This Memorial Day weekend I am going to have a lot of memories of a house, fence posts, the split-cedar side rails and my late dad, Robert Lynn Medley Sr., the one who went by Bobby as a boy and then was known as Bob.
The lessons he taught stuck. They stung sometimes, too. And they still sting a bit.
It is not Father’s Day, I know, but here is what is on my mind.
After I wrecked his Jeep Wrangler, when I was 16, he got a horse where we lived in the Deer Creek Schools district. I had so wanted a horse as a younger boy. Then of course as a teenager, in the 1970s, a car was what most guys wanted.
With the purchase of Hug Bar C, an older, kind of gentle, quarter horse from the Harold Adams Stable, the need for a pen, or a corral for him bordering the rocky edges of Coffee Creek, came first at the Bob Medley place.
There were many hours using a post hole digger that struck the gypsum and red clay rock of what was then unincorporated north Oklahoma County I remember. It was winter, 1981 so it was not exactly blazing heat. We worked in cold weather.
It was going to be a beautiful, split-rail cedar fence with the posts set in concrete too. It was hard work.
Then for whatever reason a 16 year-old doesn’t think he needs to help his Dad any longer came along. I demanded more time playing my guitar. Then there was a poor attitude. Being a jerk, too I’m sure. I can’t really remember, but I am sure it was my fault. I quit. Daniel Medley was recruited to finish the fencing. I cannot say I completed that job. Bob did and Dan helped.
But we got a horse. I was mobile by horseback for many years. This was 1981. My travels were limited to the trails along the bar ditches to nearby acreages and small housing additions.
My Dad’s fence was up for decades until the rails and posts fell to the ground. Bar the horse died about 1989.
Dad’s house sold in a few days recently. My cousin Leslie Gamble walked with me to the barn that last had a chicken coop in it after Bar died. It was our farewell visit. In the cedars and oaks, I noticed a side rail lying on the ground with a bit of green moss on the underside. The end of it resembled an old, reptile of some kind. I could see a wooden snake eye. I picked it up and forced it into the SUV and drove it home that evening.
The rest of the posts will stay there with the Earth they will return to.
I am still disappointed that I stopped helping on that project in 1981 It is painful to think about. But to take from it, it is a lesson to remember. Never quit. Maybe I’ll whittle those words into the rotting wood. Or not. For now, the old post has a new job bordering a patch of sunflowers. Thanks Dad.
I hope you have great memories, and important ones, and find time to remember them too this weekend.
Robert Medley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org