“Don’t smile at a funeral.”
Whoever said that would’ve been offended by reflections bringing pleasantries at recent graveside services.
Uncontrollable the honorable feeling as the good pastor put 92 years into 15 minutes.
True living, farm life to the ultimate, yet most remarkably one of the very best people ever known.
Wasn’t acquainted with Max until he provided sheep for a judging contest hosted by neighbor farm couple.
Always the most personable gentleman, remaining-lifetime friendship soon established.
When that annual field day became this ranch project, Max was most dependable help.
Sometimes call-request was late, but the class or two of sheep always arrived early. Whatever assistance needed, moving livestock, taking reasons, collecting cards, Max did it.
A quarter-of-a-century, sometimes beautiful, sometimes icy cold. One frigid day, big wooly sheep escaped. Younger set scattering to retrieve from a 10-acre field, Max grinned the way for which he was best known.
At first-year horse sale during the field day, Tyson offered Little Jo, filly he’d trained, for auction. Apparent affection between not-yet-teenager and proud-project created sentimentality.
Max heartstrings touched demanding: “You can’t sell that boy’s horse.” Gavel dropped, but Jo remained.
When “mutton busting’s” became rodeo attraction, Max provided sheep for kids to ride. Sometimes there weren’t any, but new flock soon acquired.
Offered complimentary dinner, always “I’ve already eaten,” buying his own to help the cause.
Young people Max utmost fondness. Marrying a widow, her son became his own, then grandchildren, great grandchildren.
Family business partnership with genuine interest in their everything farm, sports, special endeavors, love never ceasing.
A 4-H alumni, Max supplied livestock projects for club members, sometimes without stipend. At fair auctions, hand in the air. Bidding when nobody would, countless projects purchased. Camps, scholarships, judging teams, generosity extended.
Land care, crop production, hogs, cattle, horses prides too, often remembering Thunder his palomino stallion.
Not overshadowing but nearly so, Max loved to dance Saturday night. “I must get going, can’t be late.”
Likewise, enthusiast card player with lady friends of recent, while also anticipating pizza suppers.
When deteriorated-health demanded consistent oxygen, no bitterness, still going, smiling, helping others.
Max, inspirational hero for the world.
Reminded of Psalm 49:4: “Listen carefully to many truisms and solve challenges with such inspiration.” Because, Psalm 80:19: “A mighty hero has power to help, be a champion.”