34 "The Saddle"-Part 2
It seemed that time just seemed to slip by and the years flew. Jim’s dad seemed to get better. However his sister in Southern Arkansas passed away in November of 2006. It seems that the feelings he had that were telling him he needed to see his dad really were telling him he needed to see his sister. Two years went by and Jim’s step-mother passed away due to complications from cancer.
Jim’s half-sister had moved the two of them into a mobile home on the land with her and her husband. There she could take care of them.
The years still had a tendency to fly. In October of 2009 Jim decided to retire. As soon as he retired he made the decision to see his dad again. He planned and made a trip stopping in Colorado to see his other sister. He drove on to Missouri, where his dad was living now in the mobile home near his half-sister.
His dad was now 94 and still getting around quite well. The half-sister was taking care of him. She would cook for him once in a while, help keep his house clean, help with the laundry and handle paying bills.
Well, unfortunately, the last one was causing a little mistrust on the dad’s part. While Jim was visiting, his dad and half-sister got in an argument and Jim found out that his dad was suspicious of her 24 year old son had taken money. They settled the argument and the rest of the visit was good. Jim stayed for about 4 days. In that time Jim’s dad explained that he wanted to leave Jim something. He gave Jim a pistol and told him not to tell his half-sister. He gave Jim a Belt buckle and 8 Kennedy silver dollars and 1 liberty silver dollars. He had saved these and divided them into those equal amounts so that all of his kids would have them. Last but not least, he mentioned “the saddle” again and the fact that he really wanted Jim to take it. Jim remembered his promise to take it the next time. Jim felt so bad that, even though he had less room and a smaller car this time, he said he would take it.
They went outside together and his dad removed a piece of plastic that was well weathered. The dad apologized for the poor condition of the saddle. He explained that it had been in a shed before and was like new. Now it was in very poor condition, well weathered and actually worthless. The dad said he hoped it wasn’t completely ruined. Jim said he would clean it up and proudly show it on his patio. He wasn’t going to see that look of disappointment on his dad’s face again. So, they loaded it in the back of the little car.
Jim stayed ‘till the end of the visit. He drove home and thought about how much better he felt because he went ahead and took the saddle, even though it made the car smell musky the entire trip.
Once he arrived at home he unloaded the saddle and placed it on a chair in the patio and every time he looked at the saddle after that, he would remember the look on his dad’s face and could tell that, for some reason, he had made his dad feel better.
To be continued.