Dad. Father. Papa. The one who holds the family together. Patriarch. Leader. Bear hugger. Most memorable laugher. Teacher of life lessons. The one who taught me to drive. Passion instiller. Farmer. Daddy.
Dads are one of the most important people in our lives. My Dad meant so much to me. He was the reason I am who I am today. I remember from a young age farming with my dad. Driving around with him checking fields. I even had a small table in his office at the farm that I pretended to work just like him. He taught me so much about agriculture. He is the reason I love agriculture and farming. He gave me my passion for agriculture. He was so proud that my sister and I wanted to be involved in agriculture too. But he hated that I went to school so far away. And even though I didn’t come home to farm with him as planned, I married an almond farmer who he loved as his own son.
It pains me to write about my Dad in past tense. There will be no more memories and future planning with my Dad. My father passed away unexpectedly on May 30th. We may never know why God decided to take him at the young age of 63, but we know he had no pain and went to rest peacefully in his office chair doing what he loved, farming. It was a day that I will always remember. A day that will make me stop and really appreciate the days I had with him. But I will always wish for more. More days. More talks. More memories.
My dad farmed his whole life and wouldn’t have done anything else. I’m grateful for my sister who farmed with my Dad for the past 15 years and is keeping the farm going as my dad would want it. The farm was my Dad’s everything. The main ranch sits at my parents house. The office and shop in the yard of their house. He never left the farm and now it is our job to ensure the farm continues in his memory.
Walnuts will always be Papa B’s trees, and I will remind my son of that even as he grows. He gets so excited every time we see walnuts because he thinks they are his Grandpa’s. It pains me to know my kids won’t have as many memories with him as they should. But we will continue to talk about him and keep as many pictures around as possible so they know who he was and the great life he lived.
It’s been a painful last two weeks and Father's Day just won’t be the same. Each day that goes by I keep hoping to see him walk through the orchard, or hear his laugh just one more time. I’m not sure how but I know life will go on. It just won’t be the same. There won’t be anymore gator rides together. There won’t be anyone to worry about me as much as he did. There is just a special bond between a dad and daughter. I was the baby, daddy’s little girl. We both have a sentimental side to life. He looked at life the same way that I do.