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A Cowboy’s Faith: Cowboy to ‘Great Beyond’

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Say, I have a couple of broncs I got from a rodeo contractor up northwest. They wouldn’t buck, and I want you to break ’em to ride!”

That was first introduction to Keene more than a dozen years ago. It was beginning of a real cowboy friendship, great camaraderie with a most unique, talented individual.

Only realizing he’d passed last month, after seeing an estate auction advertisement – it was truly heartfelt loss.

All of the Keene experiences were instantly reflected. Smile automatically, uncontrollably spreads just remembering.

Roaring into the ranch yard, diving out of the pickup, Keene was all grins unloading those horses to train. “Rodeo broncs” was no exaggeration, at least in appearance.

Don’t know how old, but big, rugged, scarred, branded, rough hair, tangled long manes, tails, untrimmed at-least-shoe-size-four-feet, roan, draft horses.

Tales of the horses, his life’s adventures flowed as now-broader-grinning Keene aired meager expectations. “You get ’em started, and I’ll ride ’em,” promise taken lightly.

Never “gentle giants,” the “broncs” were rideable with enough cowboy try. Keene had that. Not perfect, they did everything: cattle work, trail rides, fox hunts, pulled wagons, whatever their big cowboy-owner decided.

Actually, that’s the best way to really know Keene. There wasn’t anything Keene couldn’t do and not much he didn’t do in his most colorful life, not all realized until reading eulogy.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Primping is big deal

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Show stall area is a beauty shop.”

That’s certainly a fact when one is getting horses ready to compete. Thick red lipstick, heavy powder, rouge and eye shadow are common nowadays for young cowgirls competing at horseshows.

It’d never influenced placings on judging cards days gone by. However, now realize getting the cowgirls all decked out is a major ordeal. No less than a half-dozen cowgirls were seated in chairs strewn down three alleyways of the stall barn.

Seemed to be mommas mostly as the beauticians or cosmetologists, whatever they’d be. Each had small tightly-packed makeup cases with the necessities, and portable working tables at side.

Never heard any “sit still,” or “quit fidgeting,” but raised chins and squinting eyes seemed common pose for the primping rigmarole.

Hairdos were included, too, with hint of old-fashioned-ism, as typically long styles were pulled tightly into buns bottom back of necks. Evidently doing that’s so hair didn’t fly wild with rough horse gaits. Sure took special knack too, so hats would fit over the hair yet look appealing.

Hats are another tale for sure, but today’s show participants better understand importance of well-shaped, proper-fitting head cover to the overall picture.

That’s different than decades ago when cowgirls, and definitely cowboys, often seemed to be competing in the “ugly hat contest.” Ill-shaped, dusty, sometimes looking like they been slept in, used as a cushion, or stored under the pickup seat.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Many methods of communicating

buchmanhead“They’re all marbles in the jar.”

Comment said frequently around the office helping customers coordinate efficient advertising.

First, must reflect the marble collection six decades ago. A quart jar in grandma’s closet about half-filled with marbles. Little plastic bags with half-dozen marbles came in cereal boxes for a time, and accumulation grew.

Never a champion, marbles were played during early schooldays. Teachers disallowed playing for “keeps,” meaning winner got the other’s marble. Of course, that rule was broken, just for the sake of not following rules. Sure wonder what happened to all of those marbles in the jar?

Subject at hand, there are so many ways to communicate today compared to even a few years ago.

Newspapers began in the late 1600s, continuing, contrary to some saying, “Newspapers are dead.” Admittedly, circulation and hardcopy readership are lowest in a long time.

The United State Postal Service in 1775 grew from horses to trains, through new technologies delivering mail worldwide. Modern inefficiencies are another yarn.

Since 1844, telegrams hand-delivered messages anywhere on the planet, yet almost impossible now.

A Cowboy’s Faith: ‘No getaway’ scheme awaits

buchmanhead“Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.”

