Dad loved to dress up - or as he called it, "rig up." I think it might have been a lifelong bent because there are photos of him as a kid garbed in a variety of outfits. In the earliest, he dressed in a little military side cap and posed alongside his mother while his father was active on the Western front. The next one appears to be a couple of years later - he is on a skin horse with an enlisted man's visor cap. But by far the best image is the one where he is posing with his cousins fully "rigged" in a cowboy hat, chaps, and matching vest. That costume must have made a lasting impression and been his favorite too, because "cowboying up" would be de rigueur for the rest of his life.
With Double D Ranch entrenched in the western lifestyle industry, "rigging up" was never a problem for Dad. He loved it. It was who he was. He lived in boots, jeans, and a cowboy hat. Every so often we would custom cut him a DDR jacket because he didn't want to be the life of the party - he was the party. At Halloween, he would show up at our annual office shindig dressed in complete costume. I think his "Blue Duck" rigging was my favorite.
As I was looking back at old photos for this post, the one thing I noticed was Dad and his neckwear. When he "rigged," a bandana or a wild rag adorned his neck. As with the cherry on top, it was his finishing accent. Trail rides with the grandkids included wild rags and silver slides. Harley rides across the country, incorporated knotted bandanas - all framing his face and his infectious smile that brought people in like bees to honey.
Dad's been gone nine years this month, and Father's Day still hurts. Not a day goes by that his influence doesn't come through in some little way in my designs or in Audrey's penchant for business and customer service. Hedy inherited his wit and never misses a chance to insert a "Doug-ism" into her vernacular. Dad may be gone, but he definitely is not forgotten.
We sure do miss the party.
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