Word Count: 775
As usual, you’ve sent me off on business again when I should be at home with you. Is it me, or am I imagining that you must surely be trying to get rid of me? I hope I haven’t been such a rapscallion that you can’t bear the sight of me anymore!
I’m just ragging you a little. I know that you love me…haven’t you told me so, time after time? Sure, I’m all grown up now, but I just wanted you to know that no matter how old I get…you’ll always be older…hahahhahahaa…. Sorry, Pa, but since it’s your birthday, I couldn’t help but tease you some. After all, without you…where would I be, or better yet, would I be? I think not, cause I am who I am and what I am, all because you are who and what you are.
I know I’m probably not making much sense, Pa…but then, do I ever? Not very often. I’m not educated and smart like big brother Adam. Nor do I rarely think with my heart like Hoss. I’m just Joe…hot-blooded, hot-tempered, hot-shot…yep, that’s me all right.
All kidding aside Pa, I’m writing just to wish you Happy Birthday and to tell you how much I love you. I know some men would laugh if they knew I was writing a ‘love’ letter to my father, but I don’t care. It’s always been easier to say on paper what it’s hard to say when standing face to face with the man who has given you life, and who’d give his life, without question, for mine. It’s hard to put into words what I feel in my heart when I stop to think of everything that you’ve sacrificed for me, the things that you’ve gone out of your way to do for me, to provide me with, to teach me.
I’m a better man today because of your guidance, your devotion and dedication…and your determination to make me into a respectable human being. I don’t think that if I live to be one hundred that I’d ever be the man you are, at least in my eyes. You’re about the most honorable, righteous, law-abiding man I know, and I know I’ll never be able to match your grace and your compassion, or your ability to forgive.
When I was little and I’d follow behind you, trying to place my foot into your footprints, I think I knew even back then that I’d always be lacking in comparison to how you lived your life and how I’d end up living my life.
But don’t fret yourself by these words, Pa. I’ve learned your lessons well, or at least I hope I have; I know I’ve tried my darnedest too. You’ve gone out of your way to see that I haven’t ended up in a jail cell or swinging from a rope, God forbid! If ever there was a man more dedicated to his sons than you have been, I’ve yet to meet him, and don’t think I ever will either. I don’t believe that there are two such men alive today. You are a special father, a man created of God, with the qualities by which God expects all fathers to be patterned by. But few meet those standards, yet way out here in this wild, untamed land, there lives one, one man, one father that rises above all the rest, my Pa, Ben Cartwright. Do you have any inkling how very proud I am, knowing that the perfection that God strove so hard to deliver to fathers, of all who have fathered a child, you have come the closest to being that perfect father, at least in my eyes you have. And for being your son, I have to tell you, Pa, I’ve dropped to my knees many times during the course of my life, just to tell God thank you for making me your son.
I wish you the best today, Pa. I hope that everything you wish for comes true. I haven’t had much time to buy you a present, what with being way down here in Texas, but I have something personal to give to you.
Today, on this special day, I give to you, of myself, from my heart. You have my respect, my admiration, my loyalty, and my best wishes for a super birthday. But most of all, Pa…you have my love. I hope it’s enough; it’s all I have to give.
Joseph Francis Cartwright