There’s controversy who said that and when the comment was made. Originally quoted in the 1880s, it’s a true statement, known for certainty.

Still nobody’s come up with that perfect mousetrap. That has to be because those little furry varmints are so doggone smart.

Whatever the trapping method tried, those ornery pests keep scampering across the kitchen floor. Perhaps a seasonal dilemma when the light-grayish-tan menaces come most frequently. Recent wind, hail and heavy rain sure brought more into protective cover.

A half-dozen “old reliable snap-traps” were set all around baited with cheese, butter, even peanut-butter.

“Snap” gave relief of successful kill, until checking revealed bait gone, but no catch. Oh, once there was a young mouse without wisdom enough to shy away.

It’s those old fat ones that find stealing trap food easier than scrounging for table drops.

There’s some success with expensive glue-traps. Problem with them more than once ended up on the house-shoes when stumbling around.

For several days, that mischievous nightly intruder evaded every effort to catch. Big glob of whatever-nutritious-enhancer was always gone from the snap-trap, as it seemingly just sashayed from those gluey-supposedly-snares.

Finally, a mouse-trapping-maze was rigged. Glue-traps were set all around heavily-baited snap-trap.

Success at last, the plump invader with midnight supper in mouth sure enough snapped tight into the old-trapping-rigmarole.

Footprints in the glue-traps plain evidence he’d stepped right through only to still get caught. There is always tactic to outsmart wise-old-freeloaders.

However am thinking about inventing an infallible mousetrap. That’ll never happen, records indicate. The world won’t beat a path to the door.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Appreciating all those ‘Mothers’

buchmanheadMaternal encouragement is often forgotten yet essential to happiness and success.

Nobody replaces one’s own mother, but motherliness of others’ helping and guiding is often taken for granted.

Of course, Mother’s Day always brings reflections of Mom, who’s already been gone nearly 35 years. Seldom does anything occur that there’s not pondering “what would Mom think, do, advise?”

As elaborated in the past, of all acquainted from every aspect, none compare to Mom’s big heartedness. Yet, that was very sadly overshadowed unapparent to many by her always brashness, perhaps seeming bossy mannerisms. It was quite opposite becoming most evident with passing time.

Yet, need to acknowledge the many other “mothers” through the lifetime providing “nurturing.”

Common likely for many, right after Mom come the Grandma. Two of course, with the paternal cherished as second-mom.

Fondness reflects for her all of 60 pounds before school, after school, always. Remember stringing penny-trinkets, vanilla ice cream cones, even stinky long Kool’s smoke, ashes in the cauliflower.

Several aunts had certain warm specialness, more apparent and appreciated through decades.

Luvella, Dad’s sister, just Lu – no much more than “just”. Perhaps satisfactorily indescribable, forever Aunt Lu was there, whatever. Smart, ornery, loving, knowing, showing, protective, devoted, never critical Mom for her nephew replacing the children she never had.

Unless experienced unusual to most, be remiss to overlook tender, gentle, affectionate, momma-ways of the grocery store customers. Notwithstanding cookies, Kool-Aid and like, their expressions of joy and appreciativeness remain intimate.

Again many likely not understanding is those dozens of coworkers’ devoted maternal understanding. Maybe it’s because boys become men, still acting like boys, cowboys. That seems to develop a certain forgiving, knowing help-is-required, understanding. Men always need Mommas.

Through six-decades-plus, every day, today, amazing the obviously kind care, generosity, helpfulness of women working side-by-side in everything there is to do. Dumb old man appreciates the assistance.

Sometimes acknowledged with scowl, “Mom,” mother of the children, undebatable mothers the spouse. Thankfulness for those cooperating, caring, mechanical-farming abilities, most importantly forgiving attributes in every endeavor.

Certainly, no admittance and definite denial thereof, roper-daughter even provides that maternal goodwill attentiveness, always with downplay smirk.

Mary, mother of Jesus, is the greatest of all mothers.

