Search Results for: A Cowboy's Faith

A Cowboy’s Faith: Plenty of jobs available

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Many people really just don’t want to work.”

Unemployment figures are tabulated regularly, often reporting decline in people with jobs. Of course, with exceptions, most people do work. Yet, they too expect some time off for relaxation, and then are ready to get back to useful employment.

Truth is there are bunches of occupations available. Just look at the want ads, help needed categories on the computer.

Admittedly majority of the tasks require certain skills that are not readily available. Always there are jobs requiring minimal abilities be able to walk, lift, talk, show up, and that’s about it. Oh, there’s a drug test requirement nowadays putting handicap on a certain number, too.

So getting work may not be as easy as it seems. Some folks can’t walk; more others can’t lift; increasing numbers can’t speak so others understand. And, there’s that illegal medication dilemma.

Still, the biggest problem, according to many employers talked to, workers showing up. New personnel come the first day, maybe even regularly for a couple of weeks. Then the worker doesn’t come in or even report in. Sometimes they’ll come in the next day and except to work, and get fired.

Others are forgiven again and again but keep testing the employer until they’re forced to be let go, too.

Even those who are dedicated employees, good workers, seem to have incomprehensible number of conflicts. They have a snotty nose; their children are sick; there’s a ballgame to see; parents are incapacitated; something else.

Soon all vacation time and sick leave are used up. The employee still expects time off. And usually gets it, or quits the job.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Helping others most efficiently

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Everybody has their hand out asking for a hand out.”

That’s not true, but when ‘tis the season of giving, more than ever come solicitations for good doing.

Being on both sides of this equation, it becomes very complicated.

For many years having served on foundation boards seeking assistance, there are obvious needs.

From the opposite side, working with efforts to receive stipends from foundations that assist others, there are those obvious needs as well.

Two key elements come into play in both situations.

Accumulated funds must be distributed to the set effort at hand. It’s not easy knowing who or what has the most need and will put stipends to best use.

Biggest concern though is that all of the generously donated dollars go to the cause for which they were requested.

Most people think if they give a dollar to any worthwhile effort, those needing it receive every penny.

In certain foundations, trusts, and Good Samaritan groups, that’s the way it is. Unpaid volunteers manage funds and are conscientious in wisest distribution of hard-earned stipends donated to help others.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Old repaired for improvement

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Fences don’t last forever.”

That’s a given, but some fences have been around a long time.

Living on this ranch more than 45 years, one north three-strand barbed wire fence has been there much longer.

Granted it’s not been put to much use, with a brome on one side and grader ditch the other.

However, several years in the fall, portable panels were stretched across the south end so mares grazed the grass.

The fence has largely not served much purpose other than turn back for getaway horses or cattle.

Upkeep has been minimal to none with a number of original posts, several which are crooked hedge. Often careless tractor driver has gotten too close, bending and moving posts and breaking wire.

Many wires have been shoddily spliced back together. Actually, there must be a jillion splices with about every kind of barbed wire ever invented.

With desire to keep ranch frontage attractive, that old fence is really an eyesore.

Well, just build a new one would be logical first solution. That’s true disregarding cost, but there’s even bigger dilemma.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Income must balance expenses

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“What happened to all of my money?”
More often than ever, likely, people are asking themselves that question.
Most incomes, despite never being considered enough, are higher than in all of time.
Yet, when month’s end comes the bank account shows nothing or less than that.
It’s a forever situation, but certainly there must be a compounding, because many don’t understand how to keep track.
Honestly, there is very little demanded schooling on how to keep records. Thus, most people have no clue how to record what comes in, and the spending that goes out.
Never has record keeping been done eagerly, but the point came home at the 4-H achievement banquet recognizing project winners.
Formerly 4-H members were required to complete annual records of their projects emphasizing costs and returns. Today, it’s optional and low percentage turn in record books. Consequently, they don’t know how.
Same goes for the vocational agriculture students once demanded to keep exact tally of income and expenditures. Too often that’s not the case anymore.
Now, those youth leadership club members miss out on many awards for failing to complete records.
That’s sad, but real dilemma is those people who don’t even know how to even balance their checkbooks.
Youth organizations are but a small percentage of the coming business generation, and there’s even less training for those others.
Only students in business classes, economics and certain math courses are educated some about receipt and expense tabulation.
So, a very low percentage of the population knows how to figure where their money goes if they know where it comes from.
That has to be the reason there are record numbers of credit card debts. Certainly, bankruptcy cases are expanding more rapidly, too. It’s all due to not recording where the funds are going.
There’s no easy answer. First and foremost, very few people like to keep records.
Bigger issue is that most others have no knowledge about the importance of keeping track of their money. Then, they’ve never been educated about how to balance their checkbooks, let alone all other complexities.
The only possible solution is get back to basic financial education on all levels from grade school up.
Remember Genesis 47:22: “They received an income and lived on that income.” Yet, Acts 21:24: “All expenses were paid in full.”

