Life Stories

March 9, 2016

Life Stories

(as published in the May 2016 issue of Today's Horse Magazine)

 

Have you ever had an experience in your life that has stayed with you? I think we all have at one point or another. How compelling was that experience for you? Was it impactful enough to become a story that you retell from time to time? My husband encountered something like this the other day and I feel compelled to share it with all of you.

 

We went bowling last weekend with some friends. My husband went into the bar to get a pitcher of beer to share with our friends and he didn't come back. I thought it was strange after awhile so I went to check on him. There he sat bellied up to the bar....not drinking....talking. He was visiting with an elderly gentlemen. I could tell by the look on Shane's face that it was an engrossing conversation so I left him be. After what seemed like forever he finally emerged and we headed home. Our entire ride home involved him going over his conversation. He was enthralled to say the least. Following is an overview of that conversation as best as I can sum up:

 

While ordering a pitcher of beer, the older gentleman glanced over and asked Shane where he was from. Shane told him where we live. We have a common last name so the man asked if he was related to so and so. Shane said he wasn't and that he had grown up in Montana. The elderly gentleman told him that he had the best hunting trip of his lifetime up in Montana. My husband loves hunting. He was involved in his family's outfitting business since he was quite young. I've been known to turn in way before him on many occasions when hunting stories have been involved. Shane asked this fellow where he had hunted and it just happens that he had hunted in the same area Shane had grown up in (Absarokee). In fact, the elderly man said that he remembered his guide's first name. It was Corky. Shane said the hair stood up on the back of his neck. Corky is Shane's grandpa's first name! Shane asked if his guide's name was Corky Hedrick. Sure enough, that was him! 

 

The conversation turned into tales of hunting and truly the experience of a lifetime. Shane even knew some of the tales this guy was telling him. He couldn't believe that this fellow had kept these stories so vivid in his mind. After all, he is 79 years old. The fact that his hunting trip of a lifetime happened 55 years ago was absolutely amazing. Shane said he felt an immense sense of pride to know that his grandfather had made such an impact in this fellow's life. Shane was absolutely bowled over by the fact that this guy talked like it happened just yesterday. The power of that one experience had stayed with this gentleman his entire life!

 

This occurrence got me thinking. Life is a journey for all of us. We are born, we get educated and/or we go to work, we live our lives, and then it's over. We can talk about making money and things like that, but I think the most amazing thing a person can do is to have a positive impact on someone's life. I can only hope that I come across one situation where 55 years from now someone remembers me and an experience we shared that impacts them that much. How incredible would that be?

 

I grew up in a ranching family where stories of the past were a daily thing. My grandpa, Art Reukauf, passed away when I was 11, but I remember stories he told and more vividly I remember all the stories folks told about him after he was gone. Every once in awhile when I get back to the area where I was raised  (near Miles City) I run into someone who likes to reminisce. I love that! So much of us comes from those who have had an impact on our lives. I think stories should be listened to and retold. I've heard my dad's rodeo stories more than I can count, but every time I hear them I enjoy them. Why? Because my dad's face lights up. You can tell it was the highlight of his youth. He takes pride in that time and I admire him for that. He has shared with me who has had an impact on his life by his stories. Not everyone will tell you intimate details of their lives, but as you listen to their stories they will allow you a glimpse if you pay attention.

 

I grew up in a ranching family where stories of the past were a daily thing. My grandpa, Art Reukauf, passed away when I was 11, but I remember stories he told and more vividly I remember all the stories folks told about him after he was gone. Every once in awhile when I get back to the area where I was raised  (near Miles City) I run into someone who likes to reminisce. I love that! So much of us comes from those who have had an impact on our lives. I think stories should be listened to and retold. I've heard my dad's rodeo stories more than I can count, but every time I hear them I enjoy them. Why? Because my dad's face lights up. You can tell it was the highlight of his youth. He takes pride in that time and I admire him for that. He has shared with me who has had an impact on his life by his stories. Not everyone will tell you intimate details of their lives, but as you listen to their stories they will allow you a glimpse if you pay attention.

 

Here is my question for you and why I decided to write this piece. What stories do you tell and better yet what stories do folks tell about you? Don't get me wrong, we have no control over what tales folks will repeat about us. I've spent years trying to outrun certain stories from my past. I finally figured out that I couldn't outrun them anymore, but what I could do was to create new stories to tell. And these stories were so much more empowering that the less flattering ones eventually fell away. I've had the opportunity to grow in my lifetime and I also have had the opportunity to change my direction in life to be a more positive one. I'm grateful for that. I love to share my journey with others. I love to share stories that enlighten, uplift, and inspire. I figure there is enough negativity in the world and I'm not going to add to it even a little bit. What you think about comes about so choose to think positive. Have gratitude! Once you train your mind to think this way it relieves a huge burden and it will change your life. I also enjoy sharing stories that teach and direct. If we listen hard enough there are life lessons in every story. Life is a journey that should be enjoyed. I know that now as I've learned it from the stories I have heard. It is up to each of us to write the story of our lives. Remember this, don't let anyone else hold the pen. ~Cheyenne

 

 

 

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