A Cowboy’s Faith: Handicap no life setback

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Now, Keith quit that. Robert what are you doing? You boys better settle down.”

Actually that’s probably not exactly how Sandy said it, but certainly semblance.

That was every Saturday afternoon in the mid ’60s. Mom and the boys did grocery shopping while dad Billy generally went to the weekly sale barn auction.

Came to mind with passing of longtime friend Keith Bacon. Others may not have such vivid recollection of those days, while remaining fond reflections for one former grocery carryout boy.

Typical of Four Mile community farm families, the hardworking Bacons had diversified cropping and livestock operations. Keith and Robert were rambunctious farm boys who didn’t get to town very often.

One wouldn’t know it on the forefront and certainly not let on by him or any of his family. Keith had an incurable disease in joints forcing hospitalization in an urban hospital as a newborn.

Despite what most would consider serious handicap, Keith’s parents were determined the boy live a “normal life.” Nobody was to feel sorry for Keith or him for himself, and no shirking of any farm chores and responsibilities.

That became Keith’s definitely expressed always pleasant energetic positive attitude for life appreciated and respected completely by younger brother Robert.

Never shy Keith enjoyed visiting with everybody, voice distinguishable perhaps of Mom and Dad articulation combined.

In 4-H and FFA with well-known grin, Keith was an enthusiastic hog show exhibitor, preferring Durocs. Determined to select his own projects, Keith successfully gained show ring accomplishments.

With leader encouragement, Keith loved participating in livestock judging contests. Eyes became even brighter, smile broader; expression further enhanced talking about placings and high reasons scores in state competitions.

Common knowledge to family and various acquaintances, Keith loved, excelled somewhat, and coached baseball.

Dominance was in the car he drove, beating classmates in race challenges.

Purple power proud, Keith studied at Kansas State University three years, determining he really wanted to be a truck driver.

Successful at his adulthood profession, Keith’s passing brought a church filled with friends and family. Uncontrollable tears and laughing combined as true tales about Keith were shared.

A man who never cried about what he didn’t have, making most of what he did always everybody’s friend.

Reminded of Second Corinthians 12:9: “I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gifts.”


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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