Tribute to my Father

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meadow sunset

I’d like to tell you ’bout the man of stature five foot three. My eyes saw him at

10 feet tall. He meant the world to me.

Last week this good man passed away. Our family called him dad. Dang sure

we’re gonna miss him. He’s the only one we had.

My father taught me right from wrong. Not from the spewing word. I learned

from his example which was clear and never blurred.

He told me once. I won’t forget. Said, “Always trust your gut. And if it don’t feel

right to you get out before you’re stuck.”

My father had the quirky saying, “Keep it on the road.” That’s how he said

goodbye. Did he mean stay in safety mode?

He never slept much past daylight. He’d get this in his head. He’d say, “I don’t

dare stay too long. ‘Cuz people die in bed.”

He couldn’t understand a man who didn’t want to work. He was proud of his

good work ethic and never thought to shirk.

He took the time to teach and taught me how to stack the hay. And build a fence

and straighten nails to use another day.

My father had one simple rule, comply, or he’d see red. We’d only eat our

breakfast when the animals were fed.

His love for horses was the trait we shared from year to year. He taught me ’bout

the pack horse how to load up all the gear.

We packed into the Yellowstone. Each horse was loaded down, with food and

clothes and prob’y even Grannies old night gown.

The nights were cold and frosty but inside the big wall tent, a blazing fire, a deck

of cards. The best time ever spent.

My father’s word was golden and a man that you could trust. He taught me that a

man’s good name should always be a must.

Some say up high in heaven, dad, you’ve earned a rocking chair. Your answer

was, “Heck no, I’m gonna stretch my legs up there.”

I guess I’m asking once again, “Find Stretch and Shortcut please. And get em

ready for a ride, from west clear through to east.

So dad in time I’ll see you there through God’s forgiving grace. And then I’ll give

you one big hug. A long-deserved embrace.

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Bryce Angell’s father was an outfitter and guide for 35 years, and Bryce was there to shoe and care for the horses and help him do the cooking. Bryce is from Idaho and still rides into the Tetons, Yellowstone and surrounding areas. His poems are mostly of personal experience.

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