A Cowboy’s Faith: Two certainties with reprieve

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Nothing is certain, but death and taxes.”

A famous quote often heard and repeated with frequency.

Benjamin Franklin generally gets credit for the comment in 1789. Yet, others claim earlier variations.

Politician Daniel Defoe, supposedly in 1776, said: “Things as certain as death and taxes can be more firmly believed.”

Author Christopher Bullock was credited in 1718: “Tis impossible to be sure of anything but death and taxes.”|

Well, taxes are definite, and essential. Many of today’s services would not exist without the government taking a pinch out of every transaction. The amount they grab is what hurts.

Fuel costs are high, still added taxes are what take them to extreme. Those with oil wells certainly aren’t getting rich in most cases anymore.

Real stinger is extremeness of sales taxes. There’s federal nip, plus state, then local add-ons, county, township, city, really just can’t keep track of them all.

Whatever they’re tacking on the equation, it’s very high percentage of cost for anything. Anybody who sells something has to get their markup to pay overhead and make a living, tariff causes the pain.

A Cowboy’s Faith: That great flying feeling

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.There’s not much better feeling than flying through the air with the greatest of ease.

Trapeze artists of long ago likely came up that description made popular in early day movies.

The Wright brothers knew it, too, when they went about inventing the airplane.

Lots of people get a thrill flying in a wide variety of ways. Of course, airplanes and helicopters, but also air balloons, and those little one-person flying gizmos.

Haven’t heard as much about zip cords lately, but the brave ones like flying off mountains and across the valleys on a cable.

It’s certainly a sensation and unique thrill of sorts riding a horse jumping over fences.

A couple of decades back, opportunity to follow the hounds in a fox hunt through the prairie hills lit the fire. There were two routes, higher fences for longtime traditionalists, and then foot or so high jumps for weak-of-heart beginners.

Shortly after, Western jump was added as a speed event on some horse show bills. The Wonderful Zane made it over 18-inch obstacles just fine.

After determining to ride in English tacked competitions, there were seldom but a couple entries in the hunter hack class. So, why not see if Maggie would jump upon request and enter that event as well?

First time to the 18-inch practice fence, she sashayed away, but on the second try easily went gliding over.

When the pole was hiked another six-inches, the buckskin mare tried but didn’t make it. A back leg hung up and knocked the fence down.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Diversified round orange squash

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.Pumpkins are everywhere, so it seems.

It’s that time of year, certainly, but the round orange squash variety is more prevalent. They’re big business.

A greenhouse planted corn fields to pumpkins with semi-loads of prolific production sold throughout the Midwest.

Another horsewoman acquaintance told about pumpkin growing being so profitable, it’s one family’s sufficient annual income.

Apparently pumpkins are easy to grow on not even the best soil without added nutritive.

Uncertain, if it was seasonal art display, or they were for sale, but one yard passed Saturday had plenty. Hundreds of pumpkins were lined up evenly, spaced 10 feet apart each direction, on the acre.

Yep, pumpkins are main ingredient for making Halloween jack-o-lanterns. That’s all many kids today really know.

More importantly, in opinion, greatest worth is for pie ingredient. What’s better for Thanksgiving Day desert than pumpkin pie with a big scoop of whipped cream?

Pumpkins are really a fruit, and have many other uses. Of course, there’s pumpkin bread, numerous deserts they say, and the specialty drinks being prominently advertised and talked about.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Don’t quit, just stop

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Quitting and stopping aren’t really the same thing.”

There are legitimate arguments to that comment. Dan Webster even uses a number of the same definitions for the words.

Yet, somehow there seems to be a distinct difference.

Quitting some might contend is just giving up, no more effort, the easy way out.

