When Father's Day comes around each year, I miss my dad. He died of a heart attack while scuba diving in the Bahamas in 1989. He was 61. I was 31.
I really needed my dad then, and I still do now. He is buried next to my mother in a little country cemetery near where our family ranch was. I don't get to that place very often in person, but I go there often in my mind.
With the protection, guidance, love and support of my father, it was on the ranch that I learned the meaning and necessity of hard work. It was there I learned how to care for cattle, how to rope and brand and inoculate them. I have my dad to thank for planting a deep love for horses in my heart when I was a boy, a love I've never lost, something that still enriches my life everyday.
It was there, 12 miles from the nearest town, I learned that home was the best place on earth, that you didn't need to watch television everyday (our TV reception was lousy and I am grateful for that), and that life was more fun after you get your chores and work done.
For all this, I am grateful to my dad, because, without him, none of it would have happened.
I thank my father for his example. He rarely raised his voice or lost his temper or spoke ill of others. He was a man of his word, a successful businessman and rancher, and he knew how to turn a nickel into a dime in short order. I love him and admire him, and will never forget him, and though it's been 20 years since I've last seen him, he has never left my mind and heart.
God bless you, Dad, and Happy Father's Day.
And, hey, if you have any pull on the other side, I could still use your help!