A Cowboy’s Faith: Second chance comes sometimes

buchmanhead“No horse until we have a place to keep one.”

Nothing hurt an 11-year-old want-a-be cowboy any more than Mom’s repeated response to begging for a horse.

Schooldays, carrying groceries, fishing, quail hunting were fun times growing up, but a cowboy needed a horse.

That’s all we wanted, even before kindergarten, as we packed a toy six-shooter on our hip, riding the broomstick horse everywhere.

Short on talent, we’re persistent, and finally a “little farm” at the edge of town came up for sale.

With much negotiation, Mom and Dad bought it for $750 – big price for two acres in 1962. But, the fenced “lots,” inside city limits, had barns, a well, and previous livestock operations.

Still, dilemma, we didn’t have a horse. “Bigger issue,” Mom said. “Have to pay for the farm.” Ugh.

“Hogs are mortgage lifters,” the saying goes.

Yep, Jake Jackson sold us a Hampshire sow, Susie Q; we hauled in the grocery-delivery station wagon. Oinkers are not our fancy, and Ole Susie’s twins didn’t help much on bills.

Cowboys don’t cry, but there were damp eyes when Dad returned from one farm sale horseless. Soon after, though, Spot arrived from the Maples Corner auction.

Dad’s saddle came down from the garage rafters, onto Spot, and Frankie really was a “cowboy,” well, thought so. Today’s ranch ties to that meager start.

Efforts were diligent to make Frankie’s Miniature Ranch a showplace, red barns, white fence, groomed lawn.

Still, Mom wouldn’t let up about “paying the bills.” So, hog operations expanded, a hundred growing butchers on feed year around.

Even after we married and headquartered here, Dad kept a few hogs there.

But, when Dad passed too soon, Mom, with all the demanded upkeep, dispersed the small acreage, once our pride and joy.

All the blood, sweat and tears were bulldozed for construction storage. Yet, adrenalin flared whenever we drove by.

Never a second chance on most things. Last month, the “little farm” was on the auction block. No one bid minimum, multiples original price. Hard not to nod for something so close to our heart. Deliberation continues: “What could we, would we do with it?”

Reminds us of First Kings: 18:37: “God gave the people another opportunity at repentance.” And, Psalm 30:3: “God offered a second chance at life when I was down and out.”


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.


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