Our 11-year-old son, Nolan, has always held his Papaw Couch and his Uncle Willy as heroes.
They’re “real cowboys,” and truly, there aren’t nearly as many of them around these days. Yep. His heroes have truly always been cowboys.
The perfect first horse.
Part of being a real cowboy is having a horse – a horse who can work cattle and help a cowboy do the work that needs to be done.
So when Uncle Willy and Aunt Tracie pulled into our drive in Illinois with a gift for young Nolan several years ago, Nolan could not have been more thrilled. Inside their trailer was Willy’s retired roping horse and Tracie’s retired barrel horse, Pistol.
By the time he stepped onto our small property, Pistol had worked hard and was ready for a slower pace. Once upon a time, he was as quick and agile as they come. But his older years had brought a different demeanor. He was laid back, he was ready to take it easy, and he was the perfect first horse for our young cowboy.
Pistol did whatever Nolan asked him to do – and truly, that old man was a saint. He was part of a few Halloween costumes – being “Bullet” for the OSU Spirit Rider; the perfect “Silver” for the Lone Ranger. He took a few trips to town as a show-and-tell for an overly excited school kid. And he was always up for a ride when Nolan or Caroline asked.
We could see his pace was slowing greatly in the past year. And we decided to let him enjoy his retirement. No more rides. Lots of “You’re a good guy, Pistol”s.
He had lived a good, long 30 years. But we knew his time on earth was drawing to a close.
Rest easy, old friend.
This week, Pistol was buried on a hill overlooking the ranch where Willy works every day.
He’s back home now, and he’s at peace.
Thank you, Willy and Tracie, for giving Nolan the gift of a lifetime.
And thank you, Pistol, for being the perfect first horse for our young boy. We couldn’t have asked for a better, more-patient friend than you.
Rest easy, old man. You will certainly hold a place in our hearts forever.