I truly believe that I was blessed with the best stepfather anyone could ever have. As I prepare to go to Colorado to celebrate Red's life this weekend, I keep thinking of all of the things that made Red so special.
I remember the first time I ever met him. He could have certainly tried to win me over. He could have worked to charm my socks off by being insincere or too much. But he instead walked in with his Wrangler jeans, cowboy hat and boots and gave me the biggest hug ever, treating me as though he had always known me.
I think about how he always referred to me as "the baby." I am younger than his children and the youngest of two girls in my family. To Red, I was always his baby. When Craig and I were getting close to being engaged, Red always said he would simply go and sell a few bulls in order to pay for "my baby's wedding."
I think about how much Red loved life and those who journeyed alongside of him in this life. He prided himself on never forgetting a name. He was a coach at heart. His vocation was coaching students - teaching them about livestock and how to judge livestock. While his days at the college ended a long time ago, he was still coaching - still telling all who would listen about how their lives could be better - about how we could do something better.
I think about how much Red loved and admired my mom. When my mom first wanted to run for mayor, Red said she probably shouldn't. He knew she had the gifts and the leadership ability, but he could not stand the thought of her being criticized by people in the community. He loved my mother with all that he had and all that he was. Even today, my mother said how she might not wear black to the funeral on Saturday but instead bright colors because Red always commented on how great she looked in bright, flashy clothing.
And, I think about how much Red loved us. When it came time for me to buy my first house, Red was willing to help. When it came time to move or apply for a new job, Red was eager to support me and encourage me. When it came time to fall in love, Red could hardly wait to meet my match.
I praise God for Red. I am so thankful for the 14 years of friendship we shared with him and the 9.5 years of marriage that he and my mother had. As we prepare to go to Colorado, I pray that Saturday really will be a celebration - a celebration of this incredible life.
Thank you for your prayers and your support.