Remembering a father

This article will be dedicated to my dad, Bernard Landon Nine, who passed away Jan. 2, 2018, at the age of 94. His main love was cattle and horses and we sold some of his cattle last Thursday.

I have had several people that saw my dad at the sale—some days buying, some days selling and other days just there. He had been going to cattle sales in Woodward, Oklahoma, for over 75 years. A lot of cattlemen would visit with my dad at the sale and a lot have said to me, “How could your dad be that calm and you wound so tight?” Meaning I acted like a raging idiot, I guess, running back and forth trying to keep the sale going. I always informed them, “You didn’t know my dad when he was 50 years old. He was wound just as tight as I am at that point.” And truthfully he and I were so much alike that from age 16 to 32 years old we butted heads a lot.

Yes, I will take 85 percent of the blame. I was young, energetic and I thought I was smart, I guess. I’m just thankful that the good Lord let him live long enough that he and I could get on the same page.

Our disagreements were on little things like me going to dehorn a cow of his. He would say, “No, you are not.” And I would say, “Yes, I am. She is mean with those horns.” Or taking a gate out that he and his good friend, Ray, had built—same story different verse—me being aggressive and hard headed.

It’s hard to say goodbye even at 94. Even today at our cow sale I thought I should call Dad and ask him if he needed any more breeding bulls. But Dad loved to feed cattle and was still feeding several sets of his cattle a few months before and had told me a day or two before he died he was going to start feeding his cattle again.

Dad requested everyone to just wear a white shirt, blue jeans and boots. We had the funeral at their country church, went a few miles and stopped a quarter of a mile before the cemetery. We unloaded the casket out of the hearse and put him in a horse-drawn wagon.

Then 55 horseback riders rode behind the casket with one grandson leading the last horse Dad saddled.

Here is a poem I wrote for dad:

The Last Mile

Don’t want to ask for much oh Lord

Just a horse back in the back pasture.

This time perhaps could you keep it green

And maybe leave it that way forever after.

Pretty much the simple life ole Lord

Was always good enough for me.

Just a few old cows that I could tend

And maybe a little cake and hay to feed.

I have a question or two oh Lord to ask

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Why was you so good to my family and me.

And let me live a life that I loved

And live in a country where we were free.

And about that little ole country church

I hope I kept my promise to you Lord.

I want to thank you for the life you gave me

And letting me live to the age of 94.

I know you’ll take care of my wife and kids

Just like you always looked out for me.

Just remind them to go to church oh Lord

And be a Christian is all I want them to be.

You know all I have oh Lord is really

Yours just mine for a little while.

Today I want to ask one thing could it be

Just you and me to ride together for about a mile.

Editor’s note: Jerry Nine, Woodward, Oklahoma, is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family’s ranch near Slapout, Oklahoma.