Uncle Neil’s Lariat


Uncle Neil lived his entire life in Afton, Wyoming. He was a rancher who worked hard and taught his six children how to do the same.

He died at the age of 95 and at the time he was living in a care center. He always had an abundance of energy and couldn’t sit around with nothing to do. While living in that care center he used his wheel chair to roam the halls visiting with the other patients. The wheelchair was his only means of escaping the confinement of his room.

It was a sad day when the care center staff decided to move his wheelchair to a corner of the room where he couldn’t get to it and prevent him from wandering the halls. But this old cowboy was creative and not ready to be confined to his bed.

Everyone knows a lariat is a rancher’s tool and Uncle Neil used his roping skills to retrieve his wheelchair. He made a lasso with his oxygen tubing, roped the wheelchair, pulled it to him, and hopped in to ride the halls again.

I don’t know what the center staff thought of this talent but his family loved it and could laugh about it years later. This little action demonstrated not only a skill he developed from his years of ranching but also a desire to have his independence.

Obtaining and maintaining our independence is something all of us want and need. Our children are no exception. We should help them earn it one small step at a time.

The day they were born they started working towards their independence. Perhaps this year it is potty training and then a few years later it might be driving a car and sometime after that it is marriage and raising their own family.

No one likes being dependent and helping our children become independent is something that will benefit them throughout their lives.

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