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, Wyoming
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Apr 21, 2011

In Memory of Dad

It was 1 year ago today that my dad passed away. Following is an excerpt of a tribute that I gave at his memorial service. 
  Dad, I miss you everyday.
When I was kid I thought my dad was invincible. He was my hero, and in my eyes he was bulletproof and I always felt safe with him. During those early years we spent a lot of time together; mostly on horseback. I could count on him to rescue me when I was on a runaway horse and he was there to take the slack out of my rope when a waspy cow ran up it. He spent countless hours taking my head loops off the roping dummy and later off of real cattle. He was my team roping partner back in the days when most men didn’t want to rope with a girl. 
     I trusted him so much that there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do if he told me to. I recall a lot of things I didn’t particularly want to do, like being the first one to climb on some young horse that he had snubbed up to his own. “No” was not a word I had ever learned to say to my dad. Unless of coarse the question was “do you want me to kick your ass?”
     Dad taught me life lessons…like to let out the clutch…slowly, and how to handle a rope and a gun; to look on the shady side of a tree for morel mushrooms and where to find asparagus on the river banks. Thanx to him I can operate power tools, a PTO, a calf puller, a wire stretcher and a pressure cooker.
     My Dad was the most generous person that I have ever known. I have seen him give whatever he had in his pocket to a complete stranger or pay for a dinner for someone on a barstool, when he barely had the money to pay for his own.  He was charitable to begging people and begging dogs.
     Dad’s wit was quick and his tongue was sharp. He could cut you with a look and you could lose an argument to him without even opening your mouth. There was no out smart-assing him and he was not someone who you wanted to play a game of chicken with.
     Dad had a knack for turning a serious matter into a trivial one. Like the time I fell off my horse in the barrel racing and cracked my head open on the tail gate of a pickup. I was only unconscious for about a minute and my head did quit bleeding after a couple of hours so I probably really didn’t need medical attention anyway. 
    I have never known my dad to tell a lie. Not even a little white one. He was brutally honest, and he always spoke the truth. At least the truth as he saw it. Example: The first time that Larry had dinner with my family my mother served pancakes and eggs. Well, Larry HATES eggs and I had forgotten to tell mom that. She cooked him two and Larry politely took one, when the plate was passed. As the meal was about finished, dad handed Larry the plate with the one egg left on it and said, “here Larry, this is your egg.” Larry said, “no thanx Gary, I really don’t eat that much”. Dad looked at him for about 2 seconds, still offering the plate and said “You lying bastard, look at the size of you. You can’t tell me you don’t eat much.”  He was NOT a man that you wanted to ask, “do these pants make my butt look big?”
     Dad’s advice was always bankable. I knew I could count on him to give me his honest opinion and he could always make me look at the big picture in life. I was 18 years old when I met Larry and as I was packing my bags to run off with him in a Kenworth truck, I asked Dad, “Any words of advice?” “Yeah”, he said, “for 5 bucks you can marry him and own half that of truck”. I hadn’t thought about it that way, but I gotta admit, it’s working out pretty well…so far.
     My Dad was a patient man and never complained when he was the one stuck driving me from Pompey’s to Billings, to the doctor every single day for 2 months, while I was pregnant with Savannah. Years later when I would go to see him in ID, we would sometimes spend the whole afternoon driving around, me going to the grocery store, the pet store, the kitchen store, the potato store, all while he waited patiently in the pickup, never once rushing me or never asking “what took you so long?”
     Dad was old school and mostly resistant to what he considered to be modern day influences, which he felt would surely corrupt the kids—like “DAY CARE”, for example. When I talked about putting Sierra in daycare he poo-poohed, the idea, reminding me that we never went to day care and that it was just “a bunch of bullshit anyway”. He could “babysit” Sierra, he told me. Well, his idea of babysitting and mine were not entirely one and the same. It mostly meant that Sierra ate what, when and if she felt like it, didn’t have to take a nap, didn’t get her butt wiped, and generally spent the day with the dogs, trotting behind dad’s horses. And loving every single minute of it.
