Tim Bodine: The Man, the Myth, the Legend

Being a part of agriculture is a feeling that I can’t put into words. The acceptance, the interactions with the animals that I love so much, and the ability to educate others about what you love doing are just some of the reasons that I thrive within it. Well, that and I was genetically set up for it. The passion I have for this industry is so strong that it is incomparable to anything I have felt before. I wonder how differently it would be if I wasn’t raised around animals and crops? I am sure I would still love it, but probably not as much as normal.

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of experiencing the relationship that my dad, Tim Bodine, and I have, then you sure need to. We pick on each other and use sarcasm probably more than we should, by a long shot. We also have one of the strongest bonds that I am aware of and I can’t think of a time he’s ever slipped up as a father. No one is perfect and we have had both of our fair share of “stuff”, but for my entire life no one has ever taken his spot and I can guarantee no one ever will.

 

He grew up on his parents farm and ranch in central Idaho in a small town where everyone waves at each other. I don’t think that part of him ever left. Started school at Boise State then moved to University of Idaho and then it was onto Oklahoma State. Now he is Dr. Tim Bodine and all is fun and good.

But, I am not here to talk about his accomplishments and the times he overcame adversity. Although I am incredibly proud of him for those as well, I wanted to take a chance to talk about what he means to me and what he has taught me.

I know it isn’t Father’s Day yet, but I figured that in light of certain events, now was better than ever to recognize that he is the reason I am where I am. Hopefully he doesn’t kill me for all the pictures I am going to post, either way they are going up though.


Anything he did when I was little, I wanted to do too. Whether it was just following him around or working in the garden. So much so that when he took his shirt off when working outside, so did I. There’s a saying that goes, “Dad, a son’s first hero and a daughters first love”. Well, both were true for me and he didn’t fight it. He always says he didn’t care whether I was a boy or a girl, which is why he didn’t object to me being the little tomboy that I turned out to be.

Next thing I know, we are in Moscow, ID and my love for my dad did not change one bit. I look at home videos now and cannot believe how much has changed, but at the same time, how much hasn’t.

I remember one time he was shoveling snow outside and I just wanted to be outside because he was. It is known to everyone that clumsy is a watered down definition of me. So you can imagine me outside just wanting to be outside with him went, not well. Cuts and bruises weren’t enough to come inside to leave my dad because I wanted to impress him. Well, it is also known to everyone how big of a drama queen I am in regards to pain, so you can also imagine how well that went.

Not only was a I drama queen but I was, okay AM, a full blown only child. All while he was getting his degree, he put up with me. We always teased each other and that is exactly where I learned to be fluent in sarcasm. Any opinion he had, no matter what it was, I had too because my dad felt that way. My entire life has been about me impressing him. Not in a bad way though! Never has it been that I had to impress him because I wanted his approval because if you ask him, I have had that since I was born. I wanted and still LOVE impressing him because his opinion and thoughts are valued so highly in my head that it just makes me happy.

We did a lot of things as a family, him and me and my mom. Went to as many places as we could and spent so much time together that it is obvious as to why I am so close with them. I haven’t talked about my mom in this post, but don’t worry because I am sure she will get her turn!

We would go to the Oregon Coast almost every summer that we could and stay in the family beach house and it was just so nice to spend time away from everything while still being together. Even when we were all together still I wanted to spend all the time I could with my dad. If we were on the beach it was almost a guarantee that I was building a sand castle with him, or running into the water with him. Basically if he was there to hold my hand, I was there to reach for it.

He graduated from University of Idaho with his bachelors and masters and decided he wanted to go above and beyond. My dad is just naturally smart about things and it is so not fair. He is a logical thinker and loves science and data. It just comes easy for him and I think that is where his drive for knowledge comes from. To grow up witnessing that passion first hand was a huge factor in the person I am today.

Next thing I know, we are in Stillwater, OK while he went back to school to get his Ph. D. in ruminant nutrition. My mom was working for Mecruiser at the time and since I was six, I couldn’t just stay home by myself in the summer. Therefore, I spent every summer in my dad’s lab while he was doing research. I spent more time there than I think I spent anywhere when I lived in Stillwater. I loved that lab and everything it had to offer. He would give me “science experiments” to do or have me write down the numbers while he weighed out samples of any kind of roughage known to man (of course he wrote the numbers down too, just in case).

