Pearl Snaps

Stories of a cowgirl living life by her own lights


Don’t just give thanks, show it

By Jesse Bussard

30 Days of Thanksgiving.


These are just two of the many avenues that I have seen my fellow social media friends using to share why they are thankful during the month of November. And while I realize that this is the month of Thanksgiving and these are indeed great initiatives….do we really need a special reason to express why we are thankful? Shouldn’t we instead be thankful each and every day we are alive?

My life has been full of a lot of ups and downs along the way; the last few months, especially. When I was ‘younger and dumber’ I took many of the blessings in my life for granted. It was until just a few years ago that I realized just how ungrateful I had been. For that eye-opening realization I am thankful. But enough about me…back to the topic at hand.

I think it’s great that your status update and your tweets tell me what your are thankful for today. However, I think it would be even better if we all would actually DO something to show others just how thankful we really are. Let’s give back to our communities. Donate to a food bank. Help serve dinner at a local homeless shelter. Even do something as small as help out a friend in need.

With a little less talk and a lot more action, we might be able to actually do some real good  and create the change that is oh so needed in this crazy, troubled world.

And to show that I’m taking my own advice, I’ll start by DOING something. I’m heading to the grocery store right now to buy some items to donate to a local food bank. I hope you’ll DO something too!


“A life’s meaning is the impact it has on others.” 

Until next time, thanks for reading.

~ Pearl Snaps

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A Helping Hand

by Jesse Bussard

We all have had those people that came into our life and changed us forever. Most times these people didn’t even know they had such an influence. These acts of kindness could have been something as simple as a few words of comfort or as big as a loan to help you pay your college tuition.

For me it’s kind of like that Eric Church song “Loved Along The Way” where he sings “I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for those I’ve loved along the way.” Those words really put it in perspective for me. None of us would make it as far as we’ve gotten without the help of others along the way.

Me at about 15 yrs old with Dan and Buster, two of the best hitch horses I’ve ever known

For me those “people” have been both people and even a few of the four-legged kind. Life hasn’t always been sunshine and roses for me. High school and the few years after graduation were filled with a lot of family turmoil, frequent moves, and just general chaos. Through that time, horses and the folks involved with my equine activities played an integral role in getting me to where I am in life today.

When I was about 15, I got my very first paying job at a local stable that specialized in draft horses. I worked there throughout my time in high school. The man and his wife that owned this stable became like family to me and I still consider them that to this day. They took a chance on me when they hired me and for that I am ever grateful. I learned how to drive and handle draft horses and was exposed to a completely different side of the horse industry.

One of my fondest memories involved learning how to drive a truck and horse trailer. When I was studying to get my driver’s license this man took time out of his busy schedule to hook up his pickup truck and horse trailer for me every evening that I worked after school. We spent countless hours driving that truck and trailer through a field, with me learning how to back and turn that rig. He never once lost his patience with me.

After high school, I didn’t run off to college like the rest of my class. Instead, I worked part-time and had temporary jobs. I found jobs starting colts and riding horses for local horse owners. It took me three years and one influential woman that I worked for riding and training horses to make me realize my full potential. She saw something in me that had let go by the wayside. She encouraged me to follow my passion for horses and livestock and pursue a college degree. She gave me that kick in the rear I needed.

So what’s the point I’m trying to make by telling you these stories? Well, it’s like this. You may think you have nothing to offer others. I disagree. We all have something to give, even if it’s just a few kind words or minutes of our time. That one small act of kindness you give may be the defining moment in life for another. As a wise man once said, “Unselfish investment in people drives progress.”

This article was originally featured as my June View from the Range column for Tack ‘n Togs. You can access a pdf version here.


State Park Adventure

by Jesse Bussard

This weekend while I’ve been home visiting family in Pennsylvania I’ve been trying to get back to my roots a little. On Saturday afternoon my best friend since 6th grade, Melissa Coleman, and I went exploring. I had been thinking a lot about a particular stone marker that stands in Warriors Path State Park in Saxton, PA. This particular stone marker is inscribed with the names of my grandparents, Samuel E. Bussard and Mary M. Bussard, as they donated some of the land that was needed to form the park. The 349-acre Warriors Path State Park lies very near the famous path used by the Iroquois in raids and wars with the Cherokees and other American Indians in southern Pennsylvania. Various tracts of land for the park were donated beginning in 1959, with my grandparents being among the donors. The park was dedicated in the summer of 1965.

The second stop on our little adventure was Trough Creek State Park to see the famous Balanced Rock. Now if you’re not from central Pennsylvania you’ll likely never hear of this geological anomaly. As a kid though growing up in Trough Creek Valley a trip to Balanced Rock was a right of passage and one that never got old. To this day I still enjoy hiking up the trail to see the Rock in all her glory. I’m sure one of these days after erosion of wind and rain has taken it’s toll the Rock will plummet into the Great Trough Creek but until that day, I’ll still take every chance I can get to hike up the Rhododendron Trail to see it. Along the way you cross a suspension bridge and pass by Rainbow Falls.  All in all it was a good way to spend a cool Saturday afternoon!


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