He knew biscuits and gravy were waiting, along with hot coffee. And by the sound of the meat sizzling in the cast iron skillet, he could guess that steak was on the menu as well.”
Sorry to keep yuh waitin’ pard; sure glad yuh didn’t ride off. Bein’ the last Saturday of the year; well, I was a lazy bum this mornin’. Coffee’s ready though so come in an’ I’ll get you a cup. Hard to believe that only two days are left in the year. I was thinkin’ of that poem that ol’ Bobby Burns wrote and was made into song as I made the coffee this mornin’. Hang on an’ I’ll let her fly, “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and ne’er brought to mind?”
What? I don’t sound like a nightingale? Come on, pard, I don’t sound like a screech owl.
But anyway, ol’ pard, the year has gone by and there’s not a thing that can’t be done ’bout the days past. Sure, sure, there still may be consequences left over from decisions and the storms may have left devastation in its wake, but the best we can do about 2017 is reflect and learn from it. Don’t spend your time tryin’ to live those days again. I’ve made some good strong coffee this mornin’ and we can take a few minutes to say goodbye to 2017.
Now, yeehaw, bring it on, Powder River, let ‘er buck–2018 is only a few hours away. What the year holds, only the Lord knows. Be ready, be prepared, make sure your gun is oiled and handy, and get into your Bible! The days are drawin’ nigh for the Lord’s return. One thing we really need to do is make sure we “redeem the time for the days are evil.” Don’t be wastin’ yourself away, be goin’ forward in the direction the Lord has for you.
Here’s a verse for the year, one of my favorites and one I put in my books, “The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.” (Proverbs 4:18, NLT) The Lord will be right there beside us through each day of 2018.
One more thing to make the New Year brighter and safer–make sure you always check your cinch.
Most men never discover what they’ve got inside. A man has to face up to trouble before he knows.”
–Louis L’Amour (The Daybreakers)
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.”
–2 Corinthians 4:8 (NLT)
Wow! Hard to believe. Another year is ready to be added to history. All the good, bad, and ugly along with all the silly and nonsensical things will now be archived into history. Shame is that 2018 will have more of the same.
I have little to complain over concerning 2017. It will be a memorable year, for it was the year I retired from teaching. After twenty-two years in San Antonio, Annie and I are a homeless old couple out begging. Nah, really Pockets and Kimberly are taking very good care of us and the house is going along.
One thing for sure, I didn’t get enough reading accomplished this year. I did make my 52 books, but it wasn’t until the day before Christmas. I’ll try to do better in 2018. I guess I’m starting to speak of New Years’ Resolutions. I’m going to try and make it a goal to write one chapter a day, especially after we move into our house. I published two books last year and I’m about half-way through another one. The issue is research. I’ve said before I don’t want to write historical fiction. People are too picky and critical. However, if there is something in the book that is of historical nature I want it to be accurate. Mostly I write for people to enjoy a story and hopefully gain something from the book.
In 2018, I want to spend more time studying my Bible. With my writing it is easy to put it on the shelf or just read a few verses. I need to study it more thoroughly. I believe there is going to be more hatred displayed, especially since this is an election year. It seems instead of doing government business and business for the people, there is an agenda of hatred. There is an agenda put forth by antichrist, by the devil himself.
I would like to travel to a few places, but I need to see my budget. Working in Christian schools for almost four decades, there was little that could be put away for retirement. I wasn’t looking for money then, and I’m not now. In fact, both Annie and I enjoy beans and cornbread :-]. In reality, we have put our trust in the Lord. Plus we have good kids that will take care of us if needed.
So 2018, come on! Let’s get the year started. Who knows? This may be the year the Lord returns–be ready, look us, for our redemption draws near. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Ponder this for the end of the year. We are told to study to show ourselves approved. While that mainly involves studying the Word of God it also includes becoming a better citizen in the Kingdom of God, and, therefore, a better citizen of our country.
Knowledge is fundamental to life. Dallas Willard states, “Knowledge is the capacity to represent things as they are–the basis for thought and experience.” Then why all the lies and fake news? Because there is an agenda of evil. There is a battle for the mind; there is a battle over knowledge. Jesus said, “I am the truth…”. The liberals will now scorn and mock. What was the challenge in the Garden? Adam and Eve would be like God if they ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Read the story again and see how Eve and the devil added to what God said.
Once we have knowledge we are to be obedient to that knowledge. We act upon the knowledge we have. Remember though, in obedience there will come testing. Hold fast to the idea that you have the truth. Guard that truth–diligently.
I got the fire started, and found a pail laying around that looked clean. Just to be sure I used my bandana to wipe it out then went outside and filled it full of snow. Putting it on the fire I waited to add coffee. There was an old skillet in the shack as well so I filled it with snow and placed it next to the fire as well; I’d need hot water to fix Billy’s wound.
“Do something!” he cried. “I’m bleeding to death!”
“Get your shirt off, unless you want me to cut it off.”
“I can’t; it hurts too much,” he moaned.
Helping him out of his shirt, I didn’t think he was bad off. But then I could be wrong until I was able to check him out. Finally, I grabbed his arm and pulled the shirt off.
I held his arm and wiped it off some of the blood so I could get a good look. “I ought to slap you silly!” I said disgustedly. “You’ve just got a graze. Hold still!”
Using his scarf I dipped it in the now hot water and began to wipe his arm. “Yeoow, that burns; you’re hurting me!”
“If I don’t get this cleaned you’ll end up like the guy with the blackened leg. You want gangrene to set in?”
