A Cowboy’s Faith: Some things have just one opportunity

buchmanhead“I always remember your Dad lighting his pipe with one hand when on his spotted mare.”

A friend recently reflected that memory which would have been eye-catching for strangers.

Yet, we’d never given it second thought. Dad always did everything with his right hand, because he’d lost the left one before we were born.

A bachelor a long time, Dad was 10 years older than Mom, and was already 40 when we arrived.

His abilities and wisdom are yet unsurpassed by anyone of our extensive mentors.

Although he’s been gone 35 years, daily we think about Dad, what he did and how he’d do something. Dad would be 106 this year.

Just 11 years old when his dad, our namesake Frank, passed away, sweetest Grandma Nannie raised Uncle Elmer, Dad, and Aunt Lu with very little. Grandpa was 45 when Dad was born, so he didn’t gain much of the senior’s knowledge.

Unlike us, Dad had to “do it,” or do without. A farmer by upbringing, Dad worked outside income as a mechanic and carpenter, could fix or build most anything. With two hands, and then with only one.

Stories were often told of his horsemanship skills, never afraid to get on, and never bucked off. His favorite horse Bar was trained to rear with snap of a finger.

Even when the five-foot pull-combine canvas took his hand in the mid-40s, Dad rebounded, changed professions, becoming a groceryman and meat counter butcher.

Yet, heart yearned for the land. Dad again became a small farmer, acquiring and operating a combine like the one that’d drastically changed his life.

No question who’d stand up with us on our wedding day: Dad, the very Best Man.

It’s hay season, and family is putting hay in the barn. At 71, Dad would mow, rake, bale hay, and together we’d get it in the barn “after work.”

Before entering the hospital his final time, Dad baled 100 small square bales, dropping them on the ground for us to pick up.

When we visited him the next day, Dad’s first question: “Did you get the hay in the barn.”

No excuse, we hadn’t. Dad soon passed away, haybales still in the field. Our greatest regret.

So sadly, reminds us of Luke 9:62: “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put off till tomorrow. Seize the day.”


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.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas