Pete and Pauline own a three-room cabin on the Grade next to the old highway down below their ranch. It came with property they bought years ago. Pete showed it to me one time with a “it’s not much” comment. There’s no electricity, but it’s got running water and a working wood stove.
“Who lives here?” I asked.
“Well, we let old Marv Whitman stay here. Of course we don’t charge him rent or nothin’ like that. Marv is trying to get by on his pension check and always has a pile of doctor bills.”
“Is he a relative?”
“A former hired man?”
“Nope, he never worked for us, but he spent most of his life cowboyin’ up here on the prairie. We just figured he was entitled to a warm corner.”
That’s the Western way...whether sharing a campfire or a part of the bunkhouse. And a cowman who faithfully performed his duty and grew old in that service had certainly earned the right for a bit of comfort. Pete and Pauline didn’t think of it as charity. It’s a cinch Marv didn’t see it that way either. It’s the Code of the West way of thinking...just doing what’s right by a man.
Every town’s got a few like that—folks who’ve worked hard, but down on their lot or worn out from years of giving out. Someone needs to reach out some way and provide a warm corner. The Good Book’s got much to say about “contributing to the needs of others” (Romans 12:8).
Pete and Pauline sure got it right.