I am getting along toward three score years and ten. I look about me and see many fine contemporaries, and I wonder if it is true that only the good die young. And if it is, what then must the longer life lend to justify one’s having lived and labored here? There are times when I’m not so sure of just what I believe, and the shades of eventide cast their shadows of perplexing questions left unanswered, and doubtless always will be.
Since early memory of having formed a desire to be of some use and helpfulness, it has been a worry that I should be called to that eternal sleep from which none have been known to awaken and leave nothing to pay for the space and time I have so copiously occupied here. I should be most happy if after passing it might be said of me, he was well-liked, better known, and will be longer remembered than most.
I am convinced that events, circumstances, and happenings have much to do with one’s beliefs. I shall relate a couple of them in my own life—of which there are several—that make me believe that there is a destiny that shapes our ends. When I was a boy of about 10 on the farm, I herded cattle and drove them out and back from the pasture. One morning, an unruly steer broke from the herd. I gave chase on my cow pony, and as we were streaking across the prairie, when my pony’s four feet went into a gofer hole we went somersaulting through the air. As we landed, the hips of the horse crushed into the earth, just grazing my head. Was it luck that I fell just to the side of, instead of under, the horse?
On another occasion, I was called to help rescue a young girl who had attempted to scale a canyon wall and it grew dark and she became afraid to climb up farther or go back down. Her father and I took a lantern and some rope, and as we approached the canyon, we separated. He took the lantern and went down into the canyon while I took the rope and started to cross some sagebrush towards the rim. It was quite dark and I had been walking a little while when suddenly something, a voice or inner warning, said to stop. I lit an old-fashioned match, and in the glow, I saw a yawning canyon but a foot away, a sheer drop of over two hundred feet. One step further, and I would surely have plunged to my death on the rocks below. Only divine providence could have brought me through these and other narrow squeaks of disaster. My mother used to say, ”God watches over the foolish and the careless ones.”
Throughout my life, I have had a splendid time, and in spite of accidents, sickness and sorrow, gray days and hay days, living has been good, and society, nor the world, owes me anything. I believe in being a good neighbor, lending my hand to worthwhile things, opposing that which tends to corrupt and weaken the morals of the people. And I believe in a simple philosophy fashioned out of the life that I have lived here and hope to enjoy more and more as the years go by.