On the other look, stopping is making a sound decision based on practicality, common sense.

To quit has a bad connotation, on the forefront, yet can also be positive action.

Forever, promises have been made. Quit wasting money. Quit eating so much. Quit cussing. Quit arguing.

Those are all positive actions, started with best intentions, lasting for a time, but not followed through.

Yet to quit a job, quit working, quit exercising, quit helping others, quit trying to do better are generally negative.

Of course, many unique situations play into equations, but in the long haul it’s better to never quit.

A quitter is never a winner. Continued pursuit is required to get to the top.

Falling off three horses three times and then quit each of them. That’s a quitter.

A Cowboy’s Faith: The most heartfelt assistance

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Cowboys and cowgirls help one of their own.”

There’ve been sarcastic remarks about contestants doing whatever it takes to beat the opponent. That might be true in certain sports and work environments. It may even occur somewhere in the horse world, but that’s sure not the case in several horseshow circuits.

Some might claim it’s due to seniority, maturity, being an old cowboy. While perhaps occasional indication of such, everybody is always eager to help another.

From wishing good luck, to congratulatory comment, to sympathetic understanding, to advice, to helping hand, whatever, congeniality is forever present.

Most fortunate it is as assistance has been sought increasingly throughout the season.

Outstanding speed event mounts want to do their best every out. Like with athletes in many fields, anticipating nerves create tension expressed in various ways.

Cody rides like a stock horse pleasure winner in the pasture, and warming up in competition pen. Third sense takes ahold when it’s run time becoming extremely cautious about entering the arena.

Without request, help is immediately provided from fellow contestants, gatekeepers, even bystanders. That’s from coaxing to driving to leading from the ground or horseback into the course so the race begins.

No matter the time and experience working with horses, things are still done with poor judgment, being plain dumb. Caring horseshow friends granted most gracious support to every degree when Maggie, rider just mounting, went over backwards.

Handler error admitted; with no blame whatsoever to the smart horse. Still, hard landing made imagined throb slow movement, while damage was real to the horn-broken saddle.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Whistle provides notice, warning

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Five working days a week, the town whistle blows at noon and again at 6 o’clock.”

City slickers are alarmed by the loud shrill questioning: “What’s that?”

Not too many communities regularly sound announcement it’s “dinnertime” and when to officially “stop working.”

Fortunately, the hometown these days continues the practice, although there is occasional malfunction.

Few realize the whistle absence, but there’s typical small town folk uprising when the buzzer continues screeching for extended time.

Rural town visitors always comment about the twice-a-day whistles, yet sirens are common place in the state’s capital city. There are also loud chimes that city churches regularly toll, certain days, specific times.

Some country churches still faithfully, thankfully, continue ringing the church bell, or semblance thereof, at Sunday starting time.

Even when there are real bells with truly beautiful melody, they don’t ring when electricity’s off or timer’s caput. That’s not a problem when the deacon, pastor or church board member pulls the bell rope.

Mid-last-century, Mr. Fisher, the Garfield Grade School principal, came out of the front door every school day morning at 8:15. With copper-colored bell in hand, he’d select one of the students for ringing the bell “school’s ready to start.”

A Cowboy’s Faith: Lost are always found

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.Somebody said it’s called “mazeophobia.” That’s a big word for fear of being lost.

Probably not actually a fright of such so much as it sure is easy to not know where one is.

It’s happened a jillion times in the big chain store parking lot, several times at a dozen airports and a handful of major cities.

As bad as or perhaps worse than getting lost in a metropolis is in a multi-section Flint Hills pasture. When there’s native prairie as far as can be seen everywhere, it’s difficult to know which direction is which. Fortunately, ranch managers have that keen sense, while bewildered wannabees sometimes ride in circles.

Worse case urban scenario was in a Boston, Mass., rented car trying to find the horse show grounds. That same coin-throw-toll bridge was driven over several times before making the correct turn.

Another nightmare memory was trying to find the Seattle, Wash., airport for a 3 o’clock morning flight. Repeated calls to the show manager kept responding: “It’s right there.” No, it wasn’t, but fortunately figured out where it was, just before the stewardess closed the airplane door.

Can’t help but reflect, too, on 1968 when lost in the state fair parking lot. Had ridden with neighbors to the best groomed boy contest, and was meeting at 4 o’clock to come home. Obviously lost was found.

