Dad died today.
I had sat with him most of the morning, but he didn’t talk much. Had other things on his mind, I guess. A few days ago, we had talked about the books I have written and he asked me about a character named Samuel Moses Cardiff. I told him I developed much of the character based on him. He smiled, “Not the mean parts, I hope.”
“No dad, not the mean parts, just the horse sense parts.”
Dad was a horseman and if a “horse whisperer” really exists, he would look like my dad, not Robert Redford. He raised and bred quarter horses for more than fifty years and not long ago, the American Quarter Horse Association rewarded him with a statue of a horse. He never had any money, to speak of, but his horses were rich in talent and they competed, and won, on all levels and in many different events.
Over the next few days, things will be said about my dad. Much of it will be good, but some will not. My dad was ornery and cantankerous long before he got old. He was also caring and loving, though he didn’t show that side of him as much as many would have liked. He lived the life he chose and he lived it on his terms. He has the scars to prove it. Many of his decisions costed him dearly but he didn’t complain. He accepted the good, as well as the bad.
He was tough, hard-headed and opinionated. He always thought he was right. He lived his life like a John Wayne character. Like the image of “The Duke,” dad believed in this country and believed in the ability and promise of the young people. He was an active leader in Boys Scouts, 4-H Clubs, and high school rodeo. He was more than willing to help a young cowboy or cowgirl train a horse, learn to throw a rope, or tighten the braid of a lead rope.
I’ve written before that he and I did not get along very well. Either we were too much alike, or not enough. Who knows and at the end of the day, who cares? He was my father and I am proud to be his son. Even before he knew me, he gave me his most valuable possession, his name. I am Kwen Delos Griffeth Jr. and my dad died today.
I will miss him.