A Cowboy’s Faith: Another tribute to Dad

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Dad would have been 108 years old on Monday, January 29.”

Sadly, he’s been gone nearly 38 years, passing away in the summer of 1980.

It was always easy to remember Dad’s birthday, the same as Kansas.

A bachelor until 30 years old, Dad knew how to take care of himself, his horse, a little bit of livestock and the small rented farm. He knew how to fry steak and potatoes and make gravy, always the best there was.

Those who remembered those days insisted there wasn’t anything Dad couldn’t do and wouldn’t undertake. His sorrel gelding Bar was the best around, even standing on back legs with finger snap.

Young woman riding the spotted pony to teach the one-room schoolhouse caught Dad’s eye. Before long, they were wed despite her 10 years his junior.

Poor farmers trying to make do. Times were tough. Tractors were replacing stock horses used for riding, driving, and working fields, too.

Even in those days it took a little bit of everything to make ends meet. Mom taught school, milked cows, had chickens, kept house and all. Dad farmed and had a job at the hardware store in town.

Tragedy struck. Kafir corn stalks plugged canvas on the five-foot Allis Chalmers combine Dad was harvesting with. Power-take-off running, Dad attempted to unjam the clog when his left arm was pulled into the machine, severing his hand.

Making a living on the farm became even harder; decision was made to acquire a small café in town.

Dispersing the little machinery and livestock was extremely difficult, yet old sale bills reveal it was quite an operation. Only things remaining were Dad’s saddle and a small two-wheeled-trailer.

Opportunity to own a grocery store improved family stability, and then their only son was born. Dad was 40 by then.

In reality, Mom ran the store, one-handed Dad was the butcher, jack-of-all-trades. He built four upstairs apartments serving as rental income.

Yet, that boy just had to have a horse, and farm life affection forever remained for his parents.

They got two acres first, horse second, and the ranch grew. Thanks to a most remarkable Dad and hardworking Mom who passed just a year after Dad.

Every day their positive influence continues.

Reminded of Psalm 22-5: “You were there for our parents, they trusted and lived a good life.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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