Semblances occurred twice in recent weeks trying to locate horseshow arenas in small northeast Kansas communities. Maps, the internet and show bills all provide directions, but they’re vague or incomplete.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Unique purchase is right

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“What kind of cowboy he is can be told by the boots he wears.”

Not unlike the shape and color of hat, brand and fit of jeans, or shirt style.

Of course, there are many opinions. What one thinks best another wouldn’t be seen wearing “such weird-looking boots.”

Boots generally have little to do with one’s horseback abilities, but that’s arguable, too.

High tops on boots provide lower leg and ankle protection from stirrup leather friction while fending off brush. Upon dismounting, boot tops again protect legs from rocks, shrubs and even rattlesnakes.

Some claim high tops allow a cowboy to pull his foot out of the boot, preventing being dragged when bucked off. Unfortunately, not always, speaking from experience.

There are stove top boots, short round tops and variations in-between. Some feature about every array of fancy stitching, and others none at all.

Lace up tops, what some call packer boots, were popular mid-last-century. Disappearing for a while, there was comeback, but never personal appeal. Advantage of boots, in opinion, is slip on, not tie on.

Heels and toes create considerable cowboy controversy.  The angled “cowboy” heel is higher than the lower “walking” heel, varying from the squared-off “roper” heel. Fitting of spur onto the boot above the heel draws varied pros and cons, too.

About every extreme of toe shape has existed, come, gone, and returned through two centuries of horsemen wearing boots. Round toed boots in some form have remained throughout the years.

Square toes were popular in the 1950s, being replaced by pointed toes, sharper the better, often hurting toes. Square toed boots have returned with many thinking they’re the only kind.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Pleasant memories of inspirational hero

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Don’t smile at a funeral.”

Whoever said that would’ve been offended by reflections bringing pleasantries at recent graveside services.

Uncontrollable, the honorable feeling as the good pastor put 92 years into 15 minutes.

True living, farm life to the ultimate, yet most remarkably one of the very best people ever known. Wasn’t acquainted with Max until he provided sheep for a judging contest hosted by neighbor farm couple.

Always the most personable gentleman, remaining-lifetime friendship soon established. When that annual field day became this ranch project, Max was most dependable help.

Sometimes call-request was late, but the class or two of sheep always arrived early. Whatever assistance needed, moving livestock, taking reasons, collecting cards, Max did it.

A quarter-of-a-century, sometimes beautiful, sometimes icy cold. One frigid day, big wooly sheep escaped. Younger set scattering to retrieve from a 10-acre field, Max grinned the way for which he was best known.

At first-year horse sale during the field day, Tyson offered Little Jo, filly he’d trained, for auction. Apparent affection between not-yet-teenager and proud-project created sentimentality.

Max’s heartstrings touched, demanding: “You can’t sell that boy’s horse.” Gavel dropped, but Jo remained.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Teenager projects serving today

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.

“A strong gate is essential to keep the horses in.”

Oh, sometimes a single wire or makeshift floorboard panel will do the job. Still, generally to keep “hay-burners” confined requires dependable fencing, yet convenient way for cowboy and mount in and out.

Five steel gates constructed 50 years ago with pipe and welding rod still serve that purpose well.

Grocery carryout boy-wannabe cowboy finished the freshman agriculture fill-in blank notebook fast. That was requirement to get into the shop to learn how to weld. Welding rod stuck to the steel, burned holes in jeans, stinging eyes from the rays, blisters received touching hot metal.

Nonetheless, skill gained such that test welds sometimes outscored farm kids who were supposed to already know how.

Vocational agriculture then was a two-hour class for sophomores. A personal project had to be constructed, or work on FFA road signs and hog feeding floor.

Old wire and makeshift wooden dilapidated gates were almost same as none, so efforts were directed to building steel replacements.

Measurement was taken of the first big hole in the fence and construction began. Inch-and-a-quarter pipe from the school pile was power sawed to appropriate lengths.

Upper-downer pieces were ground so top and bottom pipes would fit into them for convenient welding and strength. Five-eighth-inch sucker rods were pounded to bend and fit at 45-degree angles from end pipes to center piece as braces.

Two pieces of three-quarter-inch pipe were welded on one end to serve as hinge with L-bolts in the corner post. Steel caps were welded over open pipe ends, and all welds were ground smooth to enhance appearance.