He trusted me in the lab which gave me a sense of confidence that I still have to this day. I cherished the trust he had in me and felt so proud. My dad was “my guy”, no one could ever compare to him. He let me play with beakers and clean them out and use the scales, what guy would ever let me do THAT? He would let me play hangman and other little games that doodle pads are perfect for while he was inputting numbers that were crucial for his degree into the computer.

He was always wanting to be involved with my classes. I went to kindergarten at the Child Development Lab on Oklahoma State’s campus. Which was available for anyone employed by or students of OSU which meant that we were constantly around different kinds of education. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had that experience because it really helped me in a lot of ways once I actually started kindergarten. Which was hard for me for the first couple weeks. I mean really hard, all I wanted was my mom or my dad and was having panic attacks at 6 years old. There is a place on campus called the Dairy Bar that had donuts, milk, juice, and anything else that would make a kindergartner feel surrounded but what had to be heaven. He would walk me from the animal sciences building in the morning on the way to kindergarten and we would stop by and get our donuts and just have “daddy-daughter time” before I had to go to school. I learned to adapt and really, really love the CDL. I still talk to a handful of my friends from there now. We had a day where you bring your parent in and they talk about what they do. You know, career day? Well, my dad’s lab was on campus and so he planned it with my teachers that the whole class would walk over to the lab and explain his career. He had candy and we all got to keep a beaker, which in kindergarten is a really big deal. I also remember my first feeling of “cockiness” was that day because it was MY dad’s lab and I was there ALL the time. Needless to say, it was a kindergartener’s way of being incredibly proud.

Once I got into elementary school, the homesickness started again and thank the Lord I had such a great counselor. My dad also made it a point to come to my class once weekly and read to the class after lunch recess. He did that from first grade until the last week of fifth grade, and I don’t think ever missed a day. If anyone is that lucky to have a dad like that, please hug him and tell him thank you. I really took that for granted and wouldn’t have been able to express how thankful I was to have a dad that would do that for me back then. Also, how sorry I am that it took me this long to realize the love that it showed on his part. I was still spending time at the lab only now I was getting old enough and confident enough to explore on my own. To this day, I bet I could walk around the department of animal sciences blindfolded and not get lost. Not to mention the Nobel Center, he had a lab over there too.

During the duration in Stillwater, I was lucky enough to get to hang out at the Purebred Beef Center. I had to look up the “proper” name for it just now because in my book it will forever be the N&P barn. Never did I grasp how much I loved that place until I was standing out at ARDEC, basically CSU’s equivalency, last semester and my professor said there is only 3 like this in the nation. I don’t know how many days I spent at the N&P barn total, but I do know I learned a lot being there. For one I learned how slippery feed rooms are, well at least the one there was. If I was lucky, which usually I was, we would go to McDonalds first and I ordered the same thing I do now- bacon, egg & cheese biscuit with an orange Hi-C. Usually I would be enjoying my meal while sitting on the rail watching my dad who was shoulder deep in a cannula taking samples. The girly stage was almost completely phased out of me by this point.  My love of cattle really took hold because of my time spent there and it didn’t hurt to witness my dad’s love of them so frequently as well. When I would put my arm as far down into the stomach as I could, being grossed out is not a memory I have. I remember a few times I would pull some out and play with it. My dad officially had a son and daughter.

I would explore that place and run up and down the feed bunks while cattle were eating and scare the heck out of them. A lot of times I would just watch them and they would watch me and I loved that, and still do. We regarded each other in the early summer mornings in Stillwater. Those years are really the ones that molded and shaped who I would be. I miss those mornings, not just for the sheer beauty or for the ability to be in a totally different environment that most don’t get. But because rarely was someone else out there at the same time my dad and I were and this got to be our time and we got to just, hang out.

I had friends that were my age, but I loved going to the lab and to the barn so much that I would rather spend time with my dad then go play. I hung out with more adults than I did kids in Stillwater and didn’t mind that. That is really what laid the foundation for my ability to communicate the way that I do.

If I could go back to that for a day, I would in a heartbeat. Every single day was played such a crucial role for me becoming who I was meant to be without consciously being aware of it. I can’t remember what I wanted to be when I was that age, but I can tell you it wasn’t working with cows. Yet, being in that environment in those days plays a huge part in why I want still want to be involved in agriculture.

