So, my dad is turning 101 years old today. He was a factory worker and for many years, he did shift work, sometimes in other cities, once, for two years in South America; he got up early, worked hard, and often came home tired. He’d read the newspaper cover to cover, and we’d watch TV. His favourite shows were westerns: Zane Grey Theatre, Have Gun Will Travel, Rawhide, The Rifleman, Gunsmoke, Maverick, Cheyenne, Death Valley Days, Wanted Dead or Alive, High Chaparral, and Laredo, to name a few. Then there were the movies, especially ones with Gary Cooper like, The Plainsman, The Virginian, The Westerner, and High Noon.
It wasn’t until after he retired, that he started reading the western paperbacks, and once he downsized and moved into an apartment building that had a library, he had an almost unlimited source of them. He read about other things as well — finance, biographies, history — but the westerns were always his favourites. If you pop Zane Grey into an Amazon search, you come up with over 10,000 hits, some books, some DVDs. There is a lot of choice available to buy or watch free online. Enter Gary Cooper westerns into a Google search box and you get almost 19,000 results in 0.29 secs. And let’s not forget John Wayne westerns. Almost 700,00 hits in the same amount of time.
Dad doesn’t read too much any more, but he still has some of his beloved westerns in the bookcase, and likes to go to the movies they show on weekends in the theatre in the basement of his residence if it’s a good old western. He doesn’t always stay awake through them but does surprisingly often. Mostly now, he just loves to have his family around him and even though we’re spread out across the country, we all manage to have our visits coincide several times a year, like today, with the grandkids, and the great grandkids, and in-laws to let him know how much we love him. And maybe before I head home next week, we’ll even get to watch a western. Happy Birthday, Dad!