Steel woven wire exact length of gate was purchased at Rumsey & White Hardware Store on the way to school. Strands were individually wired to one end pipe. Opposite end of the wire went around an additional pipe with three-eighth-inch bolts tightening the woven wire across gate opening.

Project got a blue ribbon at the county fair, and is still in use, with a heavier cattle panel replacing the original wire.

Actually, four more gates, with a few adjustments for improvement, were also made to rate the FFA chapter farm mechanics medal.

Reminds of Joshua 8:30: “He built it following the instructions of the teacher.” Then, John 15:3: “It has greater strength and usefulness than before.”

A Cowboy’s Faith: Old prize still used

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Pack the bag and hit the road.”

Not used nearly as often as many would, suitcases are helpful convenience when forced to be away from the ranch.

Oh, a brown paper bag or plastic sack work for an extra shirt and jeans when just a few hours. Hanging the extras in the pickup is convenient, too. However, when gone overnight or a couple of days, luggage generally comes into use.

It’s the golden anniversary for the well-worn blue turquoise suitcases still being packed and serving fine. Fund raising effort for the junior class in those days was magazine sales to help pay for the annual prom. Maybe today’s high school teenagers still sponsor theirs that way, uncertain?

To make it a competitive effort among classmates, prize was given to top salesperson on the first day. Always wanting to beat others, up and down Main Street, all the grocery store lady friends, family everywhere solicited.

Ramona and a couple other go-getters had sales pads filled. But, the redneck grocery store carryout-wannabe cowboy had more signed lines at check-in.

Made from cardboard, with “cheap” plastic-type covering, original cost for the suitcases couldn’t have been much. Recipient was still pleased.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Complications of modern communications

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Where’ve you been? I’ve tried to call six times, and the phone just keeps ringing.”

That aggravated customer Thursday afternoon wanted to get a Saturday night dance advertised on the radio.

It was an offensive setback, as anxious to assist anybody wanting to spread good news and increase patronage. Most humbly apologized for the inconvenience making sure it wasn’t a direct line call, because they’re always answered efficiently.

No, the main number had been dialed, and it’s been going through transitions. Relieved, explanation cleared the air, so direct contact will be made in the future.

Modern technology to increase efficiency seems more time consuming than old ways. When wanting to talk to somebody at a business with many employees, it’s a major rigmarole.

After excessive rings, typically, a machine answers. Mechanism is usually apparent, yet sometimes it sounds like a real person, and conversation begins. There are situations when a verbal response is requested, and occasionally even correctly acted upon.

More common, the contraption first explains that everything will be recorded, so “please don’t be vulgar.” Then, “punch in the extension of the person wanted.”

Generally, there’s no clue what that number is. Others must be naïve too, as the next step is “say the first three letters of the first, (or last) name.” Another problem, “how’s Cathy spell it, C or K?”

Even when correct extension is known, automation doesn’t heed the ranch phone dial. These phones are only 46 years old and work fine. They shouldn’t be replaced with push buttons to call somebody.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Blessings of the rain

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Rain makes the grass grow.”

That’s good from every regard, way better than the opposite.

“When have the crops looked any better in the second week of August?”

Appreciating the sufficient rains on the home front, another rancher just 30 miles down the highway instantly contradicted. “We really do need a rain.”

Weather analysis not particularly disgruntled or even disagreeing always brings comment. It depends on locale, certainly. A field just down the road from another might have a bumper crop, compared to mediocrity.

Semblance, overall majority of crops appear lush driving by, but it’s not always the accurate picture. Several days earlier when temperature exceeded 100 degrees, curling plant leaves were most apparent. Yields undoubtedly hampered, although difficult to calculate extent.

Date of planting has direct influence on grain in the bin. Date of rains, temperature during stage of growth, it’s all left up to the power of nature. Just a few days make the difference between profits, loss.

Native grass in most pastures seen daily truly is stirrup high on a 16-hand horse. Even those intensely grazed generally have comeback of lush green, ample to turn more cattle out.

As importantly, ponds are full, many overflowing the spillway. Creeks running, as draws and wet weather seeps supply water, too.

Depending when and where, tame hay tonnage set records, as other was reported average, even low.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Doing what’s most important

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“It’s impossible to be everywhere at the same time.”