Reminds of Luke 1:42: “Mary is blessed among women.” So, Luke 1:31: “Let it be done to according to your word.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Farm youth feats endure

buchmanheadIt’s actually carrying on a family tradition.

Better than that in several ways. Old high school auditorium Thursday evening, only grandchild, a grandson, was welcomed to the stage several times.

His name called for participating in many agriculture competitions and dedicated work for the FFA chapter.

Strong reflections of almost-half-a-century ago in the then-lunchroom when town kid’s adrenalin was highest ever been.

A really big deal for a grocery store, wannabe-cowboy attending a major agriculture function. At least, heartbeat and thought such a major affair.

After filling out several award applications without much accomplishment to record, hopes were high for at least name to be said.

Contrary to these days, FFA was an all-boy agricultural education organization, no girls allowed then. A formal affair with members’ officially dressed blue and gold jackets, white shirts, four-in-hand ties, moms and dads in Sunday attire.

Sweating throughout the ceremonies and program, reprieve came with announcement to receive the farm and home improvement medal.

That tiny little gold token was pride and joy shown to those all around, with grocery-store-customer-friend Velva Blanton admirably grinning like it really was something. Was and is to the young-now-most-mature recipient as today the worthless-to-most piece displays in a frame on the old home bedroom wall.

Nothing compared to the grandson or that of his dad. Already been a quarter century since the son crossed recognition stage numerous times, making parents beam, too. That now-career-cowboy’s teenage highlight was nationwide acclaim in tools-of-his-trade: horses.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Mysterious how things work out

buchmanhead “Blondes really are more fun, huh?”

Hard of hearing humpback old cowboy didn’t comprehend the question-comment the first time. When the cowgirl on the fancy gray repeated her remark louder with an ornery grin, it soaked in.

Had ridden Maggie the buckskin in a dozen classes, so the changing mounts was notable to competition. It was racing time, and as diversified as Maggie really is, putting gas to her makes slowing down difficult.

To get name called in performance events requires snail pace for some officials, a continuing show controversy. So Cody, the palomino, a blonde by another’s description, was called in for speedy service. It was his first official outing under present ownership.

Still, the game is old hat, with intent for him to take care of the even more mature pilot.

Missy, 26, his speedster predecessor, definitely pouts when the trailer loads, and she’s not aboard.

New shoes, dedicated exercise program, nutrition supplements gave the biggest-hearted-ever Appaloosa racer first shot.

Determination unwavering, yet age, big kneed, bent-over right front leg couldn’t stand pressure even relaxing in pen. Pain showed through, despite the old mare’s obvious attempts to disguise it.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Those weeds are delicacies

buchmanhead“They are the best dandelion growers in the country.”

None too few have made that evaluation driving past the ranch.

“Wow, they sure know how to grow the biggest, lushest, thickest dock in the world.”

That’s been said by those missing the yard, looking into fields just beyond.

Both remarks have some truth to them. As appreciated rains have come, weeds have far outgrown the grass.

Intent is always to get ahead of the problem by spraying herbicides. At least once in 46 years, the yard was sprayed early, and that did the trick for a while until seed blew in from somewhere.

Nothing’s been done this year, and the pretty yellow flowers quickly seed, spread and overtake grass.

Broadleaved dock weeds in the field can also be slowed down with chemical. That’s verified by application last week almost instantly putting wilt to the two-foot tall menaces. Just wish it’d been earlier, when planned.

While applying poison to living form isn’t appealing, that’s about the only control. Mowing both early green intruders does no good.

Seemingly impossible to dig all of the acres of dock, yet do admire the lawn dandelion pullers. However, they’re wasting their time, as experts claim plants grow right back unless the three-feet-deep taproot is completely removed.

Come to find out these fast growing green spring menaces have admirable traits. Both are recommended as eating delicacy, although that’s strictly hearsay.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Hazardous smoke essential tool

buchmanhead“Where there’s fire, there’s smoke.”

