Sunday, June 18, 2017

Carrie Frances Goss

Steps toward Strength
Carrie Frances Goss
What is a rancher?
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            I am reminded of the image of a cowboy as portrayed in a Viva El Paso production. There was the inevitable crushed hat and the gyrations of movement that the greater world seems to accept when our western persona is presented.
It was offensive to me.
            It had been preceded by a cast of other impersonations including a Mexican vaquero. In that case, he was a handsome fellow decked out in full charro regalia. He was a picture of grace and confidence. He sang to the clear Texas night sky with confidence and aplomb. Straight and confident he stood.
            When the cowboy appeared he danced like a centipede on a hot grill. They had him kicking his feet sideways and wiping his dripping nose on his shirt sleeve. He was akin to a bit part country bumpkin in a city’s vision of a country stage production.
            Unfortunately, that persona has found permanence in the psyche of most of the world we live. It is more a norm than not and it grossly misrepresents the character of the heartbeat of our historic West.
            It is an insult.
            Steps toward Strength
            Too few examples of western strength of character exemplify our lives.
            Recapitulations of the dancing centipede have become standards of which we are judged. What a false impression that actually is, but, unfortunately, that is the model that is perpetuated.
            Shall we try to change that impression? Perhaps only a few would care, but the exercise would at least remind us of the most important aspects and the interaction of our lives with those who mean most to us. It should be an exercise of recreating steps toward inner strength.
            Let’s start with the rejection of the falsehood that anything else is more important or central in our lives than the deity. Our Lord and Savior is first, last, and all inclusive. It is He that we worship. It is He that any hope of salvation rests. Seek him first, seek him last, and seek him constantly.
            Serve Him.
In that commitment, we must assume the role of representative. It must be done without fear, without reservation and without hesitation. It will be uncomfortable at times, but so is the alternative.
            Stay humble.
Stand upright and confident. If we are lucky enough to have a hat, keep it on straight and don’t worry about our hair style. Let beauty be a combination of several things the first knowing when to take that hat off in respect to the situation.
            And, always speak faithfully. We would all be better off trying to offer our ideas with the combination of godly wisdom, boldness, and true kindness.
            Carrie Frances Goss
            To those who knew her, do any of those descriptions not remind us of Carrie Frances Goss?
At five feet nothing, she was among the bravest and most faithful servants of our times. Her obituary says she was a rancher in the Sacramento Mountains, an author of four books, an advocate for private property rights, and a gifted speaker. She was raised in Cox Canyon, Cloudcroft, New Mexico, but moved to Weed when she married her husband, Jimmy Goss, in 1956. She was known and loved for her commitment and service to the community of Weed and for the many meals she cooked and served from her kitchen table. Frances had a strong faith in her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and no matter what she was doing or where she was speaking, she never failed to mention her love and faith in the Lord. She was a prayer warrior, the text continues, and she prayed continually for the people she felt God put on her heart. Frances was a loving mother, grandmother, a good friend, a shining beacon for Jesus and she will be missed by many.
Frances demonstrated to everybody who came into contact with her the steps herein toward strength.
I think the first time I saw her was at an Otero County Commission meeting. She arose to speak her mind about a particular issue in her life on a forest allotment and she was not just spunky. She was poised to double down on any incoherent babble in response. She thoroughly spanked the target of her comments all-the-while smiling and reassuring him that ignorance was not always a terminal disease if he would only come into the light and pull his thumb out of his, uh … ear.
I got to know her better when we were both in Lubbock and another time in Albuquerque speaking about private property rights at InsightUSA gatherings. Her style was purely Frances. It was couched in godly wisdom and faithful kindness, but it was always bold.
There is huge, universal respect from her friends and colleagues.
Jonna Lou Schafer recalls her for what she was a sweet, salt of the earth woman who stood unwaveringly for what she believed in and first and foremost, love (for) her Lord and Savior beyond measure.
Joe Delk remembers her zingers in response to ongoing Forest Service accusations. While husband, Jimmy, would sit quietly and take everything in, Frances would arise and attack with a barrage of velvet covered verbal strikes.
Rick Baish saw the same thing in their marital relationship. “I always thought that she and Jimmy made a good match,” he said. “He was a man of few words and she sort of filled in the blanks. She missed him terribly.”
What we will all remember is her ability to make even a casual acquaintance feel like an old friend.
Her warm and vibrant spirit just shown through.
What is a Rancher?
Frances and Jimmy Goss fought for their private property rights in the midst of national forest management for most of their lives. They were under the ongoing threat of permit use reductions for years, and, most recently became the strategic target for the New Mexico jumping mouse whereby their privately held water rights were assaulted by fencing exclosures by the agency. It was always a contrived attack on them and their cattle. Elk, deer, and all wildlife were exempt from the exclosure effectiveness while the Goss cattle were relegated to the back of the bus in full regulatory disdain. The money the family was forced to spend on legal fees in their quest for self protection is a national disgrace.
What they were and what they remain are ranchers.
Several years ago, we were fortunate to have Frances’ grandson, Kyle, come over and help us in part of our spring works. My impression of Kyle was all predicated on a big smile and a wide open attitude that is amplified by early responsibilities, freedom, big skies and cow dust. Not some abstract interpretation, he was a cowboy. He rode good horses and that incessant smile and his ability in the corral and horseback alike were infectious to all. In retrospect, I could see his grandmother’s spirit in him. That is especially true after I got to witness her in action in an arena similar and yet far removed from those branding pens.
I would suspect she would appreciate that observation.
It should also give us hope. We are not automatons dancing like centipedes on some grill. We are living, breathing people who actually understand the precious gift of private property and all that it guarantees this American experiment. We come in many forms. We are tall, short, male, and female. We can be shy or extroverted. We can be verbally challenged and we can be eloquent. We have never been many, but we have sent forth some very special voices that stand straight, tall and confident. Frances Goss was one of our most precious envoys. Her life and times will be remembered.
We pray that God has blessed her fully as He continues to bless her family in the trials they will likely endure.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Carrie Frances Goss, affectionately known as “Momsie” went to be with Jesus on June 9, 2017.”

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