It may seem, at first, that this is a story about Rex. And it does have to start there.
Rex was old. He was more often drunk than sober. He loved his ranching days, even though they were fast fading. His youth was gone. He couldn't help much at brandings. He couldn't rope like he used to. Even training the colts he loved so much was hard.
Celebrating with the boys, however, always seemed to get easier. Telling tall tales. Drinking whiskey, sometimes rum. Always with straight up classic Coke. No ice. Nothing fancy for this old timer. He was one who did remember line camps. And packing the mule after letting him blow a bit so the pack wouldn't slide and get kicked to pieces hours from camp. He did remember how to rodeo, ranch and man he could work cows.
Rex had his habits. Stressing out the church ladies by peeling apples with his 'castrating' knife was one. They didn't know, of course, that it was clean enough for surgery. They just about fainted at the thought of the surgery and food mixing on the same tool.
But this isn't about Rex. Or his wild family. Or their jack-run-wild faith. No this is about Mouse.
Mouse was the horse, like Baalam's donkey, that no one thought could do anything. He listened to a voice no one else could hear. And that Voice told him to watch out for Rex. You see Rex didn't drive. Never needed to, he always rode. Mouse, like that faithful donkey, did his best to make sure Rex stayed in the saddle.
Staying in the saddle sober, as you may well know, is difficult for some and easy for others. Staying in the saddle after putting to bed a bottle of Crown was nothing short of amazing. And it had nothing to do with Rex. He could haul himself into the saddle of that short grulla gelding. Navigate his feet into the stirrups. Find the horn (in front most times, but not always). And then Rex held on.
Through the fog of the bottle and his memories he knew to trust his horse. And this one he trusted with his life. Mouse looked so strange walking home with Rex. Mouse would shift, Mouse would dip. Mouse would turn his neck and hip. Mouse moved like a slow motion ninja to keep his rider right where he needed to be - in the saddle.
Mouse never failed. In the years those two rode together it was a Friday night legend. Who saw Rex first, and who saw the new moves of Mouse. Rex aged. So did Mouse. Rex's boys kept Mouse trimmed and Rex tended to his tack.
Their last ride together was the one that mattered most. It was the night that Rex didn't feel so good. He didn't even have much to drink. He was quiet, really quiet for a garrulous old story teller. When they asked he said he was fine. Fine as frog's hair in fact. He pulled himself up into the saddle. Mouse stood as patient as ever. Then Rex settled in. And for the first, and last time, Mouse did not take Rex home.
No sir. Mouse did not walk that old cowboy home to his little three room shack. Nope. He walked instead to the house of one of Rex's boys. Right up to the front step. And he stood. And he waited. And he stomped. And snorted.
Right then that son knew something was wrong. He never heard horses outside his house. He lived in a part of town where no one rode. He went to the window and saw Mouse. And saw Rex. Slumped in the saddle. Holding on to the horn. He called his brothers. He called the doctor.
They asked why he called so fast, and he replied that Mouse was at his front door.
They got Rex out of the saddle, and Mouse around back to the lawn. The ambulance came and took Rex to the hospital. A heart attack they said. Then liver failure. He may not come home. Gather the family.
Mouse retired to being the cowkid horse. Every kid could ride him. He was 100% trust worthy.
So now you know both Rex and Mouse. Did you know, sisters and brothers in Christ, that you are Rex? We all are. But God is ever faithful and never lets us fall from His saddle. We may slide, sure. Drag our reins or lose a stirrup. Even have the cinch loosen and roll the saddle over a bit. But God never lets us go. He honours His children, and loves them. Even when all we can do is hold on. Even when the only prayer we have is, "Help" or "Please" and then "Thank you".
Jesus promised us a helper in The Holy Spirit. We are never abandoned. We are never alone. He will, like the loyal Mouse, always lead us home. Not our earthly home, but our home range in Heaven.
Do you want to find out more about riding for the Lord? Come to: Save The Cowboy and hear what you need to know about riding for God's brand!
if I were
3 days ago