News from the Secretary By Larry Gabriel Do you know any old cowboys?
Western folklore and cowboy poets say heaven has a special reward for old cowboys. They may be right.
This is a story I heard:
Cowboy: Excuse me mister. Can you tell me where I am?
St. Peter: Sure I can. You're at the pearly gate.
Cowboy: It looks a little like a cattle chute.
St. Peter: Well I am sure it does to you. You see, each person has his own kind of gate and his own brand of standards by which he will be measured.
Cowboy: I'm not sure I am up to being measured. I didn't always spend a lot of time in church.
St. Peter: I know that, but you do recall hearing things about reaping what you sow and the measure you use is the measure you will receive, don't you?
Cowboy: I remember hearing that, but it was never very clear to me what that was all about.
St. Peter: It is very simple really. I will apply to you the same standards you used all your life.
Cowboy: That's fair enough.
St. Peter: It says here you always believed in honor, integrity and trying to do the right thing. Is that true?
St. Peter: Did you always try to do that?
St. Peter: Did you regret it anytime you didn't live up to that?
St. Peter: Well, that's the only test we've got for cowboys. You passed. You can go home.
Cowboy: What do mean go home?
St. Peter: Pass through this chute. I'll put a little brand on you and you can go back to your ranch on the Moreau River. It won't be exactly the same, because you don't have to work unless you want to and you will never be hungry or tired or cold or sick, and when the horse throws you your bones won't break. It's your new Moreau River ranch.
Cowboy: I can't quite get my mind wrapped around all you are saying. How is it that you talk just like me?
St. Peter: Have you ever heard of "speaking in tongues"?
St. Peter: Well, that just means that when I speak each person hears it in his own language. So I talk "cowboy" when you hear me speak.
Cowboy: That's really something! If I had known how great this was I would've spent less time talking to my horse and the cows and more time visiting with religious folks about this stuff.
St. Peter: But then you wouldn't be a cowboy and you'd be standing at a different gate.
Cowboy: I see your point. Maybe I'll just shut up and be on my way.
St. Peter: Good choice.
I don't claim this story is a fact, but it is dedicated to the memory of my uncle Frank, a real South Dakota cowboy from a West River ranch on the Moreau River, who headed home this week.