Whitesburg KY
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Struttin’ Time

A friend's battle with cancer


I still remember the night of my first telephone call to Major Miller. I had a tag to hunt in Wyoming, and was waiting on my brother to make up his mind as to when we were going. Rick is the type that always makes the wrong choice, no matter how long he thinks on the project he is undertaking.

I had made up my mind a few years back that I would not be hunting Wyoming again in the latter part of November. The last year I did that it was 14 below zero, and they had three feet of snow. I had gotten a name and number of an outfitter in the area that I had a tag for, so I gave him a call, his name was Major Miller.

I could tell right away that he was a caring person, one that was more in line with our mountain people than someone we run into away from our area. He was a gentle talking man who was booked up, but told me he would squeeze me into his bunkhouse if I didn’t mind. I was game, and he was willing to take in a total stranger.

I stepped off my flight in Rapid City, S.D., and to my suprise there he sat, holding a sign with the biggest grin on his face like he didn’t have nothing else to do except pick me up. We talked the 90 plus miles to his ranch, and I thought I was talking to my grandpa.

Major was born and raised on the ranch we would be hunting. Major put my mind at ease fast. As I met the other hunters, and I knew I had made the right choice in outfitters.

The best was yet to come when I met his wife, Ila. The years had been kind to her beauty, and she was a perfect match for Major. I have never been treated any better by anyone, and the people of Letcher County know how I’m treated here. I stayed with them for a week, and was fed some of the finest meals, provided by Ms. Major, as I call her.

The last time I hunted with them, I was met by strangers instead of my ole friends. That was when I was told that my friend Major has cancer. My heart was broken then, and even more so today. I learned yesterday that Major’s cancer has spread, and the treatments have stopped working.

Although Major is too young, too good, and is very much loved, this is one battle he can’t lose for all our sakes. My mind goes back to the old hymn we sing from the hollows of our little county, “My God of the mountains, is still my God of the valleys”, and this time it’s us, Lord, standing in need of prayer. Please pray for Major and Ila. God is still in charge.

I want to thank Major and Ila for giving me permission to print this story. I hope to see them both soon, him well and her smiling, welcoming back their ole friend.


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