Yesterday, I was up near the oil wells on the ranch. I saw a new Lincoln Continental halfway up a trail going to the new well being drilled on the property. At a cost of $600,000, I figured hmmm, better go make sure the man is not stuck since it had just finished raining. I discovered a wonderful 82 year old man who just happened to be the man responsible for drilling all the wells on the property! He chuckled and said, “no son, I am not stuck – this Lincoln can go anyplace”. I smiled and loved this man’s spirit in an instant!
He sat back in the leather comfort of his car and lit a Winston and gave me a brief history of his life and how it intertwined with the owner of the ranch. He started out at 13 years old working in the mines back east and saved every penny! He got a guy to teach him how to fly and shot coyotes for $5 a pelt for gas money to fly his first plane. He could fly before he could “legally” drive. I was fascinated! It was my Sunday morning sermon from a man who could spend $600,000 and hope to hit oil. Of course, like he said – “I have already paid Charles Westwood (the ranch owner) well over a million in profit on that one well pumping right in front of us”.
He told me of his grandchildren, integrity (key to a man’s success), education and money. He talked about people we knew with little to no integrity and how sometimes one has to improvise to make money today. The difference between doing what is right and remembering one’s debts and how a man is judged on his word. He told me of the late owner Charles Westwood a man of his word and one that quietly helped more people than most would know. He smiled remembering when “this well came in at 2am” and how it formed a bond, a partnership that lasted a lifetime. He told me how he was at this very well with his favorite grandson and his grandson remarked how the oil smelled (like rotten eggs) and he smiled and said “smells like money” – now a favorite saying of his grandson,
We talked about politics and at 82 he had seen it all. He made one point that stuck! We are a nation of warmongers! He is a lifelong Republican but sounded more like a Libertarian – in his words ” doesn’t matter what party – they are the same and do not listen to the people”. Vitriol is the only word I know to express his disgust with our government. The waste, the regulation, the hamstringing a man’s ability to make an honest wage. He worried about his grandchildren and their education. He wondered where our once great nation was headed! In his words ” if we took all the money we have spent on wars in the last 60 years and poured it into our country – we would be the greatest nation – but now everyone hates us because we try to force our morals, ethics, and ways on the world!” Isolationist – perhaps? but I loved how this man who came from nothing and still let nothing stand in his way – thought!
You have my respect man in the white Lincoln Continental – not because you are wealthy – but because you know integrity and you understand how important education and young minds are to our great country!
I will visit with you again when the oil flows from this Crow Indian Land – Westwood Ranch!