A Cowboy’s Faith: Changing work still ‘beautiful’

buchmanheadDay after Christmas was the anniversary.

Four decades and four years ago Monday to the day, we walked into our first real job.

Now, Mom would be offended at that, because she had us carrying groceries almost the day walking began.

Still, the first occupation other than helping parents has some sort of significance.

Delivering groceries to many old girlfriends and acquaintances in the rural community continued as weekend work with the official profession.

Now, growing up, there was monthly errand distributing Chamber of Commerce newsletters. That paid two bits, maybe a half dollar if Warren Gilman had two quarters.

Even a couple of times, we slipped away when a rancher let us help gather cattle. One time was a Saturday, busiest day at the store. Upon returning after dark, Dad was still delivering groceries. He frowned when Phil Bolton paid two bucks for “playing cowboy,” when “real work” was carryout boy.

Never officially crossing the stage, somewhere is a sheepskin signifying college education. Married with a daughter, schooldays were hurried to make that almighty buck.

“Qualified” to be a teacher, classroom practice was smidgen discouraging. Yet, instructor shortage made ample opportunities. Fortunately, the newspaper had an opening, and said come on in.

Perhaps, a young family waiting in a freezing car outside during the interview was reason behind hiring. Could be Dean felt sorry for the wife and baby girl, so put us to work.

Excitement was high. Mom even seemed pleased, insisting groceries be carried, too. Riding and raising horses supplemented.

Still, first months at the paper, everyday fright was “getting fired.”

After three decades, six years, exactly seven months, most significantly on the 26th, junior boss with protecting bookkeeper proclaimed: “You’re fired.” The original boss wouldn’t look our way as we left.

Of course, today’s professional door opened four days later, and career continues.

Interesting that first job included just inside the front door personal office, big desk, plush rocking chair. Odd turnaround, six-by-six cramped cellar pigeon hole today’s work quarters.

Reminds us of Ecclesiastes 3:3: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Thus, Ecclesiastes 3:11: “He hath made everything beautiful in his time. He hath set the world, so that no man can find out the work from the beginning to the end.”


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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