Remembering my Father

On a Friday night in June 1995, I received a phone call that would change my life.  My father, who was 52 at the time, was in the hospital.  His white horse returned home, saddled, without a rider.  His dog stayed by him until the helicopter arrived to take him off the trail in the mountains east of Tucson.  Every day, his dog paced back and forth by the gate waiting for him to return home.  I held his strong, warm hand in the hospital and sang Amazing Grace to him, but his eyes and brain were swollen.  He would never hear me sing again.  There was nothing I could do to bring him back.


Once, my father and I were riding in a summer rain storm, the kind of storm that fills the parched desert with the aroma of wet creosote and creates rushing rivers where there were once dry washes.  We had to forge the stream to get home, and he jumped right in with his saddled horse.  I followed, gripping my horse’s mane with my fingers while he swam across.  We made it safely to the other side, as we always did on our adventures, feeling invincible.

Another time, when we were racing our horses on a desert trail, I flew off my horse at a full gallop.  As I landed directly on a barrel cactus, thick hooked thorns pierced my back.  My father got off his horse and began pulling the thorns out one by one.  When he had removed them all, he looked me in the eye and said, “Get back on your horse so you won’t be afraid.”  I did, and we rode back home, talking as we went.  He knew that I had to confront my fear right there and leave it behind on the trail.


My dad and I shared a love of nature and wild places.  Perhaps it is these experiences that influenced me to become a water and natural resources attorney and now to run for the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, Board of Directors.  I have two children of my own, and I want to ensure that all our kids continue to have safe, secure, affordable water in the future.  


Please consider donating to my campaign There are over a million voters in Maricopa County, and to win, I must reach thousands of people.  Your donation will help me share my message with the broadest audience possible.  Water is critical to all of us.  Help elect a water law expert to the CAWCD Board.


For two decades, Father’s Day has been bittersweet for me.  But, in time, the pain of losing my dad turned into a feeling of great thankfulness that I got to spend the first half of my life with someone so intelligent, creative, courageous and fun.  His spirit is what makes me leap into new adventures.  Now, when life gets challenging, I just pull the thorns out, get back on my horse and keep riding.  Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads who mean so much to their kids.

Alexandra Arboleda

Make checks payable to: 
Alexandra for Arizona
P.O. Box 55356
Phoenix, AZ 85078-0356

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