“When there’s wind, the smoke spreads.”

Known always, yet reported problematic much more in recent years.

City concerns come to forefront when ranchers strike matches clearing surplus pre-year pasture growth.

Government has come into action creating rulings such conditions must be met before burns begin. Still, Mother Nature always has the upper hand.

Moisture, humidity, temperature, wind all “just right,” lawmaker’s permission granted, everything can immediately go awry.

Numerous factors create “change” in well-planned blazes. Foremost is immediate transition in wind speed and direction.

Hazards are instantly created from what appeared safe now becoming uncontrollable.

Destructive fires in the southwest last month and a year ago best portray the most serious dilemma. Extent of losses rightly overrode the smoke issue, then. Yet, quickly forgotten when thousands of acres Flint Hills were aflame last week.

Smell and fog were in the air all around. Sky-covered haze and distinctive, derogatory aromas drifted. Robust gusts changing and moving distributed those tell-tale incinerator accompaniments. That’s beyond rural communities, the state’s largest cities and into neighboring states.

Smoke alarms sounded, so to speak, as good-doers miles away from ranchland shouted. “There’s smoke in the air. It’s hazardous to our people’s health.”

A Cowboy’s Faith: The week of bigheartedness

buchmanhead“So many are so very generous.”

While often offended by beggars with their hands out, there’s always somebody offering assistance. That’s amazing itself, contrary to others who won’t lift a hand.

Seemingly those asking for help obviously receive it, or in reality they wouldn’t continue. Furthermore, what to help and what not to help is major dilemma. Some certainly deserve, needing in the worst way. Others make their living taking from those generous ones, when they could be working.

Awareness of generosity has become even more apparent in recent days. One is the county 4-H foundation which was started four decades ago to assist 4-H members. Serving as a trustee of the group three-fourths of that existence, phenomenal has been the generosity of support.

From six visionaries with nothing but love of the 4-H program, annual token giving with conscientious saving and investment has become a major assistance. First and foremost is helping 4-H members reap more opportunities in becoming leaders of the future.

More than 2,000 young people have participated in camps, learning experiences and leadership development through generosity of others. Many would have never had those valuable encounters without such assistance.

Most inspirational is how people continue their generosity. It’s never ceasing, always expanding, even naming memorials for others.

The Easter story is marked by extravagant generosity with no strings attached.

Holy Week finalizes Lent as preparation through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial.

On Palm Sunday, Jesus riding a colt, accompanied by his disciples, went into Jerusalem, while crowds covered the streets with cloaks and palms.

Monday, Jesus chased money-changers out of the temple, and then preached in Jerusalem on Tuesday and Wednesday.

After washing the disciples’ feet Thursday, Jesus celebrated Feast of the Passover, instituting the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Praying after supper, Jesus was arrested by the temple guard and taken to an illegal Jewish court.

On Friday, Roman soldiers escorted Jesus to the place of the skull where he was crucified. On Saturday, Jesus rested in the tomb while his disciples observed the Sabbath.

On Easter Sunday, an angel at the tomb announced that Jesus was risen from the dead.

Reminds of Romans 8:28: “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

A Cowboy’s Faith: The records for eternity

buchmanhead“Sometimes it’d sure be nice to be like those folks who don’t keep anything.”

That is until something’s needed, don’t have it, and no way to find or recover.

Many coworkers and family have no records whatsoever. Everything’s used, pitched, forgotten about.

Completely the opposite here, as attempt is made to retain proceedings of all happenings.

That’s the problem. Doing as many different things this many decades creates overflow.

There’s so much filed away, impossible to remember where?

This is not hoarding. It’s keeping information that’ll be of value in the future?

Elementary days’ assignments on Switzerland, the other Quantrill, stored in a box in Grandma’s pantry. Always knew they were there. When fire damaged that apartment, the upstairs was shut off, building sold. Wonder and haunts if those reports are still where put?

