Sunday, March 27, 2016

Blessed Easter

Earthly measures and bounds
Blessed Easter
When We All Get to Heaven
By Stephen L. Wilmeth


          Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
          Sing his mercy and his grace;
          In the mansions bright and blessed
          He’ll prepare for us a place

            Jack Swanson
            I never met Jack face to face, but we talked numbers of times. It was always on the phone and I suspect, or, at least hoped, it was from his studio. He lived in Carmel Valley, California in that country that just cannot be compared with anything but Camelot. Jack claimed he wasn’t a “cowboy artist”, but C.J. Hadley has a different description of him. She suggests he was a real cowboy who happened to be a talented artist. I’ll describe him as a wrangler of light and the essence of our way of life.
            In abundance, he created Mansions of bright and blessed.
            His subjects were invariably California vaqueros … Californios.
            Your eyes were drawn to the artistry of their ropes, their single rigged saddles, and their finished horses. They were captured in scenes of dust, smoke, summers, California charm, and light. It was in the latter that he excelled. To those who know California summers, you can feel the warmth and the soft air in his paintings as the light filters and illuminates the body of his work. He was a genius, and I would hope we could greet each other as friends when …

          While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
          Clouds will overspread the sky’
          But when trav’ling days are over,
          Not a shadow, not a sigh.

            Tom Mee
            Tom was the last of the entire George Mee family.
            In all the success of the elder Mee, there were never any descendents beyond the three boys produced in his marriage. George, Jr. was shot down and killed in World War II. He was the golden child from what I had always heard. Smart, good looking, and expected to elevate the Mee cattle enterprises his days were over long before his full bloom. The baby, Jimmy, was killed in the street in front of the family home in Encino. He darted out between two parked cars and was run over. Tom ran to him. He told me he held him in his arms and watched him as he ceased to breath.
            Tom was a bigger than life Mickey Rooney look alike when I knew him.
            Funny beyond measure, his parents must have died a thousand deaths trying to get him raised. He bragged about his career riding bucking horses … both of them. He went on to have an empire by any stretch, but bad luck, bad judgment and the propensity to look for the game of it all eventually took it all. He lies there with the rest of his family in their tidy plot in the King City Cemetery.
            In the end, he was my friend, and, when my trav’lin days are over as well, I would hope we could greet each other when …

Let us then be true and faithful,
Trusting, serving every day;
Just one glimpse of Him in glory
Will the toils of life repay.

          I hope there is a place for certain horses when we go home.
            We lost this old friend in 2015. I found him down wedged between the trough and the fence. He was always a victim of chronic colic and we couldn’t let him suffer any more. He was just too far gone and in agony. Faithful, trusting, and serving without ever cheating you a moment, he lived his life. He was one of the two horses we brought home from California. Out of Greg Ward mare and a champion paint halter stallion, he showed none of the paint genetics. He was a bright red blood bay with a left rear stocking, a little white blaze, and just a hint of a snip on his rostrum. He was a magnificent son-of-gun and weighed over 1400 pounds in his prime. His size belied his energy and his motion. He’d wear you out holding him up and he could walk like a machine. What a horse he could have been if he had come home to the ranch when he was at his best.

            Just one glimpse of him in glory will the toils of life repay when …

          Onward to the prize before us!
          Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
          Soon the pearly gates will open;
          We shall tread the streets of Gold.

            A blessed Easter Sunday to all
            Is there anything else that means as much as the prize before us? Indeed, we cannot fathom the strife that surrounds us without relying on His beauty we’ll behold.  If my inabilities to suggest hope other than from those earthly things that make sense in this chaos, forgive me. Jack, Tom, and Sebas were in my heart and on my mind this morning. Each meant something special and from their friendship these thoughts emerged.
They are intended to extend a greeting on this most blessed of mornings. They set the stage to wish a happy and blessed Easter to all. Indeed he has risen, and when

We all get to heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Blessed Easter … He has risen!”

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