This post is long overdue. I’ve taken this long to write it only because there is so much to say, it was just a matter of organizing my thoughts, while I sifted through what feels like a warehouse of memories, laughter, and good times. I think this is a normal when we lose someone we care about, and who also left a significant mark on our lives. We grieve, we remember the good times, and we feel deep gratitude for having known them.
Our friend, John Graf was a significant participant in shaping Rancho La Bellota, into the productive ranch it is today.
On one of his many visits to the ranch, John found out Raul was looking to buy a tractor so we could begin planting oats for our horses. The plan was to raise our own feed, because when paying $14.00 a bale for 18 horses, this gets extremely expensive within a yearly margin.
Raul and John were sitting in the kitchen having coffee together one morning, and Raul told him of his plans to plant the fields with oats, and John said he had an old tractor he didn’t use anymore, so he not only offered it to Raul, he actually gave it to us.
A few weeks later, Raul went to pick it up in San Diego, and when he saw the old tractor, he couldn’t believe his eyes. What old tractor? It looked brand new! John insisted he never used it, and if Raul wanted it, the tractor was his.
From that day forward, every year,Raul has planted over 90 acres of oat fields with Old Blue, his faithful tractor John gave him. We’ve saved so much money-raising our own feed for the horses and the cows, we couldn’t have a received a better gift, and we are forever grateful to John for that.
Although Old Blue has been the star of the show during planting season, it doesn’t hold a torch to the memories we have of John as a person and what he stood for.
Raul and I are forever grateful to John for his wonderful gift, and we are equally grateful for having known him for as long as we did. John was a person who instantly made you feel comfortable, and at ease. His good humor, and positive attitude towards life, even at the height of his illness was felt by all who knew him.
When John would visit the ranch, he was always ready to ride, to take on a new adventure, and experience all he could within the time he was there, and we were more than happy to go with him on these exciting adventures.
Honestly,it wasn’t the ride, or where we happened to be going on any given day, it was about riding with him, and the fact that we were able to spend time with him, our friend John, that really mattered.
Thank you John Graf for being a person of immeasurable quality, a person of integrity and heart.
With Love and fond memories forever,
Raul, Ricky, and Caroline Aguiar