The guest speaker for the Banquet was Gene Stallings, former coach of the Texas Aggies, the Crimson Tide and then coached under Tom Landry at the Dallas Cowboys before becoming head coach of the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals. Coach Stallings is a rancher and lives not far from where I do.
I expected Coach Stallings to talk about his experiences in football -- as a player and then as a coach. He did not. He talked about ranching and overcoming hardship and maintaining proper values. He talked about perseverance and about making a difference in someone else's life. He is giving back to others. Currently he is pursuing building a hospital in Haiti. Of all his accomplishments, it is the one he seems most proud of.
During his speech he talked about taking pride in what you have been given stewardship over. He specifically referred to his ranch. He said, "I don't want to see a weed in the pasture or a tree limb fallen in the woods. I want everything to be well-maintained and there is no excuse for walking past something that needs fixing day after day and not fixing it." Well.....those may not have been his exact words, but they represent the gist of it.
I expecially found it interesting in light of my current project on the ranch. Clearing brush from the fencelines that pass through some woods on the place. Things had grown up into a tangle of Greenbriar, Blackberries, Dewberries, locust trees, and a million saplings of various species of tree and shrub. There were trees fallen on the fence pressing down the wires and there was no good way to get through to fix things. So, a couple of weeks ago I set out to change that. I'm doing it the old fashioned way too. A lot of sweat and manual labor. I figure it's a good way to get back in shape and it seems much more productive than going to a gym or jogging. There are a couple of pictures below to give you an idea....