     He was a prankster, once putting a dead snake in Sierra’s sleeping bag while she was camping with him. He also told Sierra and Dustin that they would get warts from the horny toads that they had carted home on horseback and had shoved down their shirts and pants, as a means to carry them. The only prevention, he told them was if they rubbed fresh cow shit on any places that the toads had touched them. He watched and laughed at them, as they stripped down to their underwear and followed an old cow around the corral, waiting to get the “cure”.
     Dad was a loving grandfather and with him the kids experienced life in a fascinating way that most kids would never know. There were wagon train rides and camping trips. They cooked rattlesnake over a camp fire and went on questionable hunting trips, ones that usually involved a spot light. They had to “earn” their “Indian names”, which he ceremoniously bestowed upon them. Sierra was happy to be known as “Straight Arrow”, after having earned the name when she became a dead eye with the bow and arrows that her Grandpa had made for her. Savannah was busting with pride when she finally earned hers a short time later. One day she announced to me that Grandpa had finally given her her Indian name—Spills A Lot.
When dad napped the kids would unsnap his shirt and shoot spit wads at him in a game they had made up, called Belly Ball. The kids had the times of their lives with the man they called “Grandpa Coyote”.
     My Dad wasn’t always good with words or praise but he knew how to convey his feeling through his actions. When I was young, it was little things, like saddling my horse for me, adjusting a tie-down or checking my cinch before I rode in the box. As an adult, it was things like making dinner for me and having it ready and waiting when I got to his house in ID. Or making sure he had ½ & ½ on hand, because he knew I drank it in my morning coffee. Calling me “kiddo” and holding my hand for a little too long, as I was getting ready to leave. It was in those gestures that I knew of his love.
     My dad was someone that you knew you could always count on to be himself. His sense of humor was wicked and his word was golden. He was a man who said what he meant and meant what he said. He didn’t change his mind or his opinion.  What you saw with him was what you got and he made no apologies for often being politically incorrect. I appreciate that about him and I loved the fact that he was true to himself to the end.
     Even in his last hours, he joked with the doctor, telling him, and I quote, “I don’t like that god-damn Obama and if he’s gonna be the President, well I just don’t want to live anymore."
     Dad made friends for life and for these past several years, dad has been my friend.  I showed up at his house about every other month with a cooler full of food and then spent 5 or 6 days cooking for him and doting on him. We talked about all the old places that we had lived and the people we knew in those places. He often talked about his Grandpa & Grandma Wyman, regaling me with stories of his childhood and the antics of those naughty Wyman cousins. 
     Dad truly loved the western way of life and admired the men who lived it and loved it as he did. Over prime rib and box wine we reminisced about old relatives, old friends, old dogs and old horses. I was his drinking buddy, who cooks.
     I have a message saved on my cell phone, the last one he left me, which was on March 11th of this year…my 50th birthday.  He called me early in the morning, while I was still in denial about my age and hiding under the covers. He said that I had lived 18,250 days and that every day that I had brought somebody a little sunshine, and that I had “did good”. He wanted to know if I had it “figured out yet…if my tank was half full or half empty.”  Well, I don’t know if I’ll ever figure him out, but I do know that I am thankful to have had him in my life for 50 years.
     I know that he did the best he could for us with what he had. I know that he loved us all, that he worshipped my mother and cherished his grandkids. I know that him and mom are finally together again and for that I am at peace. I know that I will miss him always and I know that he is still my hero.
I hope the grass in greener on the other side,
and He's got good horses to ride.
Gary L. Grimm 
March 4, 1940 ~ April 21, 2010


  1. Great tribute to your dad Tam, brought the same tears as it did when you read it at his memorial service. I will think of him today, and remember him always as someone I was glad to know. There aren't many like him. I laugh every time I think of him at Spills a Lot's wedding, cussing uncle Dick while Dick was choking on an ice cube he had swallowed. He was one of a kind, and I think you had him figured out pretty well.

  2. Thanx Jules. Yes, he was definately one-of-kind! I laugh about that memory too! That was classic Gary...I miss the ornery old guy. :(

  3. Wow…a good morning read for me. May your Pop rest in peace. Thanks T

  4. Thank you Lance, I do appreciate it.

  5. Love-Love-Love it!
    Miss you guys already!

  6. What a wonderful Dad you had and the Memory's.Great pictures. Soerry he is gone.

  7. Thanx Mona! We miss you guys too...had a great time. See you again soon. ♥ Tammi

  8. June, thanx for writing. He was a good man and I miss him a lot. Thanx for reading SdJ. ♥ Tammi