They keep us going, dont they? Little miracles I mean. Youre just trudging along, worried about life, stressing over problems, and then
something happens to cause you to stop, look and wonder. I love little miracles. When I was a young man they were hard to see, but now as I grow older, I see them all the time.
Seems it was just yesterday we weaned that baby blue colt. He was so little then and Becca worried so over him. Today is his birthday, hes three, and big and strong. I love to watch him drink water. He sticks his head way down in the trough, blows bubbles through his nose, then raises his head and slobbers all over me
and I laugh from way down deep in my toes. I didnt know I could still laugh like that. Theres two of those little miracles right there
a baby blue colt, and laughter from way down deep in my soul.
I was reminded of another one just the other day when we made our yearly pilgrimage to the annual Smith Roping in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Every year in the fresh April spring, Mark and Tammy Smith invite family and friends to a fish fry and roping to celebrate the birthday of their boys Jake and Clay.
The boys are stellar ropers and in addition to having appeared on Jay Leno, have won a number of world championship dummy ropings, and are two fellows I count as best friends, (even though they are ten and twelve respectively). And thats the good thing about that day
so many good friends. Mommas, Dads, Grandparents and little ones eat superb fried catfish cooked by the men. Becca and all the other women bring far too much delicious food, and in the midst of reunions and renewed acquaintances, we have a most memorable day, all capped off with a serious roping for the World Championship. The entry fee is only two bucks, and first place doesnt pay but $10.00, but if you can pull off a victory, the bragging rights are priceless.
As I was watching the festivities, the roping was about to start when the youngest, Jake came sprinting by, and yelled, Were gonna getem, Michael! Im going to saddle my horse, and when I get back, were gonna getem!
Ill be ready, Jake, I said, knowing when I roped with him, he wouldnt be the one who missed. And just then, I remembered another of those little miracles.
Mark and Tammy met long ago at a roping naturally, (and it just occurred to me thats one of the good places to meet future spouses
at church or at a roping
good places to meet good people). And after a long courtship, the couple married.
Later, when their first child was on the way, Mark shared a long held desire with his bride. I hope you dont think this is odd, but Ive always wanted to name my first son after Clay OBrien Cooper. Tammy agreed and a short time later, there was a second Clay OBrien. (Talk about a kid being marinated in the world of roping.) And all the cowboys thought that was just about the best thing they had ever heard. No way this kid couldnt rope with a namesake like that.
Time went by and when Tammy was about to have her second child, she and Mark were discussing possible names for the next member of the clan.
You let me pick the first one, said Mark, and I have the son and the name I always wanted. You pick this one.
Im thinking of naming him after my brother, Billy, said Tammy with some sadness in her voice. Billy had been lost years before and Tammy still missed him. Im thinking of naming him Billy, she said.
Then Billy it is, agreed Mark. And things were settled
or so everyone thought.
Until all their cowboy team-roping friends heard there was another on the way, and that was when the great hue and cry went up. (Like it was some of our business.) Whether we really had a say or not, all the ropers carefully explained to Mark that if we had one son named Clay OBrien then we must (absolutely had to) name the second one after Clays roping partner, Jake
because the original Clay and Jake were tearin up the roping world at the moment, and well, we just had to name the second son Jake, thats all there was to it.
Mark tried to explain to everyone that he and Tammy had agreed on a name already. That didnt phase a single outlaw in our group. We barged in on Tammy and not knowing about her brother, kicked and screamed for the name Jake.
Tammy, being the good soul she is, didnt say a word, except Okay, if all of you feel that strongly, Ill think about it. And think about it she did.
She knew that Mark would be perfectly happy with their agreement, and she still wanted to honor her brother. She also knew Mark loved the idea of two sons named after great ropers, not to mention all of their friends clamoring for a second set of Jakes and Clays. I asked her later how she resolved the dilemma.
I dont know what possessed me to do it, Tammy smiled, but for some reason the thought struck me to ask the real Jake Barnes what he thought about the whole thing, so I called him in Arizona.
Tammy told Jake about naming little Clay after Clay OBrien, about all their friends hoping to call the second son Jake, and then she said,
Mr. Barnes, I really have two problems. I want to honor my brother, and even if I did name our son Jake, for the life of me, I cant think of a middle name that goes with Jake. What is your middle name?
And then one of those little miracles that seem so common as I grow older
solutions that appear out of nowhere from the most unexpected sources. A reminder that Something is helping us
Jake is my middle name, Mrs. Smith, replied world champion Jake Barnes. My first name is Billy.
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