"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hard Evidence

Every once in a while, something happens in life that you know you will remember for a long time. As a line from an old song implies, maybe it’s something so special you know it will become a place in your memory that you will visit over and over as time passes .

Well, we had one of those occasions happen to our family just recently. We had attended the Cowboy Mounted Shooting (CMSA) event on their final shoot of the season. Matt was not able to ride and shoot this year as he lost his horse this spring. But he attended with the Civil Air Patrol running balloons. CAP has done this for the mounted shooters for several years now. It is a good money making project for the Cadets as the mounted shooters offer a generous gift for their services, and it is also good PR for the Cadet Program giving them exposure for what the Civil Air Patrol does. Anyway, Matt has loved the cowboy mounted shooter events, no matter which part of it he is participating.

My husband was there this year to camp and help with the cadets. I just came to watch, as I absolutely love the sport. There is always an award ceremony on the last day when the shooters have finished up with their 3 day competition. Matt attended the award ceremony this year with two of the other Cadets from Civil Air Patrol. His Dad and I usually like to attend this ceremony as well, but this year we were tearing down his camp, so we were unable to attend.

I didn’t think it a bit odd when someone from the shooter’s group came over looking for Matt to tell him to be sure to be there. Matt had already headed over for the ceremony, as he knew this is usually when the shooters thank the Civil Air Patrol for their help and since Matt participates in both groups, he has always been the one to be there to represent CAP.

My husband and I went about tearing down camp, but I kept feeling like I really wanted to just wander over to the ceremony and forget about tearing down until later. However, I didn’t want to leave my husband working there alone; he was well into getting things put away and I didn’t think I could talk him into putting it off.

It wasn't long before Matt and the other two cadets returned to our camp and I could see right away Matt was pretty emotional. He didn’t say anything; but simply held out to me a framed, 8 x 10 photograph as he fought back tears. It wouldn’t do to let other cadets see the Cadet Commander in tears, I’m sure; but when I looked down at the picture, my heart leaped in raw, unexpected emotion all my own and I knew what had taken place. It was a beautiful photo of Matt on his horse at last year’s CMSA event. A local photographer* had taken the photo, and when Matt lost his horse this spring, the shooters decided to present him with this framed photo, along with some pretty nice words that I know he will remember for a lifetime.

Matt and Lady - CMSA 2009
Tom Davenport - Prairie Photography
He couldn’t help it he said.... When they called him up there to thank the cadets for their help, it was as he expected, and very much appreciated. But when they told the other cadets to take a seat, but Matthew was to remain standing, he didn’t know what to expect. When they handed him the picture and he looked to see what it was, ...he simply couldn’t help it; tears broke forth like a geyser unleashed. Yes of course, because of the beautiful reminder of his treasured animal, but it was more than that. The photo is evidence presented which shows there are people that cared and understood Matt's loss.  They cared enough that they offered him something they knew he would love. It was amazing.  I hope they know the greater gift that Matt saw behind it.

It shouldn’t have surprised us, I guess. I don’t think I have ever met a nicer group of people. I have watched on the side-lines as they have lent Matt chaps, pistols and rifles until he could get his own. They have offered tips and encouragement over the years as he learned; and they sent a beautiful card of sympathy when Matt lost his Lady. Some of them even helped Matt find another horse without his knowledge, until one day he received a phone call about Skeeter!! This group has literally taken Matt under their wing to help and encourage him. But I don’t think it is just Matthew they treat this way, this is simply the kind of people they are. The Cowboy Mounted Shooters dress in period costume and represent the way life used to be when cowboys ruled the range. I like to think that these people represent more than the cowboy lifestyle, they represent values and consideration for man and beast at its finest...kinda like it used to be. This group has shown me that some things never change. Deep in their core, they are the best of the best. And I stand simply amazed.  I know when Matt looks at that photo, far into his future, he will not only remember a precious and beloved horse, he will also remember a wonderful group of people that he came to count as friends.

Mounted shooting is a fantastic sport and it is something I could write about in a whole other blog, but you can find more about it at their website:  http://www.northwestmountedshooters.com/

*And to check out some awesome photographs of our local mounted shooting events, check out the amazing photography of Tom Davenport – Prairie Photography at: http://prairiephoto.biz/

PS...Lest you think me one mean mama, I have permission from Matt to post this. I guess he's man enough, strong enough to acknowledge tears over that which he loves.  :-)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful moment. Tears of joy, pride, and love stream down my face. Awesome.