Howdy Friends! Dinner had been over a while. Most everyone had left for the long drive back home. We decided to spend the night. Maybe the weekend. Grandpop moved to the porch, to watch the sunset. The young lad, glued as he was to the old man, followed with him.

Jeffery was my niece’s youngest boy. Not quite a teenager, not quite a boy, he was traveling in those in between, confusing, years. Those years far enough removed from me, that I had a hard time setting my hat on them and remembering those struggles.

That was one of those amazing things about Grandpop. He had this special, God given talent of relating to folks. No matter the age they were riding through.

Grandpop and Jeffery had settled in the big porch swing facing west. Red as a glowing amber was the sky. Up here, on Grandpop’s ranch, no matter the direction, the view was worth the trip. Whether it be the valley, the mountain, horses or cows, or sky. It was always bigger, more commanding here.

I roped a chair and settled down next to the swing.

“I’m afraid to do it, Grandpop.” Jeffery said. Everybody this side of the Mississippi, called my father Grandpop. Even me. It was just one of those things that took root decades ago.

The conversation about Jeffery, and his taking lead on the youth rodeo coming up at the Forth of July shindig, had begun over dinner. Jeffery had been tapped as organizer for his age group. And lately he’d been struggling with what Grandpop called, “Gumption.”

“It takes gumption, to get a thing done.” He’d told the lad earlier. I thought I’d remembered catching that little rock of advice. Some years back.

“Bein’ afraid to do somethin’, has nothing to do with whether you do it or not. Or if you’d be good at it.” Grandpop said.

Jeffery looked up at Grandpop. “It does for me.” And after a second he added, “What do you do if you’re afraid to do something?”

“Well, like I said, It takes gumption.” Grandpop told him.


“Yup. Gumption.” Grandpop nodded and tugged on his mustache. “Ya know, energy, commitment, ideas, and, I can do this attitude.”

“That’s what I mean. I don’t think I can do this.” Jeffery said.

“Well, there is a little rule book for just this sort of thing to keep in mind.” Grandpop said.

“Rule book?” He had Jefferey’s attention now. I could see that.

“Yup. Kind of a two step process. First you take your doubts to the Lord. Because sometimes when we get them little worries, there’s a reason.” Grandpop said.

“In prayer.” Jeffery said. “But what’s the second part? I mean if your prayer tells you to, you know, go ahead.” Jefferey was beginning to warm up to the challenge.

“Did you ever jump in a lake?” Grandpop asked with a chuckle.

“You know I have. Right over there.” Jefferey pointed to the lake in the pasture.

“It’s just like that.” Grandpop said with a grin.”



“Gettin’ started at somethin’ you’re afraid of doin’, is just like jumpin’ in a cold lake. It ain’t so cold when you get into it and start swimmin.’”

I liked that advice. But I also remembered that old lake could be mighty cold on a Spring morning. I remembered too, it never stopped us from swimming all day. ~ Gitty Up, Dutch.



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