Welcome back. The date was May 4, 2020 yes friends this past Thursday, the time was 6PM and the location was on the old Chisholm Trail where Texas cattle were brought to Oklahoma and then shipped by Kansas railroads to folks on the east coast to eat. Sitting just a few miles north of Yukon, Oklahoma alongside the trail are four ten-foot-tall and four-foot-wide concrete markers wrapped around large bronze tablets which tell the history of the ground you’re standing on. The view and the history of this place are inspiring and standing in front of the concrete markers is a full-size bronze statue of a real-life man sitting on his horse.
Now I know you’ve seen many a statue of famous men. Over in Claremore at the Will Rogers Memorial there’s a statue of Will riding his horse Soapsuds. At Woolaroc just as you enter the museum you are greeted by a large bronze of a man and his horse. Inside the museum are more bronzes honoring men who accomplished great things in their lifetimes but unfortunately Will, Frank Philllips and his brother Waite are gone now.
This brings me to the reason I was in this area along the Chisholm Trail. The man and the horse depicted in this particular bronze are still alive and when I got the invitation to this man’s 80th birthday party nothing was going to stop me from attending. So, here’s the scoop on the 80th birthday of a man who changed thousands of lives.
The invite said it would be a drive by event so stay in your car and wave as you go by. That was fine with me being he was turning 80 and all the health experts say to stay away from seniors. I figured there would be 15 or maybe 20 cars and then I would be heading home but when I arrived for this surprise party there were over 200 lining up. The participants included a dozen police cars, two semi-trailers, a six-horse team of Percheron horses pulling a full-size replica stage coach and a dozen kids riding Clydesdale horses. All in all, the birthday parade was over two miles long. Riding in some of the cars I saw several past governors, professional rodeo cowboys and well-known sports figures. To top it all off there was a jet flyover that passed overhead not once but three times.
I think you regular readers have already guessed who I’m talking about but those of you who don’t know here’s a very, very brief biography. He was born poor in Duvall. Washington where his grandparents had settled after immigrating from Germany. His father worked on a small dairy farm and his mother worked in a grocery store earning $25 a month. His parents showed him the value of hard work and they also taught him that God loves everyone. When in 1949 he met Billy Graham during a revival at Taft Stadium in Seattle this boy of eleven saw God in an even brighter light.
After high school he went on to college, then began a career focused on helping other people, eventually buying the company he worked for and all the while doing things according to God’s word. He also became a patriot not only in his heart but with his wallet, supporting our country and especially our youth. To this day he will tell anyone who listens that young people hold our future and all they need is direction and opportunities. Along the way he has made thousands of friends so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by all the cars at my friend Bob Funk’s 80th birthday party.
I’ll end by telling you nurses “keep going” and so will I as I am giving away another bunch of my bestselling book Footprints in the Dew to nurses. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (405) 340-9202 to request a copy.
Till next time I’ll see ya down the road….