While shopping at my local grocery store, I found myself suddenly wrapped in a bear hug and unable to breathe. As I craned my neck around, I could see it was Keith, 6’2” and strong as a longhorn, the pressure made me drop my can of beans on his foot and he finally let go, allowing me to catch my breath. “Why hello Keith, it’s so nice to see you, I think it’s been a coons age since I last saw you.” I exhaled while adding a twang to my voice - I have no idea what a Coons age means but the words seemed to tumble out of my mouth when I looked at that massive Cowboy. We chatted away and then he turned and said, “welp, I gotta get the butter on the biscuit, nice chatin witya ” His giant body became small as he walked out of the store only recognizable now by that big cowboy hat resting on his head.
There is something intriguing about cowboys, even if they don’t even own one dang cow. Wearing that hat is a sign, like an oath to tell the world about your principles. Cowboy ministries at the Crossroads church has this program where a cowboy trains a wild horse in an hour while telling the audience how the relationship between God and man is similar.
The Cowboy Minister enters the round pen with the wild horse and begins preaching to the audience as he urges the horse to trot around the pen, “You see folks an understanding by the horse, i.e. humans and leadership in the form of godliness makes for a perfect union. The horse knows who she is and is fine by herself, but the cowboy demonstrates to the horse that while he is powerful enough to lead, he is also kind enough that she can trust him, just like our relationship with God.”
The pivotal moment comes as the horse bows her head, licks her lips, a sign that signals that she trusts the cowboy. The cowboy minister goes on and tells the audience that there is a similarity going on here, between the horse and humans, when we first encounter the unfamiliar, for us- it’s God. We sense something is different and if we continue to grow this relationship we are forever changed, see more clearly as we walk with full confidence in the Lord.
In Oklahoma there is the National Cowboy Museum, while it showcases Cowboy arts such as the best of saddle making, bit and spur making, silver smithing and rawhide braiding, it is also rich with stories of the West. Stories as big as John Wayne himself who encapsulated men who were hardened by the impoverished lifestyle as portrayed in one of his most beloved movies, True Grit. The story beings with Mattie Ross, a precocious young family bookkeeper whose father has been murdered and robbed by his own hired hand, Tom Chaney. Mattie seeking justice and looks for a man who has True Grit and hires Rooster Cogburn, U.S Marshal to track Chaney down. Fingers getting severed, stabbing and shootouts is what follows up to the climax of the movie where Mattie is near death after being bit by a snake, Cogburn races to get help on Matties horse which drops dead from exhaustion.
Cowboy Wisdom knew the only way to survive in the wild west was through Strong moral biblical values, doing what’s right, fortitude, manners, justice and persevering which often required bravery.
At one point in the film the narrator says:
“You pay for everything in this world. There is nothing free, except the grace of God.”
While Cowboy movies went on the decline in the 40’s, names like Gene Autry and Buck Jones, stories like the Lone Ranger, Tonto and High Noon will forever be apart of the American Fabric and stories are what make a country rich and beautiful.
By the way, what does, “get the butter on the biscuit” mean anyway? Well in Cowboy talk, it means, I must see to some details, finish up unfinished business or button things up, well, maybe its Keith talk.