This story is a very special one to me. I would like to share the background of it with you. One day I got the inspiration to write and this is what came out. Well as usual I showed it to my wife for her to proof read. For some reason she started crying and told me that it was just perfect and to not change a thing. Well a week or so after that my birthday came up and Patty gave me a present. As she gave it to me she started crying again and told me that she had bought me this picture some time before I had shown her this story that I had written. The picture that she had given me was a pencil drawing by an artist named Lyle Trimmer. It shows a cowboy on a horse leaning forward about to let his loop sail. It also shows in the background on the canyon wall the outline of a mountain lion and in the clouds is the image of Jesus. To me it was conformation of the fact that God speaks to us and inspires us on a daily basis and all we have to do is listen and respond.


Vaya Con Dios

The Eclectic Cowboy

Winfield Davenport

Gatherin Strays


Lord, here I sit by the campfire in the dark just before dawn.  Most of the herd has been moved to greener pastures.  All except for a couple of strays.  One is that old mossy horn, his days are numbered but he still tries to stick to the old ways.  The other is just a youngster, sowing a few wild oats, he decided to just cut and run.  I sit here praying that with your help that I will have an opportunity to lead them back to the herd.


As I saddle my horse and start to ride out a chill runs up my spine as a scream of a mountain lion pierces the darkness.  I realize that I am not the only one hunting strays today.  I have an ever vigilant advisory, but with your help I can win the race and overcome evil.


We start out scouting sign looking for anything that will make the day shorter and the work easier.  Everywhere that we go I see your work.  There over by a stream is a doe and her fawn taking a drink of water.  A blue jay sings from the top of a cedar his song is one of hope and grace.  When the sun starts to warm the body then the dust starts to rise and chokes the life out of everything.  Finally after countless hours of stifling heat, dust and cedar flies we get a break.  A track in the dust, it leads off through the cedars.  Then we run across another set, they are wandering around searching for nourishment looking for a way out of this hole.  As we follow the trail another set of tracks appear out of nowhere.  The cat has also found their trail, he is here with one purpose in mind to keep the strays from following the herd and entering the green pastures and the nourishment that they provide.


As we follow the trail I notice that it leads into a box canyon.  This could be the break we need but I feel strangely uneasy.  It is as if we are going into the lions den.  As I go deeper into the canyon I get the chill running up my spine as a soul wrenching scream is heard.  I look up on the side of the canyon and there is the cat, just waiting as if he knows he will have his own chance.  I ease up the canyon not making a sound, horse and rope ready, praying the I will have just one chance to bring them back to the herd.


I come out of the cedars and standing on the other side of the clearing are the ones I have been searching for.  I ease up to them trying to calm their fears and start them back down the trail to the summer pasture.  All of the sudden the scream occurs again.  The youngster gets scared and bolts for the breaks.  A choice has to be made, I decide to go after the youngster.  My horse carries me at breakneck speed, popping cedar limbs, trying to keep up with the one I am after.


As I hit a clearing I have one hope, I say a quick prayer as I let my loop sail.  The rope lands gently around his neck.  He resists but finally gives in to the rope and the horse.  We head up the trail, back to the herd and greener pastures.


As we are leaving I turn and see the old man standing at the top of the ridge watching us leave.  It's as if he remembers those greener pastures from years gone by but is to stubborn to follow.  I know in my mind that some day soon I will have the chance to come back to that box canyon and attempt to lead him back to the herd.  Thank you Lord for that chance and for the ability that you gave me to be able to bring one more stray back to the herd.

Winfield Davenport

October, 1999



Picture of Lyle Trimmer Print

Look close at the side of the hill in front of the horses head and in the clouds in the upper right hand corner.