Tales from the O-NO Ranch
Have you ever been on the receiving end of an act of kindness? I mean a REAL act of kindness, one which stirred your spirit to the point of believing in the goodness of mankind again.
I received such an act of kindness from someone whom I have really come to admire. This man is a west Texas rancher who comes to Cheyenne Frontier Days to trip steers every year. He was also a member of a church where my older brother was a pastor for many, many years. This man, Dan, is not a large man physically, but in mind and spirit, he is a giant.
Dan is a man of some wealth because of the oil holdings on his ranch in Texas, but you would never know he had any more than you or me because of his down-to-earth cowboy ways. Dan is a hard worker and does as much physical work on the ranch as anyone else who works there.
When my Little Miss Martha had passed away and I was dealing with her death, her mother’s recent death and my own battle with cancer, Dan would inquire about my well-being on occasion to my brother. I had met Dan and his family a couple of times at Cheyenne Frontier Days, as he would always come by my art booth and purchase a few things. I got a note from Dan not too long after Martha passed and he requested one of my calendars be sent to him. At that time, my calendars were priced at 5 bucks plus postage. I sent Dan a calendar and did not send him a bill, as he had always supported me in the past.
A few days later, I received a check in the mail for FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS and a note thanking me for the calendar and for signing it.
Gentle readers, I was just overwhelmed! It had been just a few weeks earlier that I had received a bill from the hospital for almost $60,000 and I knew that insurance certainly would not cover it all. I sat down and decided to send Dan one of my original cartoons that I had priced at $500 and it certainly would fit a west Texas rancher’s office or home. That was the only way I could think of to repay such an act of kindness.
The thing of it is, we all are capable of handing out acts of kindness almost every day if we take the time to consider how it benefits not only the other person on the receiving end, but the satisfaction we receive as well.
There were other acts of kindness during Martha’s illness and after she passed, and they are just too numerous to mention. I still have some of the letters that you wrote. I go back and read them from time to time because it does my heart good to know that there are so many of you that have such good and giving hearts. It fills my cup to overflowing.
On the days when I am short-tempered, rude and caustic with my words, I try to remember that a simple act of kindness shown by me to someone else would cure my undesirable disposition. There is nothing that makes a person whole as having a glad heart ” at least that’s MY take on it.
This drought has me a little testy, as well as the prairie dogs taking over my place, but with a glad heart I know that you good folks, you really decent and caring folks, live and struggle like I do on many occasions, and I want to encourage you to take just a minute of your time and do an act of kindness. I assure you it will lessen your burdens.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, and I’ll c. ya.
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From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.