January 9, 2015

My Grandma Emilie's Brother - Great Uncle Clifford Calhoun

Old-time cowboy to reign at 12th Raymond Rodeo
by Morgan Voorhis

RAYMOND – An all-American cowboy – Clifford Calhoun, 84, of Madera – will serve as grand marshal for the 12th annual Raymond parade.

"I was picked based on my age and reputation," he chuckles with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
His reputation is that of an expert horse trainer – something he gave up just 12 years ago at the age of 72.

Mr. Calhoun was born in 1913 in Green Mountain, seven miles outside Raymond.

His family homesteaded there in the late 1800s, while his father worked in the mines.

As for education, young Cliff finished the eighth grade before going to work for Lindsay Wright, a cattleman in Green Mountain.

By the age of 16, he was competing in all kinds of rodeo events, such as team-roping and steer-stopping, an event where the steer is roped and stopped.

And at 17, he began working for Paul Westfall in Le Grand.
Over the years, Mr. Calhoun built 200 miles of fence that "was straight as an arrow to China and strong as the rock of Gibraltar."

"Sounds kind of poetic, doesn't it?," he adds.

For entertainment, horse races in downtown Raymond were a hoot in the 1950s.  Cowboys on horses raced through downtown weekly.  It is rumored that the crowds then were as big or bigger as those now attending the Raymond parade.  While the crowds bet on their favorite to win, the cowboys bet each other on who would finish first.  "I never lost a race," says Mr. Calhoun proudly.

However, a little more softly, he whispers, "Well one time I lost, but I don't like to talk about that."
Mr. Calhoun believes he won because he knew the horses.  He also had his own winning strategy – letting the others get a good lead so they would think he was lagging behind.  And then, surprise: he would race to cross the finish line first.

Mr. Calhoun recalls racing against Everett Philip, Raymond's first grand marshal, and also Harry Baker Sr., in Madera.

Although being a cowboy was busy work, he found time to romance Miss Margie Footman.
In 1939 they married and had two sons, Cliff and Tom, who, as adults, were instrumental in helping their father win the 1963 championship buckle for earning the most money roping.

"I roped every week for a year," Mr. Calhoun recalls.

"Sixty head a week, 20 at Merced, 20 at Clovis and 20 at Madera."

Since roping is a partner event, his two sons helped out. While one Calhoun roped the head, the other roped the heel.

Still young and feisty at 54, Mr. Calhoun broke a Brahma cow for his grandchildren to ride.
"We put a saddle on her and it was just like riding a horse after Grandpa broke her," says granddaughter Kim Calhoun, 34.

Mr. Calhoun's mischievous side be-comes even more apparent as he tells of one particular Madera rodeo.
"I rode Mae West," he says slyly, looking around to see if the others in the room caught his little joke.
It is true he rode the bronc, "Mae West," bareback, until she bucked him off.

"I thought a ton of dynamite had exploded under me," he adds when he thinks of the jolt of hitting the ground.
Mr. Calhoun has five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

With him and his wife separating many years ago, he now resides in a Madera retirement home, where he continues with his training.

Now, instead of horses, he trains dogs using ducks and chickens.

On Saturday, April 18, his day will be a hustle-bustle of varied activities as he rides through the parade, representing the Raymond community.

And equally important, he will have the opportunity to reminisce with other Ray-mond old-timers, who will be in town, not only for the rodeo, but for the Raymond High School Reunion of all classes attending the school before it closed in the 1960s.

Mr. Calhoun will probably be tuckered out when all is said and done.

But as most folk know, it's impossible to keep a good, ol' American cowboy down.

Raymond Parade begins on Saturday, April 18, at 1 p.m.
Information: 689-3341; 689-3444; or 689-3000.

*******************Clifford Calhoun passed away on March 29, 2006******  Youc an read more about him here:  http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=13811769

January 3, 2015

Our "Lucy has graduated"!

We received a call this morning from Lucy's son letting us know that Lucy passed away last night.  In his own words, we were informed that "Lucy has graduated".  She was a strong believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and those of us who know the Lord know that, "to live is Christ, to die is gain"!

