He was an old cowboy, and he never liked to hear that cowboys were a dying breed. Those were fighting words, indeed, so don't ever tell him that. Yes, a cowboy, through and through, and he hoped he'd die in the open, big sky of Montana, right by his old horse, Dusty. Falling in love with the outdoors, he grew up working on his uncle's ranch and was hooked from the very start. Now Ride 'Em Rick had breathed his last and finally met his Maker. He was ready, for sure, and died with his boots on, just like he hoped would happen. It wasn’t out in the open, but as he was snoozing on his recliner and he never woke up.
When most of his children were arguing about things they shouldn't be, Jet took charge to see to a proper burial. He refused to be among the squabbling siblings.
You never visited him!
Oh, yeah! The only reason you came over was to get more money out of him!
I loved Pop! You never loved the man!
You're just like him! Pigheaded! Impossible to tell you a ****** thing!
He's not just your dad, so don't act so high and mighty!
And so how would Pop have wanted to be buried? He was a hard man to know—even after seventy-seven years on this earth. Well, Jet knew his father was a proud man, and a lover of all things cowboy. It would be nothing fancy—he’d be done up in his good flannel shirt and jeans, and of course with his boots on, and his cowboy hat slightly tucked under his cold, hard fingers. A lasso would be a nice touch, and some of the old, cowboy tunes during the service would be perfect. Surely, if Rick was going to die with his boots on, they’d stay with him to the very end. So that was how it all would be.
And so Ride 'Em Rick looked regal in his humble garb. Stony in life, so he was in death. Mostly, the old man kept his distance, and that seemed normal to Jet. But now standing with his two boys, one on each side of him, Jet hoped he would have been a more hands-on father to his sons. With the help of his wife, Carly, he was surely keeping on course. The siblings were still at odds, but there were plenty of tears and hugs going around to keep the peace and to make a good gathering. And so it was a fitting farewell to man who felt most at home on the trails and in the saddle, buried with his boots on.