While he was finishing up he got a job offer to move to central Washington after he was done. Selah, WA was the location we thought would be a good one. Closer to family, away from tornadoes, no more humidity, what could be better? First off, I miss the people in Selah and that’s about it. He was working full time and I was in junior high and part of high school (over the total time span we lived there) so I was still a daddy’s girl, except I was now a daddy’s girl with a social life and boys. Looking back on it, there hasn’t been a relationship yet where I can see a father daughter dance being involved in the outcome. I don’t regret past relationships because they were all good ways for me to learn hard lessons, lessons my dad cannot teach me. He was ready for it when it did go wrong though and always joked about shotguns. He has this way of diverting tears while still implying that it is okay to feel what you’re feeling. He just doesn’t like to see me cry, which goes both ways.

I became tough, tougher than I think I really wanted to be at the time. Almost as tough as my dad, almost. Except when I was told we were moving to Caldwell, ID. That meant closer to family, but further from the people who influenced my life during tough years. I cried and was so mad and wanted to stay. He had been offered the job he is at now and it was a tough one to turn down. Needless to say, I got over it and cannot imagine my life without the people I met in southern Idaho during the last two years of high school.

By this time I was heavily involved in swimming and was finding a passion for the sport unlike anything I have ever felt. I was swimming more than I was breathing it felt, and my body was feeling it too. I had done other sports but never done year-round, club swimming. It was a new kind of hard and I learned to adjust, but it was a struggle. When you spell swimming, you should put the vertical line through each letter like $ because it is not a cheap sport to do. Owning horses is expensive, but swimming seems to still soar high above that. My dad supported, more like spoiled, me the entire time. All while being sarcastic and cringing because I just convinced him to buy a $500 dollar suit that I was going to wear twice.

His work ethic is one that everyone should strive to have. He spends as much time as he can helping others. Even at my swim meets, he was working. He never missed a race, even if he was on the phone with a customer. Since he is still a little kid at heart, often times when we went to the zoo, or aquarium he would go whether he wanted to or not. But, always made sure to sell us on the idea that he really wanted to go and always would say it with a smile.

Swimming is a whole different world and we are some of the most misunderstood athletes there are. It was nice to have my dad there to answer my nutrition questions, and help me learn new stretches, make sure I was eating the right things at the right time, and usually reminding me that I needed to go down to the blocks and stretch, and a few times we lifted together. Well, then I had to have knee surgery and that was a bundle of fun. He we went to all of the appointments he could with my mom and I. He always asked the questions that we forgot to bring up. It was a long process full of physical therapy appointments, modifications to workouts, and ASTYM (don’t ever do that, it hurts tremendously) until we finally were at the point of making the surgery decision. I had already signed to swim in college at this point and so this was not an easy decision to make.

Well, sorry about the gruesome picture, but this is what my dad put up with. He slept on the couch in the living room with because my sleeping pattern was thrown off thanks to the pain medication. And then when the time came, 8 days later, it was senior prom. My mom objected because she was scared I was going to overdo it. I couldn’t NOT go. I enjoyed being a girly-girl for the first time since I was 5. I don’t regret it, but let’s just say when the post-prom options were laid out on the table, my ice machine sounded the best. So I went home and realized I made the best choice.

Graduation came before any of us knew it and I was done with high school and ready to go to college and swim and live life. It made him cry because we were now inches away from me going to college and swimming and living my life. He was sad that it was all happening, and truly, a part of me was as well. I wouldn’t come home and get to make fun of him, or ask him questions, or go get a milkshake with him. It was going to be so different.

But we made it, and still are. It is hard, and it is different but I still love what I am doing. Which is a statement I am unsure that I would be saying if he wasn’t in my life the way he was. I owe a lot to him that I take for granted. He is a huge part of my life, as it should be, but the impressions he has made on me have been monumental. I can’t say I would be homeless and hungry if I didn’t have in my life, but I can say that without his love the feeling inside might be the the same as homelessness and hunger.

Dad,

You have always been the first person I turn to when I had a question or when I need a good laugh. I realize that I overlook some of the things you have done for me that were so monumental. Allowing me to be a part of what you do and to be your “lab assistant” plays a factor in my role as an animal science student. If it wasn’t for you taking me to the lab all the time I wouldn’t instinctively know how to use a pipette, or how to complain about NPR, or know how fast guppies multiply. Growing up without you in my life would change so many things that are crucial skills. I wouldn’t have a sense of humor like I do, which is good and bad, and I wouldn’t be able to let things roll down my back like I do.