We met Lucy in September of 2011.  She was sitting in her wheelchair at a small bible study that Michael and I attended at Atria just a few weeks prior to him starting his Pastoral Care Ministry and Sunday Preaching ministry there.  I recall that first meeting vividly.  Myrtle, who has since gone home to be with the Lord, was easy to get to know and did a great deal of interacting.  Lucy, on the other hand, did not speak a word the entire time.  After the study concluded, I sat with her and discovered many things about her.  She was suffering with Parkinson disease and was having a rather difficult time dealing with her limited ability to do physical things; but there was still a twinkle in her eyes as we talked.  Lucy and I felt an immediate love for one another.

After meeting Lucy at that Bible Study, Lucy regularly attended the Sunday services that Michael led at Atria, and we got to know her quite well.   As Lucy's strength declined she was transferred to The Terraces at Roseville and Michael (with me accompanying him on occasion) continued to visit her on a weekly basis.  Deni (my best friend) would also stop in weekly and minister to Lucy.  It was through our visits with Lucy at the Terraces that we found out about the Friday morning Bible study there where it turned out that one of my old friends from Grace Bible Church, Arnold, led the study.  Although Lucy was later moved to another facility (Eskaton), Michael has continued to partner with Arnold in ministry every Friday morning at the Terraces.

Once Lucy was moved to Eskaton, we continued to visit with her there and Michael and Deni continued to meet with her on a regular basis at different times during the week.  When I was visiting with Lucy she would always tell me the truth about her struggles and how difficult is was to be so physically helpless.  Because Lucy was transferred to Eskaton, Michael felt led to meet with the activity director to discuss the possibility of a Sunday morning service for the residents there.  He was told that they had not had one in 2 years, but would welcome one.  Michael would not be able to fill that need; but, he wanted to make sure that it would be filled and so he passed along the information to another church (Immanuel Baptist Church of Sacramento) and now one of our dear brothers in the Lord, Paul Little, will be coordinating an every Sunday service at Eskaton--providing both a worship service for the residents and an opportunity for many other men to use their gifts in this ministry area.

We still marvel at how God used our relationship with Lucy and Michael's faithfulness to God and the Ministry to help fill so many spiritual needs in two additional facilities.  We had been praying that God would grant Lucy peace regarding her situation and also that she would be used by God in the midst of her own suffering.  God answered that prayer!  Just recently Lucy told Michael that for the first time in her life she shared Christ and the gospel with one of the other residents.  She also has recently told Michael that she has stopped fighting and has peace.

Lucy is still at Eskaton and we will be visiting with her tomorrow evening.  But; after checking the mail tonight, I simply had to post a little bit about Lucy.  There is so much more to the story; and someday I hope to have the time to share more of the details of how the Lord used, and is using, a 90+ year old little lady with Parkinson's disease named Lucy to work His will in so many people's lives.

Thank you Lord and Thank you Lucy - We love you!

January 1, 2015

New Year's Resoultion

A New Year's Resolution!

"My times are in Your hand!" Psalm 31:15 

Firmly believing that my times are in God's hand, I here submit myself and all my affairs for the ensuing year, to the wise and gracious disposal of God's divine providence. Whether God appoints for me . . . .
  health--or sickness,
  peace--or trouble,
  comforts--or crosses,
  life--or death
--may His holy will be done!

All my time, strength, and service, I devote to the honor of the Lord Jesus--and even my common actions. It is my earnest expectation, hope, and desire, my constant aim and endeavor--that Jesus Christ may be magnified in me.

In everything I have to do--my entire dependence is upon Jesus Christ for strength. And whatever I do in word or deed, I desire to do all in His name, to make Him my Alpha and Omega. I have all from Him--and I would use all for Him.

If this should prove a year of affliction, a sorrowful year to me--I will fetch all my supports and comforts from the Lord Jesus and stay myself upon Him, His everlasting consolations, and the good hope I have in Him through grace.

And if it should be my dying year--then my times are in the hand of the Lord Jesus. And with a humble reliance upon His mediation, I would venture into the eternal world looking for the blessed hope. Dying as well as living--Jesus Christ will, I trust, be gain and advantage to me.

Oh, that the grace of God may be sufficient for me, to keep me always in a humble sense of my own unworthiness, weakness, folly, and infirmity--together with a humble dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ for daily grace and strength.

(Matthew Henry)