I have been soaking up the love in this picture for more than a week now. It is one of my favorite pictures of our Mom and Dad together.
Dad used to find "treasures" along the trail and carefully tuck them into his front pocket for our mother.
Traditionally, it was the first buttercup in the spring or wildflowers in the summer.
Tender moments like these are not for every couple, but it worked for Mom and Dad. Most of us would never think to look around our surroundings for the tiniest yellow flower barely visible from the height of a horse. But Dad always did.
A few of their anniversaries didn't go as planned either. On their 30th, Dad was in the hospital with kidney stones. He fretted about not being able to make that landmark year more special for Mom. Finally, she told him that he could write her something.
I never knew about this exchange until after his death, but he had written a poem dedicated to her. Carefully folded and kept in her wallet, Mom takes it out once in a while to read it again. No fancy flowery words, just a sincere appreciation for being his wife.
Living in Missouri, I wasn't around for some of the final years of their married life. To my deep regret, I missed several anniversaries and more than a few birthdays.
Rancher's wives don't always get the credit that they deserve. They work hard along side their spouses and do without some of the luxuries that we take for granted. They bear the brunt of frustration sorting cows when they let a cow get through the gate. They drive cattle trucks on dusty roads and fix meals to feed a small army.
Cowboys come in all shapes and sizes. They might dress fancy or prefer their oldest blue jeans. Their work boots are dusty and worn. But their dress boots are polished to a fine shine for a trip to town.
Cowboy Romance is best described as precious moments transpiring from a single act of love. It can be a front pocket filled with treasures from the trail or a cowboy hat filled to the brim with memories.
Mom had to say goodbye to her Romantic Cowboy nearly four years ago. They watched hundreds of sunrises and sunsets during their 58 years together. Their gift to us was their love for each other. They set the bar high for our generation with their fidelity and commitment to each other.
Somewhere in heaven, Dad is riding the trail and carefully looking for the first buttercup of spring for Mom.