I stood next to my aging father, of ninety-seven years. He looked around the saddle shop. His brown eyes shed some tears.

He said, “Today’s a dark one but for you the sun will shine. For sure I ain’t no young one. Seems I’m runnin’ out of time.”

The saddles held a precious memory of my father’s life. Again, I felt as proud back when he gave me my first knife.

He reached then gave a tug and pulled away a dusty tarp. He knew the saddle’s history, and his mind was razor-sharp.

He pointed to a saddle. Said, “While fighting off at war. My father bought it for me, back in 1944.”

He said, “AIthough it ain’t horse worthy. It doesn’t seem quite fair. “Cuz there otta be a use for this old saddle somewhere.”

He pulled another saddle. Said, “Remember my friend Fred? This was his favorite saddle. Now old Fred is long since dead.”

My father stretched then slid the final saddle off the rack. A Heiser Denver saddle was the finest of the tack.

I don’t believe I’d ever seen this saddle in the shop. He said he’d used it years ago on a bucking saddle bronc.

A Heiser high back saddle right before my very eyes. My father showed excitement. It was more than just a prize.

And then his voice got louder in an old man’s sort of way. “I’d like it if you’d use it in your saddle shop display!”

So, I gave the saddles life and placed ‘em on a pine tree log. Now my grandkids sit the saddles and it’s where they play leapfrog.

We both agreed, I’d put the saddles where the crowd would meet. ‘Cuz soon they’ll all become a brand-new bar stool saddle seat.

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