Two eighteen wheelers are neck and neck, an oversized load dragging the blades to one of T. Boone Pickens wind energy mills, mobile home after mobile home, even a honda civic with a brush guard . . . all going at least 85 mph. West Texas traffic is a little different than any where else in the state. It’s incessant.
But, just north east of exit 400 time stood still for a generous gathering of quiet country folk dressed in black. Some were overwhelmed by their loss, some just reminded of what’s in store for them, but all of them struck by the hope they have in Christ. After all, it’s only a matter of time.
It was a day to remember Marvin F. Shurley. Pastor Lewis Allen, of Sonora, delivered a short graveside remembrance since we had all just come from the service in town. It was difficult to hear as car, truck and motorcycle after car, truck and motorcycle kept barreling down I-10 topping 90 mph. But then we bowed our heads for the final prayer.
Traffic stopped. It was awe inspiring to say the least. As Pastor Lewis spoke for all of us as we lifted our friend to Our Lord, there wasn’t a car in sight. Silence. Then a breeze drifted through the gravestones and cowboy hats to rattle the leaves as Lewis got things wrapped up for ol’ Marvin. And just as he did wrap it up in Our Lord’s precious name, so did the silence wrap up and roaring highway traffic commence.
No one else spoke of it, but surely there were more who noticed. It was God’s moment of silence. And rightly so. Mr. Shurley was a unique man. Good. Diligent. Determined. Entrepreneurial and Kind. Read the obituary if you’d like to know more about Marvin.
Unfortunately, you won’t get the whole story. I’m not sure it could be told. As I stood and listened to Louis Balas tell Pastor Allen how well he did the service and that Marvin would have appreciated it, I think Pastor Allen said it best.
“Well, I am certainly honored to have the respect of someone like Marvin, ” he said.
I wish I had the benefit of knowing him better, but there are two things I’ll never forget. His two-door Cadillac and an evening I spent with him on a back porch in Fredericksburg, Texas. I had known him as a rancher and pioneer in the meat goat industry until that night. After that I thought, hell he’s a philosopher and politician wrangler. We discussed everything from the types of people it takes to stick with ranching horses, cattle, goats, sheep or whatever all the way to motivating politicians in Washington, D.C. to take actions that benefit the agricultural industry here in Texas that Marvin evidently felt responsible for.
Many of us that are involved in ag owe Mr. Shurley a thank you and don’t even know it. But don’t worry, he wouldn’t hold it against you. He lead a rough life. Very rough. Right until its end. And you’d be hard pressed to catch him without a smile on his face and one hellofa conversation in his mind.
Thanks for turning down the volume today, Lord so we could have a chance to say goodbye.
Usually I head to the ranch on Thursdays. Here are some of those stories:
- Cowboy Consistancy in South Texas – Part 1
- Working Cattle and Riding Colts: Thursday Reality Check
- Calf Roping – Rough Trail Drives – And Family