Filing became official in high school with a steel-drawer cabinet. Writings, clippings, photos of those years remain stored.

Into married ranch life, first one file-cabinet, then another, several by now. All full, and don’t know what’s in what?

Complexity increased with job filing as desk drawers were soon jam-packed. More cabinets acquired, and backroom idle ones used too.

Then suddenly three-and-a-half decades of accumulations a forced job change. Oh no, what about all these files?

A Cowboy’s Faith: Old way still best

buchmanhead“Which is worst: bathtub won’t hold water, or drain won’t let the dirty water out?”

Don’t seem questions one would consider, and insignificant most likely contend.

That’s not the case when such predicaments occur.

There’d never been any problems if the tub had a plug like common everywhere half century ago.

Nowadays, every new sink and bathtub is equipped with a spring loaded gizmo. That’s supposed to keep the water in and then let it out when finished.

A “mechanical device” is going to malfunction sometime, that’s certain.

Every one of six such water-retainer devices new when the home was built decades ago has gone caput.

Major overhaul of the bathtub’s water system gave confidence that new would be better than the old.

Yet, as soon as the plumber had the project completed, it became apparent trouble was still ahead. The thingamajig was hard to shut, and often nearly impossible to open.

Fighting with the drain opening daily for months, finally the clamped down apparatus would not allow the water out.

Despite pounding, kicking, prying, hollering, the dumb thing was locked tight.

Finally gave into mechanics tools to get the supposedly-sophisticated mechanism “unglued.” No hammer, but pliers and screwdriver combined gave enough force to unlatch the water hole stopper.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Work must be done

buchmanhead“The barn needs cleaned so bad, there’s no room for the horse to get in.”

Not that way here, but it’s been such many times in certain farm barns.

Literally, bedding and waste get so piled up, it’s just a couple feet to the ceiling. Horses and cattle can’t stand up even if they crawl through the doorway.

Keeping barns and barnyards cleared of wastes is a major ordeal when one owns livestock.

A fulltime job literally, and in tight confinement of a small stall missing daily cleaning is apparent. A horse living in its own waste, one could say.

At least annually, barnyards must be cleaned with tractor, loader and dump truck or spreader. More often if large numbers are in small areas at all times.

Stall cleaning certainly has never been a forte. With 15 horses in every stall, makeshift pens, inside and outside cluttered bedding often got pretty deep.

Attempt made for “lick and promise” when one went home and another came. Thing about it, through all of the horses and decades, not once did anybody criticize. Concern was always more how their horse rode, because that’s what was requested and paid for.

Clean horse stalls of others have always been admired. There are big time commercial facilities that are truly immaculate. Clean enough to eat off of has been said.

With exceptions, generally it’s not the trainer doing the stall cleaning. There’s fulltime staff assigned that task. They also feed, water, brush, saddle, warm up, cool out and put away horses.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Encouragement follows fire devastation

buchmanhead“There’s nothing more powerful than fire. Nothing’s more destructive than fire.”

Uncontrollable acts of nature, tornadoes and flooding are dreadful with lost lives and property.

Fire is different as seen possible to restrain. It is not when ample fuel powered by unrelenting wind expands dominance.

Despite modern technology, when fire and wind pair, there is no stopping until one or the other ceases.

Point came to haunt again with the biggest wildfire on record in Kansas last week. It was just a year after a previous record setting blaze of destruction in the state.

Incomprehensible to those who’ve never experienced situations when dry foliage, spark and gust come together.

Just one time when a planned Flint Hills burn goes awry with wind’s increased speed and change of direction there’s never doubt of fire’s power.

Losses yet incalculable from those most recent wildfires continue mounting with recovery efforts underway.

Wind calming and sparse moisture promise reprieve while further devastation fear remains for reigniting accompanied by unyielding nature.

