Remembering My Dad

His name was Mills Henry Foreman but known to everyone by the nickname he got while serving in WW-I. Many people didn't even know he had any other name than "Doodie". I never found if it had any particular meaning. I grew up in his shadow and some people who knew me back when, still call me "Doodie's boy".

His dad was a stern man who ruled the family with an iron hand clutching something to thrash them with. Following a particularly hard beating for some now forgotten reason on my dad's 14th birthday, he decided that it was time for him to live elsewhere. He waited until everyone was asleep, stuffed his clothes into a pillowcase and saddled the best horse. Not everyone was sleeping because his mother handed him a bag of food as he rode out the corral gate and told him, "Take care of yourself." He never returned home as long as his dad was alive.

He made his way westward from the Panhandle of Texas and found a job as a cowboy on a ranch near Roy, New Mexico. The owner of the ranch took a liking to him and noting that he had few clothes bought him a heavy Pendleton coat on his next trip to town. It will still warm so my dad hung the coat in the bunkhouse.

Another cowboy working there had a brace of nickel-plated pistols in a gunfighter style belt with loops filled with extra bullets all around. Now, to a fourteen her old aspiring cowboy, that was the ultimate thing one should have. My dad traded the coat for the pistols. The rancher was aware of the trade but said nothing.

After the fall roundup, the rancher let all the summer help go but kept my dad on. One morning they woke up to a howling blizzard and the rancher told my dad, "Well Mills, strap on those pistols and let's go take care of the cows."

My dad went to school in Roy that winter but since they had no high school, the rancher paid for and put him in the New Mexico Military School in Artesia where he graduated four years later at the top of his class. He was offered a commission in the army but decided to go back to the life of a cowboy. When WW-I came along a few years later, he enlisted as a private. He came out of the war with a chest full of decorations and the only survivor of the machine gun company that he went into battle with.

He was thirty-five years old when he and my mother were married and I was born two years later. I grew up by his side where he taught me many lessons about life, mostly to look at a man for what he was inside and not what he represented.

Unfortunately he died just about the time when I had become mature enough to view him for the great man he was and not just as my dad.

He often expressed his view of the world in earthy but profound sayings. I wish I had taken the time to jot them all down but these come only from memory. I miss him.

To survive in the army, keep your mouth shut, your bowels open and your head down.

Piss out the door of a moving boxcar three times and you will be a bum for life.

There is no such thing as a fair fight, so make it unfair in your favor.

Don't show up at a gunfight with nothing but a knife.

The first things you should learn to say in a foreign language is how to tell a woman she is beautiful and how to ask for food.

Don't piss into the wind.

Don't argue with an idiot, you only lower yourself to his level.

Don't borrow or lend money to relatives.

The best way to impress a man is to listen to him.

Never loan your pistol to an angry woman.

You can't get ahead while trying to get even.

If you can't keep up, you can't catch up.

The best way to end an argument is to say, "I'm sorry"

Once you've made your point, don't try to sharpen it.

Don't start a piss fight with a skunk.

You make better progress if you get out of your own way.

Live life for what it is, not what you think it should be.

Nobody's credit is as good as their money.

Beauty fades but stupid is forever.

If you can't hold a woman and dance to it, it ain't music.

One boy will work, two play, three fight and four scatter.

If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

If you think things can't get any worse, they probably will.

Here's a picture of Dad

Another story about Dad


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Copyright 2000 by Jim Foreman