Pops turned 60 on Tuesday.
A few weeks ago we had a big birthday party for him, complete with noodle salads and dessert, music on the porch, BYOB and a big board of embarrassing photos his sister drug out of the archives and presented.
My Aunt K. is the family historian. And now that she’s newly retired, she has the time to dedicated to embarrassing her brother just like in the olden days.
Anyway, this week his brother is up from Texas and they are fixing fences, riding through cows and catching up.
I love it when family comes to the ranch. I especially love it when we’re around the supper table or chatting over drinks on the deck and old stories come up about the time when they were kids and their dad had a load of bulls on the truck in a cattle rack and forgot to latch the dump chain, successfully delivering the entire load of Charolais bulls on their butts in the yard.
“It was a pile of white bovine flesh,”* said Uncle W.
“And dad got out of the truck and started swearing and kicking at the chickens,” said Pops.
“And mom probly saw the whole thing from the kitchen window, but there was a back door on that house and she probly hightailed it outside to the garden…”
And there’s a million more where that came from.
But here’s one that Aunt K. told the night of the party about my dad as a little boy. I can’t remember how old now, but I imagine him seven or so, brown hair, brown skin, chubby cheeks and husky jeans.
He was riding in the car on the highway with his dad and spotted a road kill raccoon likely on its way to resembling a furry pancake due to its high traffic position on the road.
And he made his dad pull over so that the little seven-year-old version of my dad could scoop up that poor flattened soul and put it in a plastic bag.
“I know that animals get hit out here,” he explained to his father. “But it just isn’t right to let people keep running over him like that.”
And so his dad drove the tiny savior and the poor varmint his son scraped up back to the ranch where he received a proper burial.
And if that story doesn’t sum up what type of man he is, well then, I don’t know what else to tell you about the guy.
Except happy 60th dad. We love you.
*the Bulls were fine :)