. Sooner than later as I did. ❤

  13. Gail says:

    If I didn’t know better, I would have thought this was written about my late Father. A true Aussie Cowboy ’til the day he died. I had the most unique upbringing with him as a Drover (Trail Boss)in the 1950’s. How times have changed.

  14. Richard Van Scoyk says:

    “Take the pitch fork.” meant clean the tumble weeds out of that fence, so in a few days you can clean out the fence down wind. Pitchin’ weeds Is cheaper than re-builin’ fence..

  15. Paula says:

    My dad was a rancher in Florida , so we grew up doing some of the same things. Only he had different standards, I was a girl, so I didn’t get to do all the things the boys did ! He has been in heaven for over 20 years and I miss him daily. Wish he could see his great grandchildren riding their horses !!

  16. Kateri G says:

    Beautiful and so true for many ranchers/cowboys. Two years ago, my father passed sudden. This reminded me of him and I wanted to Thank you for sharing! ❤

  17. Nancy Nalder says:

    I married a cowboy. Our first day on the farm was moving pipe with mosquitoes buzzing. He had me on a horse and we went to Yellowstone Bechler area and rode across rivers. My horse was swimming as I rode. I the horse was our wedding gift from his Dad.

  18. Nik says:

    “When you work, use both hands.” “I don’t want to see anything but ass and elbows.”

  19. larry hughes says:

    “can’t never done nothing”

  20. Kathlene Bradford says:

    Remember, when you grow up…the BEST gift any man can give his children is to love their mother. No other gift matters.

    • Donna Eszlinger says:

      So very true, Kathlene,, live by setting an example for your children, so they grow up being respected and admired as their father was

  21. Ryan, This is terrific!

  22. Marsha Rogers says:

    My fave “Get a move on it girl, we’re burnin daylight”!!!!!

  23. Vic says:

    Better keep up daylights burnin! Here’s to you all the cowboy dad’s!! Mine was too and so was his!!
    Lovin on this post.

  24. Yes Jacinta, your Grandpa Finneman would of loved to stay on the ranch, But we had to move because there wasn’t A school near bye, He loved horses and I think your Dad does too, Love gram

  25. Candy baker says:

    Wow it’s amazing how being raise on a ranch and with a cowboy for a dad how you can relate to almost every thing! That last part I can’t as I lost my dad 9 years ago! But still remember and think of him every day! So do enjoy those cowboy dads as they are awesome!!

  26. Nancy L. Burns Donald says:

    Yup! Had a Dad like that too and I sure was proud of him and glad he chose ranching and farming than anything in the world!

  27. Art Williams says:

    Art Williams says: After 40 years away from the ranch, why do I still wake up at 5:00 a.m?

  28. Donna Pope says:

    My step father was “my real father”, he did all these things and more. Thank God for cowboys. Miss him! Today people are amazed that I plan something and have the “grit” to carry it out; all because of his influence! I never shed a tear or missed my birth father, (he never was a father or a cowboy.

  29. Helen Morton Voyles says:

    My Dad was a true cowboy and I miss him every day!!

  30. Quentin Names says:

    Good on ya

  31. Jon says:

    Great story. Have to admit my eyes leaked a bit.

  32. Kyra Hooser says:

    My dad, Alton Kelley, & my husband Jimmy Hooser, mirrored this lifestyle. Both men are admired and have set great examples for others hopefully to follow. Integrity, honesty, generousity to those in need, morals & God fearing ,come to mind when describing these men.

  33. dailywriter says:

    Thanks..touched a chord with me. Rip dad…

  34. Kristi tubbs says:

    When complaining about my chapped lips, dad told me to “rub some cow manure on them….won’t heal them but you won’t lick them anymore”!Love my cowboy dad!!!!

    • Donna Eszlinger says:

      love that reply, and reminds me of my father in law,, he had a way with words,, that brought a smile to my face..

  35. Visser says:

    I realy wish my dad was a cowboy. I am one in my hart. It stops when i become farrier.thanks for sharing your story….Afz fred


    “Head ‘Em Up and Move Them Out”
    At 6:00am – “Y’all planning on sleeping all day?”
    But In Retrospect there’s nothing like growing up at the ranch, wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world! The respect you hold for life, the morals and the attitude are priceless!

    • Sarah says:

      Love this, sounds just like my dad. He also would say “Get out of bed and on your feet, off your butt and in the heat”.

  37. carol wilson says:

    Love this!! I could have written it myself. Miss my Dad….and Mom……….

  38. Bill says:

    Describes my Dad to a T.

  39. Dawn MacTaggart says:

    My father was a cowboy and there isn’t much difference in what he said than these comments…except Dad didn’t talk a great deal. He was the gentlest, kindest, sweetest and handsomest man that ever walked the earth. Yes, I miss him every day and he’s been gone 28 years. Now he has been joined by his oldest son. I shall miss both of them the rest of my life. 2 of the finest men ever!!!

  40. Anita says:

    I come from a long line of Kansas cowboys. “Don’t turn your horse’s ass to a cow” was something we all learned fast! Dad didn’t teach me how to rope but he treated me pretty much like he did my brothers. I never have been very girly but I guess I turned out O.K. I married a cowboy too and have been married 40 years. Our grandsons are growing up on a horse. Long live cowboys!

  41. They sure had no idea of what was politically correct and that was great. It was what was true and good that counted and the words to describe that come easy.

    • Evajean Chase says:

      They don’t pay “no mind” to what is politically correct, just what is right and true. They’re not afraid to speak their mind. My husband of 50+ years is my cowboy. We raised two sons and I can hear their replies to this, even tho we lost one to cancer two years ago.

  42. that was our dad alright, alway’s there to give us advice,being dad,best friend.our family misses you dearly. picture you riding and roping in the stirrup high hayfields chasing the cattle back across the broken fenceline. happy you were our dad, hope your entries are paid for that big rodeo. bless you.

    • I don’t read poetry but I would if there was more like this! can i quote it sometime to use in one of my own poems, or maybe with one of my drawings? Y’all might just turn me into a cowboy artist. anyway, this is the life we try to make for our kids on our own little farm.

  43. Steve Potter-South Texas says:

    Happy Birthday Mr. Timmerman and Thanks for doing such a great job reering them kids. Your are what more Dads should be like!!

    • prettywork says:

      Hi Steve – just wanted to let you know that this blog post was not about Mr. Timmerman and so he probably won’t see your note. My guess is someone shared it on Facebook and you might have meant to leave the message there. Just wanted to make sure that he received your birthday wishes! I wrote the post about my Dad, Jim Price, but seems like a lot of people were lucky enough to grow up in similar fashion. Wishing you and Mr. Timmerman all the best!

  44. Maryann Gusenius says:

    We buried my husband this week, and this is so him. He was a farmer and didn’t have anything to do with horses but the rest is so him. I hope my children see and read this because they sure can relate. Thank you so very much.

  45. Levi Latta says:

    What memories this story brought back my dad grew up in Oklahoma and is a cowboy thru and thru, he also taught me many things very similar to storyline, the last two years our relationship has been stormy at best but no matter how bad it can sometimes get i will always love him and am very thankful that I grew up a cowboys son!!

  46. lapd12143 says:

    I can identify with that.

  47. zanehowe@ says:

    Sounds almost like Roger Notsch, switch out hand for leg and Wyoming for Montana and it’s ringing the church bells in Broadus…. love you always… uncle🐎

  48. My Daddy smiled a lot. When he quit smiling, we were in deep doodoo.

  49. jerry schickedanz says:

    When my Dad would say “If that don’t make me tired” you knew you were not doing something right and were probably in trouble.

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