My cell phone vibrates. I look at the caller ID. My dad.
"Hey, whaddya doin'?" he asks.
My two year chucks a rock through my neighbors fence. "Just watching my kids make a mess." He chuckles.
"What are you doin'?" I ask in return.
"Oh, I'm at the hospital."
"Yeah. Guess I broke my leg in a couple places."
I lean back and take a deep breath. "How?"
"I was chasing cows with Bob Jensen up below the reservoir. It was kinda slick from all the rain. Horse slides right out from underneath me."
In my mind, I'm running through all the different horses my dad rides. "Which horse?"
"The three year old colt."
I roll my eyes. At fifty, Dad just won't stop breaking colts. "How'd you know it was broke?"
"Well, I should have bailed off, but I held on. Horse landed on my leg. My foot was stuck in the stirrup. When the horse rolled to get up, I heard my leg pop."
I shudder, imagining my dad's leg making that kind of noise. "Did you call for Mom to come get you or did Bob give you a ride home?" I ask.
He takes a deep breath. "Well, I told Bob I was alright and finished chasing cows. I figured I'd just sprained my ankle cause the burning was so low."
I know my dad rather well, and I'm beginning to see where this is going. "Dad, how long ago did you break you leg?"
He thinks for a minute. "Monday."
I run my hand through my hair. "Dad, it's Wednesday."
"Yeah, you Mom and your Uncle Bart wouldn't leave me alone about it."
I still can't quite believe I'm having this conversation. "So, are they going to cast it?"
"Have to wait for the swelling to go down. The broken part is kinda leaning in toward the other bone, so they might have to operate. I told 'em I had to have a walkin' cast. Gotta bring all the cows outta the mountains here in the next few weeks."
That's my dad. Can't stay away from the ranch for more than a few days or he turns into a moody teenager all over again. How many vacations did he not come on, or cut short cause he had to check on the cows. "Dad, you're hella tough."
He grunts. "Yer ma don't think so."
I sigh, unwilling to be dragging into that argument. What I call tough, Mom calls stubborn and prideful, but hey, I don't have to live w/ the guy anymore. "Tell me you're staying home today."
"Yeah. I gotta go in tomorrow though."
I sigh again. Might as well argue with a fencepost as keep Dad away from the ranch. "Be careful."
We hang up and I study my phone for a minute, wishing I were half as tough as the man who raised me.