I do have some folks tell me that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself about the way I have lived my life. I’m sorry. I can’t help it. It’s how I feel and who I am.
But there was one particular comment last week that has been on my mind since I read it. The comment was made by Shirley Evans. Mrs. Evans is the mother of one of my old high school buddies, Ricky Williams.
Unlike a lot of us, Ricky left Cherokee County years ago and moved to Idaho. And even though I saw Mrs. Evans about a year ago, I haven’t seen Ricky in years. I understand he is doing quite well and for that I am thankful.
In the past I have written about my love for horses while growing up. A big influence on that was the Williams family. I may have had horses, rode horses, fed horses and all of the other things that go along with owning a horse, the Williams family knew horses. And they loved them even more than me.
Benny Williams was Ricky’s dad. Sadly, he passed away several years ago.
Ricky also has two sisters, Dee Dee and Denise. This family collectively won many trophies showing their horses when we were growing up. Their lives revolved around anything and everything to do with horses. Mrs. Evans even opened and operated a cowboy boot store in south Canton at one time.
I remember a time many years ago when we were just kids that I was spending the night with Ricky. It was on this occasion that something happened to one of their horses. Now understand these animals weren’t just assets to the Williams family. They were pets.
I don’t remember exactly what happened to the horse, but I do remember that the injury was one that couldn’t be fixed. Horses aren’t like other animals. You can’t just fix their broken leg and move on. Sometimes they just have to be put down for their own good.
Everyone in the Williams family is tough in my opinion. They certainly were in those days. But on this night, I saw a side of them I had never seen. When Benny came back to the house and said the horse had to be put down, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. They had lost something they loved.
This memory was spawned by a couple of news reports this week of bad people doing terrible things to two dogs. I say bad people because anyone that would intentionally hurt an animal for the mere pleasure of doing it can’t have much good in them. I sincerely and openly say that I hope the offenders get the maximum penalty allowed by law.
In case anyone is thinking I should be writing about child abuse before animal abuse, your point is well received. But police records will show that many people that grow up abusing animals move on to doing the same things to people. Abusers are abusers.
As the years progressed, I spent many more days and nights in the Williams’ home. They were another family that treated me like I belonged to them.
Now it’s time for the moral of this story. Ricky and I weren’t always the brightest when it came to covering our tracks when we were doing something wrong. And just because parents tell you that they won’t be home until the next day, that isn’t always the case.
I guess you could say I have been busted more than once by Mrs. Evans for my devious actions. And she wasn’t one to look the other way. She was one, however, that would give me some motherly advice. And believe it or not, she never charged me a dime for it.
After last week’s column ran she sent me a message. She told me she loved me and hoped my family was doing well. Here is a woman that knows about as much as anyone of my many shortcomings. But despite it all, she said she loved me. I was touched.
I love you too, Mrs. Evans. Many memories of my childhood are centered on your family. I couldn’t help but shed a tear when I read your comment. And that’s OK.
Your family taught me even cowboys cry.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.