Much is explained in the statement, “Sons are more like their grandfathers than their dads.” When I first heard it, I wondered, “Why?” Then it dawned on me, “We always want what we don’t have.”
This is a story about my son, his grandfathers (maternal and paternal), his great-grandfather, his great-great-grandfather, and his great-great-great grandfather. Truly, it is a great story!
My son experienced a sense of community by starting and finishing his school years in Roundup, Montana. He graduated from High School in the company of many friends, with whom he had started Kindergarten. As for me, I was the new kid on three, different, playgrounds during my junior year of High School: Longview, TX; New Underwood, SD; and Lavina, MT.
Here’s where the story begins. Later, we’ll do the introspective analysis of the common theme in this Foard journey. Enjoy!
Addison Kemp Foard was born in Baltimore, Maryland in the year of 1826. His son, Arthur Craig Foard joined his parents in the city during the year of 1860. His son, Charles Arthur Foard was the first generation to experience childhood in Montana, beginning in 1895. His son, James Burnett Foard graced the world by arriving in 1931; much more than a dad, he became a hero. Sometimes teased as being a dinosaur, my preference is to be thought of as a Classic, having arrived in the year of 1955 and given the name Kim Burnett Foard. The fellow who is following in the footsteps of his grandfathers began his journey on July 25, 1988. His name is Ryan Charles Foard.
At times, Ryan will hop in my pickup, reach over and take the Zune MP3 music player into his hands, and dial up my favorite Paul Overstreet song, Seein’ My Father In Me. We listen to it together. No explanation before as to why, nor any discussion afterwards about what. We each just bask in the thoughts and emotions.
For me, the chorus rings true in the relationship with my Dad:
And now lookin’ back I can recall the times we disagreed
When I could not take hold of his old fashioned ways
And the more I tried to prove him wrong
The more I proved him right
Now I know why he still stood by me
When I went through that stage
Recently, a new release by Brad Paisley, Anything Like Me, is the other side of that ‘Father-Son’ coin. As I listened to it for the first time, each line of the song tugged at a heart-string and recalled a memory about my favorite son.
I’ve seen this look in Ryan’s eyes:
He’s gonna love me and hate me along the way
Years are gonna fly by; I already dread the day
He’s gonna hug his momma; he’s gonna shake my hand
He’s gonna act like he can’t wait to leave
One thing is for certain about Ryan — he does everything with style. When it came to leaving home after High School Graduation, think “tornado” — and, you’ll have some idea of the whirlwind of activity and suddenness of departure. In fact, he’s still twisting his way down the road of his version of the Australian walk-a-bout, on the backs of Brahma bulls.
He has built log-houses, poured concrete for custom homes, guided dudes hunting trophy elk into the Wyoming wilderness, driven beet truck on North Dakota farms, built fence in South Dakota and rode bulls in arenas from Canada to the Mexico border. Right now, he’s in Houston, Texas, a few miles from the ocean, in charge of his own crew, building fence around a wildlife refuge for the benefit of our United States Government. He’s 21.
This nomadic, adventuresome approach to life by Ryan Charles Foard began, at least, 184 years ago.
In 1826, Addison Kemp Foard arrived, to stay, in Baltimore, Maryland.
In 1879, his son, Arthur Craig Foard headed for Montana and lived the life of miner, farmer, rancher, cobbler and saddle maker, with much travel in his retirement years.
In 1920, Charles Arthur Foard married and homesteaded a place to call home.
In 1953, my mom and James Burnett Foard began an adventure of travel that took them from North to South, three times!
In the fall of 1981, Kim Burnett Foard planted a seed that eventually rooted his family to the Roundup community for twenty-plus years.
Ryan Charles Foard has cut the chains on his anchors and is full steam ahead into uncharted waters!
Even now, Ryan sees his dad tethered to a life that has come full circle. My home in Red Lodge is just a few miles from Fishtail, the home of the first Foard Family to live in Montana. My office is in Billings, the familiar community of childhood memories, college education, and thirty years of service to a loyal family of clients.
From generation to generation, the pendulum swings.
One generation enjoys home — the next enjoys adventure. One generation loves to have friends and family come to visit — the next loves to socialize and entertain wherever there is an event. One generation thinks managing risk is a worthwhile endeavor — the next knows an experience is only worthwhile if it involves risk.
Ryan’s grandfathers were men bigger than life itself. They were hands-on kind of guys who were gifted in all things mechanical. His paternal grandfather could do things with semi-trucks that were the envy of others stuck in their four-wheel drive pickups. His attitude and frequent comment was, “If a man made it, I can fix it.” Ryan’s maternal grandfather could do things with airplanes that left many jaws hanging and tummies tickled. His attitude and frequent comment was, “Let’s go!”
Both men loved people and conducted their lives to express that affection. They enjoyed social occasions and frequently were the last to leave. While at an event, they were never the life of the party, or wall flowers. Simply, they were great conversationalists — they knew just the right balance of listening and sharing. In fact, they were each known to have made a telephone call to a wrong number and, then, to visit for a while with that new friend.
Dads tend to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. Grandfathers have that out of their systems and are content to be like big old oak trees: Massive, Accomplished, Polished, Strong, Straight and Tall. Father Time is often pictured as a grim reaper, carrying an hourglass or other timekeeping device (representing time’s constant movement). Grandfather Clocks are representative of the grandeur of statesmen and the indelible legacy of the pendulum swings — from generation to generation.
If watched closely, though, dads raise their hands from the circle of their work to offer huge smiles, at least four times a day. The traditional clock face is numbered from 1 to 12. Now, picture those hands raised and pointing to the numbers: Two and Ten. At 10 before 2 and 10 after 10 (AM and PM), the arc formed upward is only a small expression of the pride that dads have for their sons.
To carry on the traditions of his grandfathers, Ryan has big boots to fill. He shuffles at times to keep the toes pointed forward. Every now and then his spurs get tangled and he visits with Mother Earth. As he brushes himself off, he is calling for the next ride.
At the beginning of Ryan’s bull riding crusade, he mentioned to me one day, “Dad, riding these bulls is fairly easy. All you have to do is stay in the middle of them and ride ’em jump for jump!”
Genealogy ~ June Foard
Photos ~ Lindsey Foard