My Daddy believed in working hard, not hardly working. And he certainly didn't discriminate. He expected us girls to do our fair share and not just in the kitchen. Meaning if it was time to work cattle, we all worked cattle. If it was fixing fence and water gaps, we were all up to our waist in the water pulling wire. If the pecans were ready, well we were all picking pecans and staining our fingers. Hard to get that pecan stain off too, but it didn't seem to bother any of us. Today they would probably call that child abuse but we were just having too much fun! You could say he was a real equal opportunity employer, my Daddy. But I can also say there was never anyone that liked to have fun more than he did. He could work you to death one minute and have you rolling with laughter the next. It never ceased to amaze me how he could come up with something to get us all in a good humor. It didn't take much because we never had much. We never had television, at least not while any of us seven kids lived at home. Daddy was smart that way too. He wasn't about to have a bunch of kids sitting in the house doing nothing, glued to the TV. Funny how all the kids in town wanted to come to our house all the time, guess they thought he was fun too. By the way, he didn't discriminate with them either! If they were at the ranch they became one of his kids and got treated accordingly. When Daddy died I realized just how many "kids" he really had. A true testament to the kind of person he was, just simply wonderful.
One HOT summer day we were moving cows from one pasture to the other and had been at it for 4 or 5 hours, needless to say we were HOT! No one was talking much and the day was really starting to drag out. No one was in a very good humor. The cows weren't in a good humor either. Daddy disappeared for a bit and I wondered where he had gone. Nobody said anything, just kept pushing the cows. About 15 minutes passed and still no talking and no Daddy. Finally, Daddy comes riding up behind us and I felt a stream of water hit me in the back of the head. I jerk my horse around to see where it came from and got hit in the face with another stream of water. My Daddy took off whooping and hollering and chasing my little bother with a squirt gun! Now where in the world did he get that squirt gun? His saddle bags! He'd gone to the water trough to fill them up. By them, I mean one for each of us! He handed them out and we had a blast chasing each other and cooling off! When the water ran out play time was over and it was time to get back to work. We didn't mind it one bit. That's was just my Daddy. He truly had the gift of mixing work with fun.
One of my favorite memories of his zany sense of humor came when I was about 7 years old. Another very hot day of course, riding in the pickup filling feeders with my two little brothers, little sister, and 2 yr old niece. Now mind you, we were all 7 yrs or younger, bouncing around in the truck, thirsty, hot, tired and grumpy. Two of the little ones were crying their eyes out. Daddy just kept on doing his feeding and whistling. Now on the ranch there are these big deer blinds that look like small houses with little windows. Daddy started heading toward one of them and I wanted to know why. I was soon to find out. He pulled up beside the blind window like it was a drive-thru at the Dairy Queen! And ....promptly order 6 vanilla ice cream cones! He handed each of us one, pretended to lick his and had us all laughing in no time. I thought he had lost his mind! I look back on that and it still cracks me up! I guess you just had to be there.
Daddy taught me that you can have fun no matter how bad, hard, or tiring things can be, if you just set your mind to it. And you don't need any thing to do it, just a little imagination and willingness. He always told me, "It takes the same amount of effort to smile as it does to frown and smiling just feels better!"