Horrification is most decisive as human lives are lost when unable to move out of runaway fire’s deadly path.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Finance management most difficult

buchmanhead“Money is a strange creature.”

That might sound peculiar to many, but it’s definitely true.

What does “money” really mean? Mr. Webster and his collaborating cohorts have come up with more than three dozen synonyms (a word substitute or alternate expression) for money.

That is why people from all walks of life around the world are so confused when the subject of money comes up.

While seemingly no logic to “money,” yet, Number One requirement to exist is “money,” in some form.

“There’s never enough money.” It’s true in most situations, but not always. Those with sufficient money in many cases want more.

It’s hit home in personal employment where no matter how much revenue sets records, there’s continuing prod to “get more money.” Somebody is growing richer, but often not those doing the work.

More money doesn’t make lifelong contentment. Just ask lottery winners.

Food on the table, shirt on the back, and roof over the head are essential. Remainder is “luxury,” in a certain sense.

Everything’s high priced, remembering penny bubblegum, nickel candy, dime apples, 19-cent bread, quarter hamburgers.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Crowds insignificant for entertainment

buchmanhead

“Just like the state fair 50 years ago.”

That was the overflowing parking lot at the weekend horse exposition.

A coworker had complained about having to park a long ways from the pavilion for an earlier event, but parking was considerably tighter this time.

Worse thing half-century ago was the hours finding the parked car. This time although half-mile away was easy to locate.

Horse events, be it rodeos, shows, carnival pony rides, especially sales, even one horse at a farm sale, attract crowds.

Also forever reminded of the state fair midway, aisles between the hundreds of horse expo booths packed like sardines, appropriate cliché. Attempting to go by every exhibit literally took hours, even though never stopping to buy anything.

Saw nothing wanted, yet price tags apparent moving at snail pace glared exorbitant. Everything fits that category, as still reflect nickel coffee priced $4 at concession.

Certainly, concessionaires did drum up business, the dozen scattered throughout half-dozen program sections. All long waiting lines and nearly everyone attending had drinks or snack in hand.

Vendor business boomed, too. Without exception, all booths with something for sale had apparent inquisitors. Clerks were always ringing cash registers.

Manning the radio display three shifts, tallying others’ sales was easy. More than half of those leaving the exhibitor hall carried bags or otherwise obvious purchases. Obviously, like one said, “Just couldn’t do without it.”

A Cowboy’s Faith: Living by generous handouts

buchmanheadThat beggar on the corner is making more money than the longtime labor union factory worker. Higher wages than the highway worker holding up the shovel nearby, and certainly better pay than the rancher pulling a calf in the middle of the night.

Every day, panhandlers are begging at major intersections around the city. Friday, there were two on opposite corners of major north-south, east-west thoroughfares.

Not hobos, young men, maybe 25, healthy appearing, T-shirts, jeans, standing with cardboard signs. Couldn’t see the one, and small black scribbling on the other nearly undecipherable. “Hungry. Anything helps. God Bless.”

Three plastic bags at his feet. One had a two-pound cracker box showing. Evidently, a passerby offered some food. Guess that freeloader wanted something else.

The other fella had a big styrofoam fountain drink with a straw he was sipping. Sodas aren’t cheap, so he got money to buy that somehow, or swiped it. Perhaps a generous soul gave it, or slipped him bucks.

A couple days earlier, different intersection, young woman with two small children also held up a poster message. Couldn’t make it out either. One would have to be heartless not to have some empathy; still hard to know.

It’s said mendicants with dogs attract compassion of many, too. Worse cases are those vigorous-appearing vagrants smoking a cigarette, talking on a cellphone, with a beer, and a moocher’s sign.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Good old times remain

buchmanhead“Those really were the good ole days.”

Good times then and just as good reflecting half century later.

Naïve forever, a skinny small town wannabe cowboy was even wetter behind the ears going to uptown cow college. Dorm living freshman requirement, and no choice of where, as remember, although one was same as another with little knowing.

