A COINCIDENTAL HAPPENSTANCE
By Steve Moreland, January 31, 2018
I don’t normally imbibe in very much television, but made an exception last night to watch President Donald Trump’s first-year State of the Union address. It was a fine speech I might add, even if the hour and twenty minutes seemed a bit long. With all of his positive accomplishments, he was truly justified in taking that long, and it was interesting to observe all that happened and didn’t happen during the course of the evening.
While I was watching the Fox News channel, Carol was in the next room listening to the speech and going through some of my dad’s old accumulations. She got into a box of old checks that he had written back in the 1950’s, and there was one lonely newspaper clipping in that box. She brought it in for me to see. It was an undated picture of a man holding the lead strap of the halter on a horned Hereford bull. The headline proclaimed: FORNEY SHOWS GRAND CHAMPION. Below the picture, a write-up stated: “Pictured above is Hubert Forney of Marsland with Silver Pioneer, Grand Champion of last Thursday’s Northwest Nebraska Hereford Association show. The animal, consigned by Donald W. Forney sold Friday to Robert Moreland of Merriman for $1800, top price of the sale.”
Today normal ranching responsibilities were attended to in the morning, and Carol and I both had 3 p.m. appointments in Gordon. Carol had a check-up with Gordon Dental, and I had an annual visit with Gordon Vison Center. As we drove through Merriman, we stopped to get our mail at the post office. There I traded places with Carol, and she drove to Gordon so I could read the mail or the ever-present book of some kind that is always along. There was an envelope addressed to Carol and me from Eleanor McClung of Portland, Oregon. Eleanor is a sweet lady who just celebrated her 96th birthday back in August of 2017. She and my dad, Bob Moreland, were second cousins.
A nice hand-written note from Eleanor read:
1/24/18 - Dear Ones all—I found this among some photographs and it may have been sent to me in 1954—I got a kick out of it and thought you would, too. Hope all is well with all of you! Lots and lots of love & best wishes—Eleanor—P.S. $1800 was a lot of money back then!
The newspaper clipping that she sent reads: R. MORELAND BUYS CHAMPION BULL * Fifty-four bulls brought a total of $34,605 or an average of $641 at the annual Northwest Nebraska Hereford Association fall sale staged Nov. 19 at Valentine. The top price of the sale was $1800 paid by Robert Moreland of Merriman for the grand champion, consigned by Donald Forney of Lakeside. The reserve champion from the Furman Hereford Ranch, Marsland, went to Harry C. Coble of Mullen at $1600. Nine other animals sold for $1000 or more. Hubert H. and Donald W. Forney of Lakeside and the Furman Ranch topped all five classes at Thursday’s show. Forneys had three class champions and Furmans, two. Don Forney’s Silver Pioneer was judged grand champion and Furmans’ F. Royal Prince 70th, reserve.
Even though neither of these clippings had dates on them, by reading between the lines we were able to determine that it was indeed 1954 when this show and sale occurred. We found one clipping one day, and a relative sent us another similar clipping of the same news item on the next day, with the featured event happening over 63 years ago. I was only three years old when Dad bought this bull, and barely remember him even talking about this deal. What are the odds of all this coming together? Sometimes I think God has quite a sense of humor.