Forty years ago today my father, at the age of fifty-eight, died.
From him I learned to treat all people - regardless of their station in life - with equal dignity and respect. He also taught me one winter day as the snow fell outside the tack room's open door to repair a saddle horn using two threaded needles instead of just one.
He tipped his hat to women and listened with reverence to the seemingly pointless stories of the many eccentric characters who wandered into our ranch lives. He played the harmonica and loved to sing.
He married the love of his life. Together they rode the open ranges of Arizona until fences forced them to settle down.
In the only letter he ever wrote me, he urged me to never forget that I was an Arizona ranch girl raised on galloping horses with my hair flying freely in the wind.
I haven't, Daddy. And I won't.
Ira Franklin Walker - His memory is a blessing.