Dick Hunt's Blog

April 23, 2011

Horse Shoes Better Understood; Re-construction of a sermon preached by Dick at the funeral of Ruth Elizabeth Hunt, his sister.

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 1:50 pm

Horse Shoes Better Understood;
by Dick Hunt, spoken Friday, April 15th, 2011.
Re-construction of a sermon preached by Dick at the funeral of Ruth Elizabeth Hunt, his sister.
When Ruth was about six years of age and I was three, she had her own work horses and saddle stock, her own cattle of several ages; breeding cows, calves, yearlings.  She had corrals, fences, sheds, wagons and sleighs. She a great understanding of livestock and ranching and a great thirst for ranch life.

Her horses were the “plugs” screwed into the underside of winter horseshoes to enable the horses to perform safely and effectively on icy terrain.  Those plugs had a hard steel core sourrounded by a softer steel surround.  The reason was that there was always needed a sharp center to grip the ice while the outer surround wore away and provided a strong body to support the steel core. When they needed to be replaced when worn down, Ruth was right there to rescue the horses for her ranch. They became her work horses and with them she pulled her wagons and sleighs to feed the cattle.  The smaller plugs from the riding horses shoes became her saddle stock. Her cows and calves were the ball bearings from repaired  farm machinery. Her fences and corrals were sticks from the wood pile..  Machinery etc. was various size chips from the fence post lot. She even named her horses.

It is appropriate that we think of those horse shoe plugs in relationship with Ruth.  She had a steel tough core of determination, resolve, character and fidelity which carried her through all the challenges of life on the Ranch with her husband Wilf and the girls, the hired men, the neighbors, the branding volunteers, fencers, well drillers and machine companies. Yet she had a softer external make up to keep her center sharp and her associations human and resilient down the years. She was kindly.
Today we stand at a crossroad. For me, my last surviving sibling has departed this life and has gone home to her true home in what we call heaven, to be with her Lord. For the past two years or so I have phoned her every morning and evening and we have talked at length about those matters that were of deepest interest to us. That includes, not only the good old days but the days still to come in Eternity, with God the Father and our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ.  And with all the Saints of God, those whose names God has written in the Book of Life.  Inevitably, we have talked about being reunited with our loved ones who have gone home before us.  There will be no tears, no pain, no sorrow but only love and total harmony between all the inhabitants of heaven, in the presence of the Holy Trinity.

We will all face, in our time, our own death.  None of us can know the time of our passing, be it long or short. But we have this life on earth as our opportunity to make our peace with God, through our Saviour Jesus Christ. No-one else can make that decision for us.  Others may well help us, or hinder us. To say yes, or no to God is ours alone. Jesus’ Disciples, in the Gospel of John, chapter 14:1-14 answers his followers, and us, about  the way to Eternal life. In verse 6 he says very clearly, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me”.  This instruction is found in many other places in the Bible.  They are the very words of the one who shed his own blood in his own agony on the cross to bring us to the Father. We can NOT earn our way to heaven.  What we must know is that if we ignore so great a gift as Salvation and go on living without praising him and becoming obedient to him, his  way and truth and life, we are throwing away the greatest gift this life affords. In John 3:16 we have the words “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” There are two choices only, Jesus gives eternal life; refusing his gift of Salvation gives eternal death and suffering.
Ruth and Wilf regulary worshiped in St. Lukes parish on the North Hill in Calgary in which Church Wilf’s funeral was conducted and also in Cochrane in the old All Saints Church building which is now part of the Bethany care home there. Ruth has regularly given financial support to St. Lukes.  With Wilf she worked hard to build a fund to add a hall to the old Church in Cochrane, a project that was abandoned, to their sorrow.  She often shared with me that she longed to go to the new All Saints in Cochrane to Sunday services but did not have the transportation to do so.   In a sense, I was something of a link for her with the Church through our discussions.  She shared her questions of Faith with me and we had a good fellowship with our Lord Jesus in doing so.

And speaking of Faith, one of my favorite passages of scripture is one from  Isaiah 7:9b; “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all”.  In all the changes and chances of her long life, Ruth did not waver in her Faith but stood firm.  That was  the assurance of her calm acceptance of what she could not change.  The hard core of her beliefs which she never compromised carried her along through her lifelong struggles to be true to her principles, symbolized by the core of a horse shoe plug,  part of her only toys in her infancy, a framework for her later toils with Wilf to found and build Hunt’s Coulee Ranch, with their two daughters in the great Community where they lived.

It is so very fitting that plans have now been put in train to build a Seniors care home facility and retirement home on acreage Ruth has been able to give for the purpose.  That was part of the dream she had with Wilf away back when he was still live on the Ranch where they spent so many happy years.  They paid all their bills, worked hard and passed away firm in the belief that the greatest bill was bought and paid for in the Life, Death Resurrection and Ascention of Jesus, Son of the living God, in the power of the Holy Spirit.  All Praise to God.


  1. Thanks Dad. A childhood memory new to me. Love Joy

    Comment by Joy — April 23, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

  2. Your stories are wonderful! Look forward to reading more!

    Comment by Rachel Lloyd — May 17, 2011 @ 6:42 am

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