Paperwork assigned the second floor room with a New York hippy, just fine. But, the hatted obviously cowboy bunch in the lobby drew immediate conversation.

Interesting how likes attract likes. Of all the places possible, assigned the “cowboy floor” couldn’t have been any better.

Immediate friendships were formed, remaining always. Only see or hear about or from them seldom, yet fond memories always lighten.

One’s room became regular hangout for cowboy talk, orneriness, dreams and plans to become rodeo winners. There was a piggin’ string and somebody always practicing tying the calf dummy on the floor.

Grody porcelain spittoon had constant use for drools from snuff cuds. “Come on take a dip,” the teenage cowboys chanted. One time try – nauseated, green inside out, never since.

A Cowboy’s Faith: People differences unimportant

buchmanhead“Just watching the people go by.”

That’s always been good time of attending horse sales, rodeos, any events, perhaps more so than initial objective for being there. Such it was manning the radio booth at the boat show, a job obligation that took away from weekend ranch catch-up.

Rather not have been there, yet fun visiting folks. Is interesting seeing how rest of the world lives. Of course, chance to get something free attracts many to smile and sign their name on a slip of paper put into the boot box for a giveaway.

Yet, some given the opportunity contend: “No. I never win anything. It wouldn’t do any good.” That might be, but failing to signup certainly guarantees never being a winner.

However, hardly anybody was willing to take the fill-in-the-blanks sheet to complete with country artists names when located while touring booths. Possibility of winning free concert tickets in another drawing wasn’t worth additional effort.

Neatest thing was the girl with roller skates built right into her tennis shoes. Now blinking-lighted shoes are common, but first time had ever seen skate-walking shoes. She’d skate across the room, and then just walk away. Reminded of five decades plus ago at the skating rank, but with skates on walking wasn’t easy. Falling down always was.

A Cowboy’s Faith: From ‘pen’ to ‘pen’

buchmanheadRetirement from adjudicating horse shows becomes official this week.

Every three years since 1992, the first week in February has been at the International Equine Judges Seminar.

It was required training to judge horses for five breed associations. Clinicians reviewed the way show horses were to be evaluated. Associations had sessions about breed specifics, rules and classes.

After extensive college judging experience, there was annual in-state horse judging qualification. Thus, officiating open, 4-H and local group horseshows before going “bigtime.”

Fortunately for us, certification was in Oklahoma, but other attendees traveled from around the world.

After passing tests, judges were “carded” to officiate breed shows. Name was listed, and show committees made contact when needed.

Qualifications were met to judge at shows for Miniatures, Pintos, two Buckskin breed associations and Pony of the Americas.

A Cowboy’s Faith: Maturity is good thing

buchmanhead“Getting old is not so bad after all.”

Some quickly respond, “It sure beats the alternative.” Most nod in agreement. Yet those of us with strong faith are sure hereafter is far better than the best imaginable.

Youngsters anticipate birthdays for the presents and parties. Excitement dwindles in adulthood, even to a dread. There are those who forget the day and honestly can’t remember how many. The more mature, the more that’s the way it is.

Others contend it’s all in the mind: “A man is only as old as he feels.” They never look in the mirror.

Still, without a doubt, our day last week had to be one of the most delightful in reflection. Perhaps the best ever, admitting our memory’s far from perfect.

It didn’t start out that way. So foggy could barely see the road ahead pulling out of the driveway about 6:20.

Got three miles up the highway and realized the cellphone was still back on the kitchen counter. Really hate and embarrassed to admit it, but life, rather professional survival, depends on that danged communication device.

Got back, picked up phone, pushed throttle onto the highway, and went less than a 100 yards, a big doe jumped out of the east ditch right in front of the car.

Braking instantly just missed her inches as a big blotch of mud evidently from her hind legs splattered on the windshield leaving one glob and a dozen splotches.

Blessings of the day had begun.

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