Thursday, October 5, 2006

Leisel's Memory of Dad

Looking back it seems like dad was often gone. Around the time I would get home from school he was often running off to play a game of racketball, and in the evenings there was often church meetings. A typical encounter could be sitting in the same room watching t.v. together without saying a word. Some of my friends thought no one should speak in his presence because something terrible might happen. When I would tell them that he wasn't scary and that I had never even seen him yell, I am pretty sure they did'nt believe me. All who know dad know that even though he is the only city boy out of his brothers, he has always maintained a bit of cowboy in him. You can take the cowboy out of the ranch but you can't take the cowboy out of the man, atleast not entirely. Cowboys for those who don't know can seem a little rough around the edges. They don't show there emotions because emotions are for the weak. They don't run there mouth just to hear themselves talk, and the certainly don't like it when they do have something to say and people don't listen. They don't have time for that because cowboys command respect, and they have more important things to do. It is not hard for them to get respect because everybody knows cowboys are cool. It goes without saying that you would naturally want to know one and listen to them even if they did'nt say much to you. The quiet confidence only adds to their mystique. As a daughter of a cowboy making his way in the city I knew my dad was vastly different from the fathers of my friends growing up. You see I don't think any of my friend's dads were cowboys. Atleast if they were I did'nt know so I always thought my dad was one of a kind. I saw other friends dads yell and get emotional. My dad never lost his cool. I remember one summer vacation in California dad took Rachel and Hayley Madsen with Ashley and I on a sail boat ride. We were haveing a great time but we'd been out long enough and it was time to come in, besides which I am sure we were getting charged by the minute. For some reason we would start to head in and then we would get pushed back out and further away.. this happened several times. Either mother nature was working against us our my dad was not a sailor. I knew this had to have been really frustrating to my dad. Finally we hollered at some guys on jet skis and they got help for us. Throughout the whole ordeal my dad kept a sence of humor and I remember being proud that my cousins got to see my dad remain calm in troubled waters. Growing up I have never doubted my dad's devotion to the gospel. Seeing my dads devotion to the church blessed my life in many ways. In the world we live in today that is a priceless thing. Monday nights became known to my friends as the night you better remember not to call around 7 0' clock unless you want to talk to Errol. Surprisingly my dad's voice on the other end of the line was quite terrifying to most. I don't know why. I think the myth that my dad was a ticking time bomb waiting to lash out on someone was all part of a skillfull craft he had honed. Even though there was no prior evidence to support the myth one did not want to be the first to find out if the myth was true. One day I decided I was going to wear a tank top and short shorts to school. I thought I looked really cute and that the tank top was'nt too skimpy. I remember comeing up stairs for breakfast thinking dad won't even notice me. I was wrong. There was a distinct look of dissaproval in the furrow of his brow that morning. For a man that might not notice that his daughter had hair down to her waist one day and chopped off to her chin the next.. a raised eyebrow was not a good thing. So I asked mom if I should change because I could tell dad was'nt fond of my outfit. She agreed with me that it was a cute outfit but that it was up to me. So feeling like she did'nt outright dissaprove of my outfit I atleast did'nt have to feel bad about what she thought. So I was off on my merry way to school. I immedietly got compliments upon arriving at school within the my first few classes when it occured to me that none of these compliments were comeing from girls. The furrowed brow would'nt leave my conscience. During lunch I made a friend take me home so I could change into something more modest. I am sure my dad never even knew about my mid-day wardrobe change. What stood out though through that memory was that he did'nt have to inject his opinion in an angry or controlling way to raise up decent and moral children. Instead it was more about what he did'nt say and the way he led his own life by example that made you want to make him proud of the person you were being even when he was'nt around. I have seen dad's rough cowboy edges smoothed and refine over the last several years and I think it quite an impressive thing. Who says an old cowboy can't learn new tricks?. I am grateful for the wonderful man and father I have been blessed with and feel sorry for everyone else less priveledged. LOVE leisel