Darlene Foster's Blog

My Cowboy Dad

Posted on: June 16, 2014

In honour of Father’s Day I would like to share an article I wrote as a guest blogger on Karen Sanderson’s blog two years ago.

Cowboy Wisdom, By Darlene Foster


My Dad was a cowboy. Not the Hollywood type, but a real cowboy – a man who tended cattle. A hard-working man of integrity, loyalty and determination, he almost always wore 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 have ever known.  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, “It could always be 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.

Dad and his family 1995

Dad and his family 1995

It’s been seven 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.

Happy Father’s Dad!


Mom & Dad a few years ago

Mom & Dad 

22 Responses to "My Cowboy Dad"

Aah. This warms my heart. A loving and wonderful tribute to your father. He sounds an astonishing man and father. Happy Father’s Day.

I was so fortunate to have him for a Dad. When I see my son with his children, I see who influenced him.

I’m glad you re-blogged this because it was posted before you and I were acquainted. You have a wonderful heritage and I know you cherish the old-time photos you have of your dad. One quote stood out from the rest: “You can learn at least one thing from everyone you meet.” I feel that way about blog posts. When I read comments on my own or other’s blogs I always learn something: a fact, an insight, or even an opposing viewpoint. Thanks, Darlene.

This is so true. I learn so much from my bogging friends. I think Dad would have liked the blogging world.

A wonderful tribute to your dad, Darlene. It sounds as though he was quite a guy! 🙂

Oh he was quite a guy and everyone who knew him loved him. He would have enjoyed your sense of humour for sure.

Looking at your family photo I think of how different the current picture would look. I think of the age the two ‘little’ girls are now.

I know and Taylor is 19 and a big man. Jesse wasn’t even born yet.Of course some people are no longer ‘in the picture’ but I always liked how proud Dad looks in that picture.

What a powerful tribute to an inspiring man. He led a fascinating life. Educating himself at age 75 is remarkable. You have a reason to be proud. Thanks for sharing this again so I could read it! 🙂

I’m glad I reran it as many of my followers weren’t with me 2 years ago. I’m pleased you liked it and now know more about the amazing man who was my Dad.

That’s a great tribute! 😀

Thanks. He was a wonderful grandfather and great grandfather. You would have loved him.

He sounds like my kind of guy! 🙂

Dear Darlene, your lovely tribute to your dad made me cry. Reading it made me wish I could write something similar. My dear old dad had many of the attributes of your dad. He spent his life working on the land, loved animals, had a wicked sense of humour and was a really good person. Dad died 28 years ago, but I still miss his wise words and comforting presence. Thank you for sharing this Darlene.

Dear Barbara, I’m glad my post hit home for you. I’m sure you think of your dear old dad all the time. We took Mom and Dad along with us to England once and Dad had a great time talking to the English farmers. We spent most of the time in Yorkshire (where hubby is from) and he felt right at home. You and I have been blessed with wonderful fathers.

I really enjoyed your wonderful tribute…….and the family photograph!
Thank you!

So pleased you liked it.

It sounds like you had a wonderful father. He reminds me of my father who retired at 40 and became a rancher.

How cool is that! My Dad ranched until he was 75. He had a short stint working in a mine (which he hated) and working at a pottery plant but farming/ranching was always in his blood.We are fortunate to have had wonderful Dads.

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