Lessons I Learned from a Cave Spring Cowboy

        He lay in the casket wearing the same clothes he wore in life—jeans, boots, silver belt buckle, and a ten-gallon hat placed on his chest.  Doyle Price was married to my niece, Amelia, but we didn’t really get to know him—until he was gone.

Jay, Lisa, and I attended the funeral in Cave Spring, Georgia where Doyle’s family lives on a farm, which has been in the Price family since the Indian land lottery before the Civil War.    

Settled in 1829, the town of Cave Spring is named after the mineral spring flowing from the cave in Rolater Park.  In the summer, one can enjoy the year-round cool temperature of 56 degrees in the cave, as well as a refreshing drink of the “purest water in Georgia.”  No shortage of water here, as the mineral spring has a capacity of several million gallons daily!  

Time seems to stand still in Cave Spring, yet the best part of any small Georgia town is its people and their tradition of caring for one another.  We were reminded of this as a group of friends served the extended family a fried chicken lunch with all the trimmings.  The church was full with people standing along the side aisles. The service featured country music, Doyle’s favorite, and  when the pastor opened the floor for sharing, one by one people went forward to show their love and appreciation for this unassuming young man, with comments such as:

“When I was going through a divorce, Doyle called me every day for three months to find out how I was doing.”

“I was on drugs; my life was a mess.  Doyle helped me, and I found the Lord.”

The pastor reflected on Doyle’s loyalty.  “Whether it was in person or on the phone, Doyle would always end the conversation with ‘I love you.’”

The country singer, a black man knew first-hand how Doyle accepted people for who they were.   “He was a friend to me when others treated me as if I weren’t even in the room.”

Doyle lived a simple life, yet one friend marveled at his generosity.  “When I was going through a difficult time, Doyle bought my lunch three or four times a week.”               

At the graveside, I asked Amelia, “Did you know all this about your husband?”  Touched by all she’d heard, she replied, “I knew he was helping people, but I had no idea he had such a permanent impact on them.” 

Devoted to his family, Doyle left a legacy of memories.  Yet, many of us were surprised to hear how many people Doyle had helped over the years.  Why didn’t we know?  Because, as his sister Ruth said, “He never talked about it or sought attention.  He just went about doing what he could for others, expecting nothing in return.”  

Later, I wondered what I could learn from this man whose support and encouragement touched so many people during his life of only fifty years.  Four lessons came to mind. 

  • Make the most of the time God gives you with another person. Regardless of who it is or how little time you have, don’t miss the opportunity to get to know that person better. 
  • Don’t forget to say “I love you” every day to the special people in your life.
  • Make it a point to be more aware and sensitive to the needs of others.  Go the extra mile to be there for them. 
  • Do good unto others, but do it quietly, with no thought of attention or accolades. 

 Barbara Bush once said, “Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people—your family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers you meet along the way.”

I’m grateful for the lessons I personally learned that day from this self-proclaimed cowboy from Cave Spring, Georgia.  “I thank you, Doyle.  No doubt about it, Cowboy.  Great are your rewards in Heaven.”

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Comments
One Response to “Lessons I Learned from a Cave Spring Cowboy”
  1. Mary Beth, Millie and Lisa (3 of your daughters!) says:

    Amen.

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