The Best Time I Ever Had

Oct 3rd, 2008 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

One of the best times I remember ever having was a trip taken with my father and grandfather to the Ft Worth cattle yards. We loaded a calf to take to the yards and little guy though I was, they allowed me to go along.

How exciting it was to be included, to be thought grown up enough and ready enough to go on such an adventure with the big men. An added bonus of the trip was that my grandad had promised to buy me a new pair of cowboy boots. Oh, I was so excited. I was ecstatic. In fact, more than the the trip itself, the boots today stand out as the most remembered symbol of that journey.

In those days, over back roads, with no interstate or four lane highways, the trip was longer than it is today. We departed home before daylight. That was also a novel experience for me to be awakened in the middle of the night and to get ready for what seemed to be a very long journey.

We took off. Somewhere along the way, we stopped at one of those roadside cafes that were usually found in small towns or just on the outskirts of one. Savoring the memory is almost as good as whatever we had for breakfast that early morning.

When we arrived at the huge Ft Worth stockyards, one of the teeming centers of agricultural and commercial activity back in the 40’s, my eyes grew large. I was captivated by my surroundings, the sounds and sights, but not so much the smells. The real purpose for the trip was nearing. Soon they would unload the calf to be sold.

After that, it would be off to shop for my new cowboy boots. What an adventure, what an undertaking, what a thrill. We had lunch somewhere, don’t really remember much about that. But it was over that lunch that the tenor of the day changed.

Dad told me that we wouldn’t be getting those cowboy boots. Something had passed between Dad and Grandad that I was not quite able to fathom. I’m sure now that it had to with money. It may have been that the calf didn’t bring as much as he had hoped. It may have been that dad knew my grandad’s circumstances well enough that such an outlay was just not wise. Likely my Dad had suggested that the boots, as badly as he knew I wanted them, was an unnecessary extravagance. Grandad was, I think, just as disappointed as I was.

Today, all these years later, I think about the best time I ever had when I remember going to Ft. Worth. I also remember learning a hard lesson that day, a lesson that has never left me. The joy of the day was not in some anticipated gift of boots, but in being encouraged to grow up and to know that disappointment is a real as anticipation.

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