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Front Page » December 25, 2007 » Opinion » The Wasatch Behind: Spud's Christmas story
Published 2,840 days ago

The Wasatch Behind: Spud's Christmas story

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Sun Advocate Columnist

I'm not an educated feller, but I've never been a fool. I'm a broken-down old cowboy who never spent much time in school. So when it comes to knowing history, philosophy and such, I might not be the brightest bulb, but I try to stay in touch.

I've spent my life on the open range, where tall grass meets the sky. I've witnessed God's great handiwork, and I've often wondered why. Why did God make this wonder world? What am I doing here? What is my fate, my purpose? The answer wasn't clear.

I've never been much on religion. Never spent much time in church. I figured God would take care of things, from his lofty, cloud-lined perch. And I never understood Christmas. I could never figure why, the God of life would be born a babe, to suffer, and to die.

Then one cold night I saddled up, and rode out to find some cows. A big old storm was brewing, and the wind began to howl. A barn had been provided, but the cows stayed on the range. With blowing snow and freezing wind, I thought that rather strange. Cows are quite dim-witted, but they should have seen the danger. The barn provided shelter, and there was fresh hay in the manger. What silly, hopeless creatures would stay out there in the cold, with food and shelter waiting, in the safety of the fold?

The wind was blowing fiercely when I finally found some stock. But as I approached they broke and ran - an unexpected shock. I set the spurs to Trigger and I tried to head them off, but the brainless critters scattered, in the snow and cold and dark.

I couldn't follow every trail. I couldn't bring them back. The snow was falling heavily and covering the tracks. Those foolish cattle didn't know that I was their best friend. I was only trying to save them from a cold and bitter end. I hung my head and shed a tear, for I knew what the storm would bring. There would be a lot of cattle bones on the range in the coming spring.

If only cows could understand, I'd lead them home to shelter. I'd save them from a painful death in the dark and stormy weather. But only cows can talk to other cows in the language that they know. And I was not a stupid cow, but a cowboy don't you know.

It took an hour to ride the trail that led back to the shack. The wind fought me for my Stetson, and there was snow on Trigger's back. My toes were almost frostbit, my nose was frozen pink, but in that hour I had some time to ponder, and to think.

That's when inspiration hit me, like a bullet from the blue. To make cows understand me, there was only one thing I could do. I'd have to be another cow to make them see the way. I'd have to moo and chew my cud to rescue them today. I know it does sound silly, but there was just no other course. The cows couldn't understand me, from my high perch on the horse.

And then I thought of God above, and how difficult it must be, for him to try to communicate with old cowboys just like me. And then I finally understood, why Mary was his mother. He was trying to get me in the barn, like a friend and like a brother.

Merry Christmas.

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December 25, 2007
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