|Sug Loooooves Grandpa|
That being said, this post is for my dad. Frank's the kind of guy who would give the shirt off his back to a complete stranger. He's the kind of person, though not religious, who lives by all of the important tenets common to many religions. He's the first to help someone in need, but the last person to ask for help. He's also funny as hell.
My dad worked a lot when I was young; he had his own business for many years. He did not make it to all my weekday soccer/basketball/softball games and swimming meets, but made darn sure he was there on the weekends. I can still remember him running the timer at swim meets, cheering me on all the while he was supposed to be timing someone in his lane. Though I wasn't thrilled at his use of his pet name for me when he'd yell, "Go, Buffalo Butt!" I was thrilled to have the support.
When I started with horses it was tough for him, as I'm sure he wanted me to be able to do more than we were financially able. Ever since I was a little girl, he'd stop the car if we passed a field with a horse in it so I could pet it. He stopped saying, "I have to go see a man about a horse, " when he needed to go to the bathroom, as when I was young I would take this literally, and would wait hours to hear when I was getting this horse he was talking about!
He's always been an animal person, and to him the horses were just big ol' dogs. He'd come to the barn and love on them, and would walk blithely into the stalls of horses that tolerated no one and have them eating out of his hand in minutes. He held my horses at horse shows, feeding them little treats of liverwurst sandwiches and beer when no one was looking. He'd bring his hibachi and make the best hamburgers ever -- everyone loved parking their trailer next to ours. One time when our trailer broke down he and my trainer walked several miles to find a payphone to call a tow. They came back with a 12-pack and a brand new Nikon (story for another time). Once when we were loading the horses and one accidentally stepped in a hornet's nest, scattering a million angry insects, he held on to the lead rope, calming the horse and making sure the horse got safely on the trailer, even though he must have wanted to drop the rope and run away to avoid the stings.
He'd hang out with me in the barn to keep me company when I was getting ready for shows, and on show days would fetch crops, saddle pads, water buckets without a complaint. Now he does the same when my daughter shows. He stops by the barn we board at occasionally, and never forgets to bring carrots.
He's been a great example to me, as a person and as a parent. He's been a great father, and a great grandfather to my kids. And I'm sure he's very happy now that I'm paying for my own horsey pursuits, and he can watch happily without worrying what it's costing him.