Monday, June 05, 2006

A Sad Day For the Loser.

I had another post written for today, in fact it's sitting in my draft box right now, but I just got a phone call a few minutes ago that changed things. One of the greatest men I've ever known passed away this afternoon.

I doubt most of you have ever heard of him, but he was a giant amongst us midgets, and I've nothing bad to say about him. That's quite a rare occurrence as I tend to call a spade a spade regardless of the loyalties of friendship.

No matter how many times he met with me and explained the same things over and over, he never acted like it was an imposition or a waste of his time. He'd patiently explain it over and over, and I'm happy to say, it finally sunk in. When we first began my education, I had a lot of scum on my brain that he needed to get through, and he did. I started out as his pupil and he as one of my mentors, but over the last several years I graduated up to where I considered him a friend. I don't know what he considered me, but that's completely irrelevant as far as I'm concerned. Even if he considered me a pest, I'll never think less of him.

When I was a small boy, my family went to Central Nevada with the thought of relocating our cattle operation. My dad always knew that if you were going to run cattle, you needed to go to a place that you could raise them as easily as possible and Nevada offered just such opportunities with a 12 month grazing season. He and mom looked at several ranches, but the one that he really wanted to look at already had a buyer who'd committed. Nothing worked out and so we came back here and have never left. A couple of weeks went by and the realtor called my dad to tell him that the deal had fallen through and the ranch was available if he wanted to come down and take a look. We couldn't make it and had to decline.

A couple of years later, the ranch was purchased by Wayne Hage and his family, the man who is at the center of this post. One of Wayne's favorite sayings to me was, "God looks after fools and small children, and I fit into one of those categories." In this case, God was looking out for all of us.

I can't even begin to tell you the torment that he went through after he bought this place, but it was tremendous. Most people couldn't have handled it in the correct way and would have been jailed or worse, but Wayne was a special individual. You can read the full story about what happened as told by his daughter here.

There are always the wannabe's who can't wait to tell you how good they are at something or how much they know about a subject. Then there are the quiet ones who don't need to tell you how good they are. These are the ones to learn from because they're the real thing. Wayne was this kind of man. With a quiet confidence he would answer my questions and tell me what I needed to know. It was like drinking from a firehose, but I relished it. Because of his knowledge, he became a very sought after fellow, and his time was always at a premium. I understood that, and always felt like I was stealing him away from something more important. He always told me that wasn't the case, but...

I can never fully express my gratitude for all of the hours that he spent with me and all of the knowledge that he passed on. I can only lament that it was a mere pittance of the knowledge he possessed on the subject, and how that resource is now lost. He is the main reason I've gotten where I am today, and for that, I'm truly grateful.

As he's been fighting an aggressive cancer these past few months, in typical Wayne Hage fashion he told his family not to worry. "If God wants me here, there's no power on earth that can take me, but if he wants me up there, there's no power on earth that can keep me here."

I will always remember him as my mentor, and friend. Goodbye Wayne.

6 Comments:

Anonymous bc said...

I remember you talking to me about him. My deepest sympathies and prayers to you, your family and his. My heart is with you.

6/05/2006 9:38 PM  
Blogger trinamick said...

Man, that sucks. But I think that's the greatest way to leave this world - making such an impact on others and being remembered in such a positive light. That's something his family can really be proud of.

6/06/2006 9:34 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

I just finished reading the backstory. All I can say is wow. I forwarded it to my boss, since it is definitely relevant to many of our clients.

It was interesting to get a different perspective. My grandfather worked for the U.S. Forest Service for 20 years, and he was always upset with ranchers who pushed their cattle onto land before time or lied about the numbers they were grazing. Though he had worked on ranches for years previously, he hated dealing with ranchers in this capacity.

Always good to see things from the other side occasionally.

6/06/2006 9:53 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I really and truly am sorry for your loss. I lost my father this year and I know how hard it hurts.

6/06/2006 2:42 PM  
Blogger LL said...

Thanks for all of your well wishes. I'm sure the family would appreciate them.

Beth, I don't know what it's like to lose a parent yet, I doubt this really compares, but thank you.

As for the other perspective KTM, the more you know, the less you forgive. At the risk of turning this blog into an educational experience, I might even tell you all what I've learned over the last several years.

6/06/2006 5:27 PM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

Sorry about your friend Wayne.

He sounded like a great guy.

6/07/2006 8:27 PM  

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