Something has to give, and it’s a major decision deciding which that’s going to be. More so, determining the one of many things wanted to do in a day.

What is the most important? Whatever selected means missing out on all of the others. Always in the busy life conflicts arise among opportunities.

It seems to strike harder than ever as calendar schedule overflows the lines. Life was supposed to be simpler in maturity, but opposite it’s become.

Reality of that has definitely moved to forefront in recent days. With a fulltime off-ranch job to assure bills are paid, evenings and weekends are packed with catchup chores.

Add to the complexity, so many “social” activities one desires to partake. Saturday, there were two “important” horse shows that needed to be participated in for valuable yearend points.

After serious deliberation determination made to attend the one with most events, efficiently using horse, rider, dollars, and time. Just “gave the winnings” to the competition at the other show, because couldn’t be there to try to beat them.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Demand despite industry changes

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Hogs are mortgage lifters for farmers.”

That philosophy commonplace in agriculture for decades has changed. The fact came to mind during a hog show at the county fair.

Most farming operations included hog production for many years. It was because hogs generally earned some profit when other aspects of agriculture were losing money.

Nearly every farm had hogs, chickens and milk cows in the first half of the previous century. While poultry and dairy became specialized quicker, hogs remained on many farms longer. Now they’re much fewer and farther between.

Even if there weren’t larger numbers, many farmers kept a few sows to raise pigs. They’d either sell them as feeders or finish to market weight. Others specialized in buying and growing the pigs, perhaps considered easier than farrowing.

Hog enterprises appeared so enhancive in the final quarter of the previous century that many farmers built elaborate facilities. Some reaped good profits for several years. Others soon found demands to produce pigs’ profitability far less glamorous than those selling buildings claimed.

The industry’s changed completely. Vast majority of pork today is produced by “corporate hog factories.” Similarities to any other workplace except caring for live animals from mating through dinner plate. Well almost, as processing is still separate entity for most hog production.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Living to the fullest

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“You can’t take it with you.”

That comment comes to mind again with recent passing of a college judging team mate.

“Live life to the fullest. One never knows when it’s coming to an end on Earth.”

Another repeated remark hits home when 20 percent in a class of 100 have already gone beyond.

“Checked the obituaries again today and name wasn’t there, so still alive.”

One more observation heard on occasion.

Morbid as might be, second page death reports generally the first thing read in the daily newspaper.

Tongue and cheek, not actually checking for own announcement as such. Yet, as lifelong newsman with bred-in nosiness, truly am interested in those who have died.

Sadly too many are acquaintances. Plus always like to learn about others’ stories, big timers, and especially the common folk.

Still, date of birth is always of special note. Those who’ve lived into their 80s, 90s and 100s are true inspiration.

Why are they different? Did they eat better? Exercise more? Work harder? Is it in their genes? One wonders?

Of greater alarm is the number of those dying who aren’t even yet 65. Almost every day, there are some. Many don’t reach what as a retiree one could consider “maturity.” Cause of passing is notable, and if not reported question arises, why?

Then, when it’s a child, teenager or young adult, there’s even more intense grief. How come? They have missed so very much here.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Kid remains in cowboy

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“You need to act your age.”

Uncertain exactly how that comment was meant to be interpreted? So, it was taken as a compliment.

Doesn’t really matter, but likely referred to being in every horseshow class could get in.

Even those where most entries were young sprouts, especially compared to wannabe’s maturity.

Expense to get to a competition so great; philosophy is to participate in everything.

It takes a long while for things to soak in a thick head. Mom always encouraged, “ride in pleasure.” Never did, with excuse: “Nellie won’t back.”

Really didn’t even realize horses were supposed to be in a certain “lead”; hardly knew what “gait” was. Thought if horse could walk, trot, canter on command, was doing pretty doggone good.

Story out of school here, hadn’t heard the word “lead” until after first professionally judged horseshow years later. For unknowing, “lead” is “which set of legs, left or right, leads or advances forward when a horse is cantering, the same as loping, or galloping.” The horse has more coordinated balance in the correct lead.

Anyway, now do what Mom said to do: “Ride in every class.” Some shows that’s 25 events.

“All on one horse?” somebody asked. No, two. One for “performance” classes, a misnomer word in itself, and another for “speed” events, self-explanatory.

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