Picking out outfits seems to have become somewhat of a struggle since I don’t have you down here to tell me if it looks normal or not. Watching you train Riley and Bella subconsciously inscribed a lot of things I didn’t know when I got Cash. The things we have in common all started when I would follow you around the apartment in Moscow and beg you to put the 101 dalmatians mask on that was made out of the happy meal box. Things like, the ability to laugh at the stupidest things, love of guns, Johnny Cash, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Sons of Anarchy, Deadliest Catch, and love of America. I also seemed to have acquired your swearing and your height. I don’t have as gigantor feet as you do though, hopefully never do. We share a love for science though you speak that and I don’t all the time, but somehow we still seem to get stuff accomplished. If we fight, we move on and are fine in the next 5 minutes. You taught me to respect nature because if you don’t, a mutual respect can never be achieved. You taught me about actually working out and what I needed to do for a strength deficiency in any muscle.

You taught me that there will always be a home to come back to and that no matter what happens, you will have the map if I get lost. My favorite college is Oklahoma State and I am a die hard fan because you allowed me to feel like an equal with you instead of a little kid all the time. You taught me what good steak is and spoiled me enough with it that I’ve become a meat-snob, just like you, since I have been at college. You taught me sports and you taught it to me well enough to be the next Erin Andrews.

You’ve taught me about the industry, and what is real vs. what is an advertisement scheme. You have also taught me that if I open my mouth and just complain all the time, soon no one will want to listen. You taught me that there is humor in anything and no matter the feeling that settles on me everyday, laughing will almost always clear a fog. You also taught me that there is beauty in everything and that my perception is the one that will need to change before I can see witness it for myself.

You taught me that I am beautiful and you showed me why. Saying it a million times won’t be enough times to really emphasize what that has done for me. It is something that you did so well over my life that after 20 years, I still believe it without a doubt in my head. You taught me make up is a waste of money, but you still paid while rolling your eyes. You are one of the biggest reasons why I don’t own a scale and that I can count on two hands how many times I have ever stepped on one. You taught me to be comfortable in my own skin, and if for some reason I am not, that I am the only one who has the power to change it.

You taught me about money, which you are still teaching me. You taught me that being personable will go a thousand times further than greedy. You taught me how to laugh, how to see the best in myself, how to have faith, how to work the programs needed and never got angry when I didn’t want to work them.

You taught me about boys. About what they want, and what they need. You have spent my whole life warning me about what not to do around them and how the wrong ways to get their attention can really turn out badly. You taught me about morals and you taught me that I have the freedom to date anyone that I want. Yet, I have always leaned towards the ones you had a better chance of liking. Not because that is what you wanted, but because you taught me that morals are not a word to say lightly. Personal rules and standards for boys are something that should never be compromised or rationalized. And you’ve always been there for me when I do make a mistake, without judgement and only with love.

But most importantly, you taught me how important it is to be myself and to love who I am. Being who I am is important for many reasons and to never forget that. Out of all the reasons, it was important so that I didn’t get hurt. You taught me it is okay to get hurt but also how important it is to dust myself off and do what I can to get through the day, but that crying is necessary for healing.

You taught me a lot dad. And I cannot explain how much it matters to me. You mean the world to me and I can’t imagine my life without you. Down the road, I don’t know how far, that father-daughter dance will be in front of us. Chances are that one dance will mean more to me than the entire day, because your always my “guy” and I am always your little “girl”.

You’re probably sick of reading by now, and I am sick of typing, but I love you and even though I say it a lot, I still don’t think that’s enough.

-Shel

Check out this link for 50 Rules for Dads With Daughters

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2 comments on “Tim Bodine: The Man, the Myth, the Legend

  1. Sean Pelfrey says:

    Shelly, I grew up with your dad in Grangeville and always considered him a friend, I just recently reconnected with him on Facebook and saw the link to this entry on your blog. It gives me great incite to what has gone one with dad and it great to see not only what he has done with his life but also how he has influenced you. I look forward to catching up with him when I am down in the Boise area. Good luck with school and your swimming.

    Sean

  2. Jana Bone says:

    Shelby,
    Somehow I stumbled upon your blog today and brought a great smile to my face. Your description of your father is priceless. I worked in his lab for one year while in undergrad there at OSU. During that time I would have never imagined the impression he would have left on me, besides never wanting research to be my career! His work ethic and dedication to the research was amazing but more than that was the compassion for the cows within the study. I recall collecting many of rumen samples with him and getting coughed on every time, all the numbers, measuring the feed, the ash and everything else. However, his character as a man/father/husband is what truly left the lasting impression on me. Congrats on all you have accomplished and good luck in all things to come.
    Jana Bone, DVM

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