Finally I was able to get him clean. Now, I needed to check on those men back in the other cabin. Grabbing my coat I went outside. The snow was still falling and it was hard to see the building that was just a few yards away. I walked to the stall to check out the gear of the outlaws. One man had a rope so I tied it to the rail of the corral and extended it as I walked to the shack, where I tied it off. I learned the two times I cowboyed up in Wyoming that a man could get lost in a blizzard and freeze to death while only a few feet from his house.
Upon entering the shack I was staggered. The smell was atrocious! I went over and checked on the man with the gangrene. He was dead. The other man was sleeping but breathing okay. I needed to get him over to our cabin. It entered my mind to just throw the dead men out in the snow. The bodies would keep as they would freeze; then again they might draw wolves. I took a quick inventory of the goods in their cabin. Using it right it would feed us for about a week.
“Walk up!” I said shaking the wounded man. He groaned as he came awake. “I need to get you out of this place and over to our shack. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Going back to the stall I grabbed my rope and made a line from the stall to my shack. Before I walked out I checked the feed for the horses and gave Star some more hay. I think it was snowing even harder, and the wind was starting to blow hard.
“Come on Billy; get your coat on. We’ve got to get that guy moved over here.”
“Can’t, I hurt too much. My arm’s useless!”
I was doing the best I could not to slap him, but he was pushing my limits. “You get up an’ help me or I’ll throw you out in the weather!” I checked the coffee then went started back out. “Just follow the line.”
I was putting the food they had in a blanket that was laying on a chair. Billy finally stumbled through the doorway. “Here, carry this,” I ordered.
Then looking at the wounded man. “Think you can stand?”
He held on to me and grit his teeth as he stood. “It’s not far,” I said.
Nodding to me we started back to our shack. He had to drag his hurt leg and I was afraid it would start to bleed again. After struggling for several minutes we made it. His face was pale as I plopped him down on one of the bunks. Laying there is looked at me, “Don’t let me die like Finnegan.”
“You’re not goin’ to die.” However, I didn’t know. I didn’t even know how long we’d be cooped up in this shack.
Billy came in a few minutes later dragging the blanket. His face was almost as pale as the severely wounded man. I didn’t bother to look at him, instead went to pour a cup of coffee. “Start putting the goods on the table and on the shelves. We’ll eat in the mornin’.”
“I’m hungry now,” he whimpered then he added, “I hurt too much.”
“Billy, if you don’t do what I told you, you’re goin’ to be hurtin’ in other places.” Reluctantly he began to work.
“I’m sleeping on the other bunk,” he said emphatically.
“Be my guest,” and I rolled my bedroll out in front of the fire.
The snow was still coming down the next day and the wind was blowing; we were in a full-fledged blizzard. I couldn’t tell what was falling from the sky and what was being blown. Billy stayed in bed most of the day, except getting up to eat. I wasn’t about to take his food to him. The wounded man, I found out his name was Dell Higgins. He pretty much told me what had happened over the past few weeks.
By Friday, it had stopped snowing. I went outside and we had close to a foot, maybe a foot and a half of snow. There was a huge drift up again the other shack. Upon checking the horses, they were alright, but would need attention soon. I reckoned we would leave early the next morning so we could make it into Durango by the end of the day. It would be slow with the snow covering the road.
It was hard packing the dead bodies on their horses as the bodies had frozen during the storm. Not worrying about their comfort I tied them tight to their horses. I was concerned about Higgins, but he said he could make it. “Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “quite a difference between him and Billy.”
Upon arriving in Durango I went first to the diner. When I entered, I noticed immediately there was someone at my table. I looked his way…
When he returned from his rounds, the water was boiling, so he pulled off the coffeepot and poured in some grounds, filling the office with the familiar and welcome smell.”
Christmas time’s a-comin’, whoa, hold on there pard! Christmas time is not a-comin’; Christmas time is here! Yeehaw, just waitin’ to hear the jinglin’ of those bells tomorrow night. I don’t think I want to be hearin’ those angels sing just yet.
Wish I could remember what it rightly was, but someone had a means to rate coffee. It was somethin’ all frou-frou, way beyond my simple understandin’ of good coffee. Pard, take a taste. Describe it. Not bad, right? See I only have three levels of distinguishing coffee: good, not bad, and that has a large range, and disgustin’. Disgustin’ coffee actually can be any brand, any type if it’s weak. Now, upon occasion I might rate some as really good. Oh, think so, huh? This mornin’s is good. Warms up the ol’ gizzard and makes it say howdy.
Dead serious now–you have taken some time to think of what the heavenly Father did by sendin’ His Son that Christmas Day so long ago? If not, yuh better do it or you’ll be missin’ out on the real meanin’ and a true blessin’. The Incarnation, whooeee pard, it’s somethin’. Sure mystical. Perhaps that is one of the problems with what the media and businesses have done to Christmas. They’ve moved it from mystical to magical. They speak of the “magic of Christmas.” There is nothin’ magical about it; no hocus-pocus, but there is certainly the mystical aspect of the virgin birth, why God would send His Son, the purpose of Jesus comin’ to earth, and the extreme love of God. I don’t know who said it but it’s true–“there was only one Christmas, there rest are anniversaries.” This is a day I’ll celebrate until the sod is thrown over me or I hear that trumpet sound.
Say, want ‘nother cup of that “not bad” coffee? Listen, what say we finish the pot. I’m finished with my shoppin’ but have some errands to run and I reckon that you still have some things to buy. Watch it out there, people are more than crazy right now.
One more thing, from that writer of yore, Charles Dickens, we need to remember! “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” One way to do that is to check your cinch everytime you mount up.