Riding for the Brand

Four V

On the prairies and frontiers of a century ago, men rode for the brand and women admired their efforts. The strong, silent types of the silver screen and sagebrush oceans were benevolently loyal and sternly kind. They were the original men of Steel and Velvet.

It was a time of personal responsibility and unlimited opportunity. The men and women of that era were keenly aware that the world was what they made of it — if it didn’t fit, they made alterations.

Young men traveled west in pursuit of their dreams. They came with all of their belongings in a bed-roll tied behind their saddle and a rifle in the scabbard. No horse, no cows, no land — nothing permanent. All they possessed was a crystal clear vision in their mind of what they wanted their future to be.

The work on that future began by establishing relationships in the area of their new home. An option for many was to cowboy for the cattle empires and land barons. Cows and dirt are of limited value until properly managed. A cowboy was the catalyst to turn a horse remuda into a money making machine.

From the rope used to catch their first horse of the day, to the jingle of the spurs at their heels, those cowboys took care of their gear. Saddles were oiled, cinches were reinforced, and saddle bags were provisioned with the tools of their trade. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement — the Cowboys provided mind and muscle — the Barons provided everything else.

Understood by all — Loyalty and kindness was the rule of the range.

Kindness was evident around the chuck wagons. Cooks did their best to fuel the ambition of hard-working young men. Strangers were offered the generosity of a meal. Care of the animals was on the minds of everyone.

Loyalty was the difference between life and death. There was an understanding — you were either friend, or foe. There was never the Political Correctness of making excuses for poor choices. Cattle rustlers were hung and horse thieves were shot, by the men who knew the importance of riding for the brand.

Four V was given to me by my Dad about the time he was shortening stirrup leathers to fit the legs of a five year old. Wise man he was to know that the Brand fits me. Four is representative of the four winds and four corners of the world. As an Objective Thinker, I consider all four quadrants formed by the intersecting lines of Up, Down and Sideways. The V is what it takes to break through the drifts of prejudice formed by the inertia of many. As a Trailblazer, I thrive on going where others fear to tread.

Lazy J F BarLazy J F Bar was given to my son by my Dad about the time he was building his Grandson custom chaps, with fringes for flair. Although the initials J F were apropos for the man James Foard, “lazy” in the sense of idleness is a misnomer. It is reflective, though, of the gentle, subdued, behavior of a big, big, man. He was always quick to bend a knee in service and subordinate his desires in the best interest of others. His grandson continues that tradition. Both men apply the Bar as an underscore to their every effort.

One brand composed of straight lines and interconnected — another, with the curvature of style and distinction of application. They carry an unspoken appreciation for the past, discipline of the present, and hopes for the future. For the efforts they represent, each Brand carries a legacy of family and tradition.

Whether applied with a hot iron, chiseled into stone, or tickled from the keyboard into a digital universe, our individual Brands are worthy of honor and respect. Similar to a flag over a sovereign county, they are a symbol for: Who we are, the principles for which we stand — and, the sacrifices we are able and willing to make.

Let us always be kind and loyal, as we ride for the brand.

Building Bright Financial Futureswww.kimfoard.com

Barking Cats

Pets and Partners

Profitable interactions and exchanges flow from the answer to one simple question: “What do you expect from me?”

When young, the reality is “We don’t know what we don’t know.” In other words, “Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment.” Until we discover what we like, many times revealed by exposure to what we find distasteful, we are limited in our ability to choose wisely.

For example, until young humans learn that cats meow and dogs bark, there is the potential for a bad relationship between pet and owner. If the young pet owner expects their cat to bark, they have three legitimate choices; and, one which is more popular and less effective, practiced by adults in dysfunctional relationships.

They can:

1.) Decide to be happy with the reality that their cat meows and purrs.

2.) Decide to be unhappy with the fact that their cat doesn’t bark.

3.) Replace the cat with a dog.

4.) Attempt to change the cat.

Good luck with that last one!

Humans are not like pets: hardwired to bark, or meow. We can do and be absolutely anything. The secret to a relationship with another person, though, is the same as the pet story: We need to really listen and decide at the beginning of the relationship if we can commit to happiness.

Pets have no choice about the relationship into which they are brought; they are owned as “things.” Although noble that people mature enough to choose a barking dog, the dog has no choice in its owner. Loveable and loyal, the dog makes the best of its new home, while expecting nothing in return: the ultimate definition of unconditional love.

The dog’s owner is happy because their expectations are met: barking and unconditional love.

People are not things and we have the freedom to choose our relationships If mature, we know what we want. Even more important, we are able to articulate and demonstrate what we are able and willing to give.

Thus, there are no “right” or “wrong” answers; only truthful responses to the one simple question: “What do you expect from me?” The fun begins by knowing whether we want a pet, or, a partner; then, actively listening to the sounds they make and the stories they share!

www.kimfoard.com