Pastor In The Pasture by Wendel Elliott: Tribute To Tio
I watched as two cowboys in their thirties carried his bedroll to the vehicle he had driven to camp. I saw his bag sitting by the cot that he’d been using and grabbed it to pitch in and help. I handed it to him and shook his hand and told him I was glad to have seen him. He has been a mainstay at the o6 works for quite some time. His name is Ray Fitzgerald but all the cowboys usually call him “Tio.” Tio hasn’t ridden the last few works but he makes it to camp a few times during them.
As he waved from the drivers seat and drove away from camp, I couldn’t help but remember the first time I had made the Taylor Mill drive with him. We had talked of livestock, where the other side of this gather would come from and who would be there. We visited about the condition of the country we were riding through, politics and religion. Seeing his brake lights disappear over the horizon I am thankful to have been able to ride with him. I am thankful to have heard his stories, his poems, and learn something from them. I am thankful that my sons, Clay and Jake got to ride along side him as well. He hadn’t missed a works on the o6, if I remember correctly, in thirty-some-odd years. I’m sure that we aren’t the only fellers that may have learned a thing or two from Tio.
We all need some “Tio’s” in our lives. Those that have seen things that we could only imagine and lived through them. Those that remember riding horseback everywhere they went or in a wagon with a team. Those that drove livestock to the railroad pens and shipped cattle on cattle cars. Maybe for you it’s those that made a living with horse and plow. We can learn a lot from them and their lives that are steeped in tradition and rich in heritage.
Who have you learned from? I’m sure that you have a good list of folks that have influenced and sown knowledge and time into your life.
“I gave an account of my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees. Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds…
Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” (Psalm 119:26-27, 33-37 NIV)
Who are you doing that for in your life? Is there someone that needs your time and knowledge sown into their life. Is there someone that you can pass on the same favor that someone once did for you?
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.” (Deuteronomy 11:18-21 NIV)
Learning and passing it on to others is important when it comes to being a cowboy, buckaroo, or any other profession. Likewise it’s important to do the same with God’s Word and in our walk with Christ. Let’s all be a constant learner and a “Tio” to someone from time to time.
I’ll see ya’ll out in the pasture!