Celebrating a Cowboy’s Birthday

Dad, Grandma & Grandpa

Dad, Grandma & Grandpa

My dad, Don Neil Gasser, was born November 9, 1924. He would’ve been 89 today.

He grew up in the Cut Bank/Sunburst area in Montana (often known nationally as the coldest spot in the nation in the winter). His mother, my grandmother, was the rodeo-riding cowgirl I’ve written about in my novels Cowgirl Dreams, Follow the Dream, and the newest, Dare to Dream, scheduled to be released May 6, 2014.

Dad was an only child and the little family moved many times over the years, following the grass for their Percheron crossbred herd. He was six years old when they trailed 100 head of horses from Cut Bank to Salmon Idaho in the early 1930s to find grass, after drought and grasshoppers left Montana tabletop bare. He remembered that adventure vividly and that became one of the pivotal events in Follow the Dream.

I remember my 6’4″ dad as a quiet, soft-spoken man, an avid reader and student, although he

Dad & I in his rebuilt Model T

Dad & I in his rebuilt Model T

never attended college. He taught himself to read at least three languages, memorized passages of the Bible while driving tractor, and passed on the love of books and music to me and my brother Mark. Dad was, out of necessity, an inventor, a mechanic, a veterinarian for his own and neighbors’ cows. Anything that needed done, my dad could do. And he was a real cowboy–when he was astride his horse, he rode so smoothly you could hardly tell where the man ended and the horse began.

Dad passed away in 2003,  much-loved and well-respected by all who knew him. Happy Birthday, Dad!

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Heidi,
    This is a lovely remembrance of your father and your inspiration to write.
    Arletta

  2. I cried so hard—still miss him every day!!! Lynn

  3. What a great post. I LOVED this line: when he was astride his horse, he rode so smoothly you could hardly tell where the man ended and the horse began.
    One of the coolest Cowboy lines I’ve ever heard. Thank you for sharing this. He sounds like an amazing man…


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