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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62 Responses to When Your Dad’s A Cowboy

  1. dallas2211 says:

    I didn’t grow up on ranches in Wyoming but in Oklahoma. I remember Daddy keeping us home from school to work or move cattle, telling us, “There are some things they cain’t teach you in school.”

    My dad is a real Renaissance man: a writer and artist, a musician, a cowboy. After beginning university at age 40, he became a teacher of Spanish and history. He taught us the basics of keeping a pickup running, birthing calves, and bailing/hauling hay.

    Now that I’m a teacher I’m able to share with urban Oklahoma students stories of an age that’s sadly gone by.

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Gay milne says:

    Great reading I can hear him saying these things however happy birthday Jim hope you have a great day and many more

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