Come Walk With Us (Part 26)

Complimentary Story
May 2024

   This is the beginning of an unexpected fantastic weekend. We had the tent set and were unloading the last of the gear from the cart when a truck pulled in with two men inside. One of the men got out and asked what we were doing. I was afraid they were going to tell us we couldn’t camp here, but that was the farthest thing from this gentleman’s mind. The man said he had seen us out on the road and would have offered a ride but he had a load on his truck and couldn’t. He was apologetic and seemed to feel very badly about not offering assistance.

   Our new friend, who’s name we still don’t know, wants to buy our breakfast at the local cafe and will be here at 7:30 AM. He showed up a half hour early and said he would wait for us at the cafe. As we ate and visited, he showed us some literature on an event being held this weekend called “The Dick Shepperd Cowboy Gathering.” We looked over the brochures he handed us and Harry asked what this gentleman’s connection is with all this. He replied, “That was my dad.” We learned his name is Clyde Shepperd and he and his sister’s family have a chuck wagon that has won a large number of awards at these cowboy gatherings.

   He asked if we would be his guests at this event. He invited us to come to his home today, spend the night and go to the gathering with him tomorrow. We accepted his kind invitation with very little hesitation. The gathering is being held at Nara Visa, New Mexico, about 50 miles from here. We will have to change our route some, but will continue on from Nara Visa. After breakfast we packed up and walked the mile to Clyde’s house at the edge of town.

   We were up at 5:30 AM. I headed for the barn, where Shiloh had spent the night. I was very concerned about him, as he has never spent a night away from us. He had whined and barked until we took the tarp that we use for rest stops to the barn. With his “security blanket” to lie on, he quieted down. We made sure he had plenty of food and water, but I was uneasy about him and was relieved to find him in good condition and content.

   By late morning we were loaded up and headed for the gathering. We had to make a stop at the home of one of Clyde’s daughters and pick up another truck. When we got to the ranch house Clyde asked Harry if he would drive the other pickup truck. Harry got a big kick out of the fact that when we crossed the New Mexico state line we were not only riding instead of walking, but he was driving!

   When we got to Nara Visa, Clyde’s sister and her family were there with the chuck wagon. This family follows the tradition set by their father, Dick Shepperd, who was a cook on the ranches in the area. The chuck wagon they use is an original their father used. There are still a large number of ranches in the area and these people are proud of the cowboy traditions and work at keeping them alive.

   This evening we attended the show in the auditorium. Two hours of traditional cowboy music and poems. Now this wasn’t your country western music. This was cowboy music. There is a big difference and it was wonderful. Some of the performers were local people and some had traveled long distances. Some were amateur and some were professional. All were good. The show ended at 10:15 PM and most of the people gathered at the chuck wagon for fellowship and food.

   The next day started with a chuck wagon breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, sourdough biscuits and gravy, camp coffee, and orange juice. Later there was singing and poetry under the shelter. This evening there was another chuck wagon meal. Then there was another show in the auditorium.

   We began to get better acquainted with everyone this evening and to really feel we were among friends. One of the nice things about this crowd is the politeness and congeniality that prevails and the lack of cursing, filthy language or dirty stories and jokes. Just lots of good, clean family fun.

   By the time I got cleaned up a little and dressed the next morning, it was time for church under the shelter. This service was really special. A few poems and songs, all with religious themes and a good number of congregational hymns. (Hebrews 2:12). Someone would call out a favorite hymn and everyone would sing it. The outdoor setting, with warm sun and cool breezes, added a sense of closeness to God and His creation. (Genesis 1:31a).

   We packed up and Harry loaded the cart into Clyde’s trailer because he said he wanted to take us a ways on down the road. Before we stopped, we were in San Jon, 44 miles from Nara Visa. We couldn’t believe it. He has cut a week off our trip. Another long ride the Lord had promised when we entered Oklahoma.

   A motor home, parked near where we made camp, appeared to be parked for the night. Not long after we set our tent, however, it pulled out. I guess they were uneasy about spending the night so close to such questionable looking characters. I hope they found a good, safe place to spend the night.

   The park is well lit and the bathrooms are clean and even have toilet paper. What more could we ask for!  Thank you for a wonderful weekend, Father!   

   “And I have been with thee whithersoever thou hast walked, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thee...”  (I Chronicles 17:8 KJV).

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