The “Can Do” Attitude
by Linda Ford, author of Claiming the Cowboy’s Heart (Love Inspired Historical)
When I was about six or seven years old, and my brother a year older, my dad brought home a big man’s bike. And I mean BIG. Heavy and black. It was monstrous. Dad stuck my brother on it and off he went, riding freely across the prairie trail. Humph! If he could ride a bike, I could too. Never mind that I was always on the small size for my age and the bike crossbar came to my shoulders. I tried to ride it like my brother did, but my feet didn’t begin to reach the pedals. I tried shifting from side to side to use the pedals alternately. After a few nasty crashes to the ground I knew that wasn’t going to work. So I improvised. I rode under bar. Now for you who have never heard of such a thing, it means leaning the bike to one side and riding with one leg reaching for the far pedal under the crossbar. Truly an awkward way to ride. Not only awkward but very difficult.
But if my brother could ride, I could ride. Or die trying. I practiced all summer. My knees had scabs an inch thick. I had bruises on top of bruises. I tore the knees from a number of pairs of pants. But I would not give up. After about three months, I got it down to a fine art and could pedal all over town. I must have surely made a strange sight. But I didn’t care. When I decided to do something, I wouldn’t quit until I succeeded.
Writing about Jayne in Claiming the Cowboy’s Heart struck a familiar note for me. Her “I can do this’’ attitude rang with such memories. Jayne, too, had set her mind on learning a skill and didn’t intend to let failures or disagreements or disapproval stop her.
She had witnessed the murder of her fiancé and done nothing to defend him though she could have grabbed the nearby gun. What good would it have done? She didn’t know how to shoot and was too frightened to even try. But all that was about to end as she left her past and harsh memories in England and joined her brother in the New West of the Canadian Frontier.
I can see myself facing the challenges of pioneer life with equally stubborn determination.
I could live in a log cabin if I had to:
Or even a soddie. <shudder>
I could manage to cook on a big black stove.
I could learn to bake bread in a big pan.
Maybe Jayne’s story turned out to be a tiny bit autobiographical.
Are there times you’ve faced new, difficult or challenging situations and proved to yourself and others that you could succeed? Do you admire people who do so? Even fictional characters like Jayne?
About the Book
After witnessing her fiancé’s murder, Jayne Gardiner won’t let herself be caught on the wrong side of a gun again. But a disastrous first lesson in self-defense has left her with a wounded cowboy. She insists on nursing the handsome stranger back to health—whether he wants it or not!
Getting waylaid by a wild shot has definitely put a hitch in Seth Collins’s step—and plans. Duty may call him home, but Seth can’t resist lingering on Eden Valley Ranch to teach the English beauty to shoot. And when a shadowy figure from Jayne’s past resurfaces, Seth’s sudden urge to protect her has nothing to do with duty.
Cowboys of Eden Valley: Forging a future in Canada’s west country