The Lockton Longshots

For Father's Day this year, I thought this wine and a lotto ticket appropriate for

someone who was familiar with taking long shots!

Thanks, Dad, for betting on me - definitely a long shot for the Olympics at age 22! Thank you for encouraging me to leap; betting on my ability to grow wings from the ingredients you worked so hard to put into my hands.

This Father's Day wish also goes out to my Dad's dad, 'Toughie'. The toughest little cowboy the little town of Nanton saw, in the early 1900's.

At 5 years old, little 'Toughie' - then known exclusively as Harwood Lockton - was dragged across the pond alongside his 2 brothers and his parents - small town British dreamers seduced by the idea of owning and 'proving up' frontier land in the Alberta foothills. It was 1910, and it was nuts of course; brutal and soul sucking and dangerous and cold. But what did they know? Nothing in their lives could have prepared them for the hardships they would face.

Both of Toughie's parents gave up. First his father, who left them in a shack in the hills, and then his mother; who - traumatized and damaged - abandoned Toughie and his brothers in the foothills, in the winter of 1917. Taking her youngest with her, Kitty left the others to fend for themselves. Toughie (still known as Harwood at this stage) was 12.

A neighbor rode by and thought he'd better stop-in, having noticed there was no smoke coming from the chimney. He found three boys cuddled for warmth in a chair in front of wood stove, long ago grown cold, without any more fuel for fire nor bellies in the house.

The boys were farmed-out to other local homesteaders in equally desperate situations and expected to earn their keep. Of course, we know by his nickname which brother was the hardest worker! And the most resilient. Life continued to test him.

But Toughie was smart, as well as tough, AND frugal. He also knew that education was the way out of poverty for his family and saved up enough money to buy a little farm close enough to town for his children to go to school.

My Dad is in the back row, the little blond kid you can only half see, on the far right.

Of course, it wasn't much of a farm, out there on the edge of the prairies ... and the well was dry ... and Toughie arrived there badly damaged from a bronc riding wreck at a local rodeo and a tire explosion he suffered at a garage during the war effort. He'd been seriously concussed and his pelvis broken. He never healed up right - neither his head nor his pelvis. My Dad remembers seeing him come in from cattle drives with the seat of his jeans soaked in blood.

Is it any wonder, he wasn't the warmest, most loving, patient parent? Apparently, he was taciturn and hard to please, but by God, no man out-worked him! And before Toughie was found dead, floating in a creek, by my 12 year old Dad, he saw to it that his kids were educated. And education, was my Dad's way out of a life of desperation, and my ticket to ride.

I owe it to Toughie, to raise a child like my father - one with grit, determination, imagination, and a high regard for education - and to show me how tough us 'effing Locktons can be!

"Never holler whoa in a tight spot!", was most certainly a motto he lived by and I am glad to have some of his genes.

Happy Father's Day to my Dad, son of Toughie; not an easy thing to be. Thank you for rising to the occasion and showing me how much you can get out of life if you are willing to work harder than other's think is wise.

"Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible." Claude Bissell

I love you, Dad!

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