Lost Mule Lodge
… a journey that began with a cabin in the woods
We watched them relive the emotional experience of how he thought he had lost her – he would choke back his tears as he told her, “I am so sorry.”
Long ago in a little Missouri town lived the most beautiful couple we have ever known.
They had just celebrated 50 years together when our young family of 4 moved into the modest, 100 year old farmhouse across the street from their cattle ranch.
Never having children, their lives were enriched by each other, their land and the life they had created together.
We would often wake up to hear them driving by honking at 1:30am – on their way home from an evening of dinner and dancing or after a New Year’s Eve party – we would feel a bit embarrassed – we were supposed to be the young ones.
They were quick to open their hearts to our young family.
We had much to learn from the life experiences of this older couple.
Over the next 5 years – we would have the good fortune of spending many evenings, sitting on their front porch visiting and soaking in all we could from their knowledge of cattle and life.
What they didn’t know is that we would forever hold tight in our hearts this couple and how they would interact with one another.
It was a common sight to see her ride on the fender of his tractor as he mowed their fields – we would hear their distant laughter and conversation.
He was 77 and she 75. It was a beautiful spring day.
The sun was spreading warmth on the new grass, the gentle southern breeze welcomed the songbirds as they gathered nesting materials.
She was perched on the fender of the John Deere, her familiar seat.
When suddenly the tractor jolted as the front wheels were maneuvering over a ditch.
She fell, and laid unconscious where the blades of the brush hog were spinning – he got the tractor stopped – and climbed down to scoop her limp body into his arms.
That 77 year old man carried the love of his life through the fields all the way to the house.
As he was carrying her – he truly thought he had lost her.
As she regained consciousness she felt water dripping onto her face. She thought it must be raining. As her brain fog began to clear – she became aware it was not rain – but his tears dripping onto her cheeks and into her hair as he was carrying her. She could hear the cry of his voice repeating, “Oh God, please don’t take her from me, please.”
She needed stitches where the spinning blade had sliced into her arm.
To hear them tell the story is a testament to the intense love they shared.
It was as if they were reliving those agonizing moments with the telling.
His glistening eyes would turn red as he would tell her how sorry he was – he would wipe his tears with a hand that was still strong but spotted with age. She would reach over to comfort him with a gentle pat as if her touch was needed to convince him that she really was fine.
They spent their final five Christmas’ with our young family.
They taught us more than they ever knew. More about how to live and how to love than how to raise cattle.
When you open your heart to others, the lessons pour from one soul to another. It is no accident when people come into our lives.
We think of this amazing couple often – especially during the holidays.
Merry Christmas my friends
each and every one of you!
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All photos, thoughts, experiences and opinions are my own.
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