Darlene Foster's Blog

Remembering Dad

Posted on: June 17, 2013

Today is Father’s Day here in North America and I am thinking of how lucky I was to have such a great Dad. Mom sure knew how to pick ’em. I dug out a picture of Dad with me when I was a baby. We were always best buds

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Last year I was guest author on Karen Elliott’s blog. I thought I would share the story again for those of you who hadn’t read it. You might want to check out Karen’s blog as she has great posts about writing and her family.

Cowby Wisdom, by Darlene Foster

My Dad was a cowboy. Not the Hollywood type, but a real cowboy – a man who tended cattle. A hardworking man of integrity, loyalty and determination; he would always be seen in his signature cowboy hat and boots, jeans and western shirt. He lived the code of the cowboy where a man’s word was a man’s word and you never broke a promise once made. He believed you should do what has to be done without complaint, take pride in your work and always finish what you start. He was a man of principle; tough but fair. I learned so much from him.

His education included grade seven. Responsibilities on his father’s farm in the spring and fall took him out of school, which put him behind. By the time he turned fifteen he didn’t bother going back to school being so much older than the rest of the class. In spite of his limited schooling, he was the smartest man I knew. A curious man, Dad believed in continuous learning. His gift of the gab enabled him to start a conversation with almost anyone and he always came away wiser. “You can learn at least one thing from everyone you meet,” became a lesson I never forgot.

Dad read the newspapers and kept up to date on current events, but his busy schedule didn’t permit him to read much else. At age seventy-five, he finally retired and moved into the city. His love of the outdoors and fresh air, took him on walks to the local library on a regular basis. Once there, he chose about half a dozen books on a subject he had always wanted to learn more about. He took the books home, read them front to back and returned with a new subject in mind. At seventy-five he educated himself and expanded his world. I found this to be most admirable.

There wasn’t much I couldn’t discuss with him. He taught me the art of conversation, negotiation and debate; valuable lessons that have served me well over the years. He served as my confidant, financial advisor, political guru, mentor, and he was my hero. He always had time to listen to my woes and to provide encouraging words. I didn’t make many major decisions without discussing with him first. But he wouldn’t tell me what to do; he just helped me look at all sides of the situation. He encouraged me to be an independent thinker, creative problem solver and not to always look for the easy way. He claimed, “You make your own luck in this world.” I believe that to be true for the most part, but I sure was lucky to get him for a Dad. His confidence in me and my abilities enabled me to reach higher and not give up on my dreams.

Always a perfect gentleman, he could also swear a blue streak if the occasion called for it. Like the time he hit his thumb with a hammer while fixing a piece of farm machinery. He forgot I was in hearing distance.

Life wasn’t always easy for a cowboy but Dad’s amazing sense of humour and positive attitude got him through the tough times. He loved a good practical joke and April Fool’s was his favourite day. I can still see the twinkle in his eyes when he knew he got one over on us. He didn’t mind laughing at himself as well. There were many times he would tell a story and have everyone in stitches. From him, I learned the value of a good laugh and how to look on the bright side. He often said, “Others have it worse.”

A tough cowboy on the surface, he was really a big softy. Dad always found the best in everyone, was a helpful neighbour and a good friend to many. His love for his animals was evident as was his unfailing devotion to his family. A generous, loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather, he made an impact on everyone. When I see traits of him in my children and grandchildren, I am comforted knowing his legacy lives on.

It’s been six years since we lost Dad. There isn’t a day I don’t think of him, quote him or seek his advice. He was a true cowboy to the last!

Dad

22 Responses to "Remembering Dad"

Loved your tribute to your cowboy father!

Thanks Patricia. I will forever be thankful for what he taught me.

What a great story! I can identify with how smart he was – an education doesn’t bring smarts. My father-in-law was the same way. He didn’t finish high school, but he was plenty smart. I’m glad you shared and showed some photos as well.

Sounds like you had fun in Spain! I always enjoy when you share your trips.

Nancy

So pleased you enjoyed my story about my dear old Dad. Yup, an education doesn’t mean you’re smart. I’ll post more about Spain soon.

We were both so lucky in our Mother’s choices.

From what I have read about your father, it seems that both our mothers chose well!

What a beautiful tribute to your dad, Darlene! He would have been awfully proud too reading this from a loving daughter like you too, who appreciate the wisdom of a good natured man. Life teaches you far more than schools do. I take a farmer any day over an educated politician. Enjoy the memories. 🙂

Thanks for your kind words.

What a great memorial.to your dad!

Thanks! When you are growing up you don’t always agree with your parents. (that’s normal) But later you realize what a treasure they are.

A wonderful gift to your dad, who obviously loved you so much!

He did and did not hesitate to show it.

Pinned this on my Parents Speak Board. As Judith said, many of us were lucky to have the fathers we had. http://pinterest.com/pin/147141112798352870/

Thanks for pinning this Katherine!

What an absolutely wonderful post, he sounds like a dad in a million. The relationship you had with him reminds me of what I have with my own dad. It is a blessing indeed to have such a parent, and heartwarming that you can see traits of him in your own children and grandchildren. Thank you for writing such a beautiful post and for sharing a little of your lovely dad with us.

Thank you so much for your kind and heartfelt words.So pleased you enjoyed the post. It is wonderful that you are able to spend some quality time with your Dad now.

Father’s Day is perfect for remembering our wonderful dads!

Thanks Megan. It sure brings back floods of memories for me.

I think of my dad all the time. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of what his take on a particular happening would be. Often disbelief. Happy Fathers day to all the really great dads out there.

You had a great dad as well. I’m only sorry I didn’t get a chance to meet him.

I bet he had an array of hats for his various roles…perhaps a hat for dress and a hat for work?

Oh yes, he had his famous white ‘dress’ cowboy hat and several straw cowboy hats for working around the ranch. When the good hats became old, he turned them into work hats too. He didn’t spend much money on himself but he did buy good hats (and boots).

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