My Daddy is my hero. He is not faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, or even able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But he is my hero and those are not the kinds of things I need done anyway.
One of my earliest memories of my daddy is him with a horse. You see, he grew up on a ranch, and you can't do ranch work without a horse. Daddy got us all on a horse when we were quit young. However, I am not fond of riding horses. When I was eight years old, Daddy took my younger brother and I with him when he went to do some branding. I don't remember much about the day except it was hot and smelly. I did't like the bawling of the calves as they were worked, but I did understand the reason.
Everett, my brother, and I were taking turns sitting on Dad's horse as the calves were being worked. It was my turn to sit on the horse. Grandpa, my uncles and my dad had a calf down when something spooked the horse. I had no clue what to do with an out of control, bucking horse. I was slipping off of the saddle, pulling the reins tight, scaring the horse even more. The horse started going in circles around and around the branding fire. I was slipping more and more and any minute I would fall and hit the fire. Terror filled me, I knew I was going to die. Then all at once, I was free from the horse and my daddy had me in his arms, saving me, protecting me and calming me down, telling me everything was alright. My hero. (but I never did go with him to brand again and I am not so fond of riding hores anymore even though Daddy made me get back on a horse later that day)
I had a black cat. His name was Sambo. Not politically correct, but it is what it is. I loved this cat and he loved me. He would lay draped on my shoulders as I played outside, or sat and read a book. We were together almost as much as if he were my faithful sidekick, dog. Sambo was not a small cat. No, he was one of those big, full bodied, long haired cat. But he was also a cat that went outside to do his business and roam around, as cats do.
By this time, my dad worked in a copper mine. He carpooled to work. One member of the carpool was his brother, Steven. On the day I am thinking about, Daddy had just been dropped off from work by Uncle Steven. I remember hearing tires squealing and Daddy going back outside to see what had happened. I also remember Daddy not letting me outside to see. When Uncle Steven backed out of our driveway that day, he hit Sambo. It was not pretty and Daddy didn't want me to see. Sambo didn't die right then, he ran off but came back a couple of days later, then ran off and died. But, my daddy tried to spare me the trauma of seeing my beloved pet as he died. My hero.
My daddy played basketball when he was younger. One of my earliest memories is of traveling to the stake center in Mt. Grahm to play in the stake tournaments. Of course I remember my daddy being the best player on the floor. It was through my daddy's love of the game that I grew to love basketball as well. He would often drive me to the highschool games. I am sure, now, that that is not how he would have liked to spend his Friday nights- in town, at the basketball games, watching kids that he didn't know, play basketball. But he did it because I wanted to go. Sometimes I would even be in the student council concession stand working, and he would sit through the game by himself. Other times I would sit with him. I remember one time he cheered a play by the opposing team. When I asked him about it, he said to me "You should always applaud a good play no matter who makes it. The other team works just as hard as yours and a good move is a good move no matter what jersey they are wearing." Always true in all aspects of life, don't you think. My hero.
Also, during this time, my mom was not feeling well and driving us to early morning seminary became too difficult for her. Since my dad works shift work, he was not always able to be there to do it- probably only 2 weeks out of every 6 would that be possible. I was very sad about the prospect of not being able to finish my senior year of seminary. But that didn't happen. Why, because my hero found out that we could do home study seminary with him as our teacher. So besides everything else he had to do, he took on guiding us through our lessons and correcting them so that we could continue with seminary.
My daddy is a hard worker. In late '86 or early '87 the doctors found that my daddy had a rare kidney disease. By the late '90s, he was on dialisis and put on a transplant list. Did that stop my daddy? No it did not. I remember on summer day, he and my mom were up visiting. We were having a family get together and we all gathered at my brother's house. My brother's garage needed a new roof and I bet you can guess who was up there nailing shingles on. Yep, my hero.
Daddy hates hospitals. Hates even stepping inside the front door of them and doesn't do it unless he absolutely has to. When my sixth child was born, my parents were in Utah for the my sister's wedding. They would be stopping in Provo for the night and then on to Logan for the wedding. I would not be going, I had been sick and in bed for 3 months and the baby was born 6 weeks premature the day before they were to arrive. Mom said she would come by the hospital and see us on the way through. However, when she got there and I looked up, there stood my daddy in the door to my hospital room on the third floor. He said hi, and then he and my brother took a walk, but I didn't care. He came to see me. My hero.
When ever my life is getting complicated or confused or I feel like it is spiraling out of control, he is always there for me, to listen to me, even if I am doing nothing but whining and crying, he is there with a sympathetic ear and words of wisdom to guide me through it.
Dad writes poetry. I was going through the many that he has given me and realizing again how much I love this man. How much he has taught me by his life example as well as his words of wisdom. I hope he will forgive me if I use one of his poems to illustrate the type of life he has lived. (it was hard to choose, so many of them that I love)
It's five A.M. I'm up and dressed
And headed out of doors
The day has started in the country
It's time to start the chores
There's cows to milk and horses to feed
And that just starts the day
After chores and breakfast are done
It's time to cut the hay.
Cause you plow and plant and fertilize
Then you have to irrigate
The crops come up; so do the weeds
So you have to cultivate.
There's corn to chop and grain to thresh
And the dogies food to blend
If you're ever caught up with it all
There's always some fence to mend.
And then the pigs will get out of the pen
And go running to the neighbor's
It seems there never is an end
To a country man's labors.
There's calves to brand and hay to bale
You'd take a break if you could
But about the time you think you can
It's time to haul the winter's wood.
Of course the wife is busy too
Helping with all those chores
There's not a lot of time for her
To be settin about indoors.
But when she's working in the house
You know she's also planning
On the winter coming up, cause
It's time to start the canning.
Then one morning when I got up
I didn't feel very well
So my wife took me to the doc
To see what had caused this spell.
Well, he poked and proded, punched and listened
Said there was nothing wrong,
But he had a prescription he'd give to me
That would help me live quite long.
He said it was something simple
I could do it with my wife
If we'd just follow his advise
We could live a long and happy life.
Then when he gave me the prescription
I nearly punched his eyes
Whe he said what you need most
Is to get some exercise.
Gary L. Hulsey September 1992
My dad and mom on their wedding day
I am the baby
great-grandchild (my first grandchild)