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Lost and Found
By Charles Samuel Betts
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Charles Samuel Betts
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Chapter OneJonathan McCandlish was years old, and here he was standing in the middle of Madison Square Garden. It took him five years to get to this location. He wondered about those years as he looked around at the large arena. It all started right after he graduated from high school.
His father and he lived on a small ranch on the St. Augustine Plains. It was about 35 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico. His mother had died when he was 4 years old, and when he became 6 years old, he was sent to school in Socorro. He lived with his uncle and went through all his grades in the Socorro school system. During the school terms, he had only his weekends to be with his father. His father had a hardscrabble ranch, and they just barely made it all through those years.
In his sophomore year of high school, he began to notice girls and was particularly attracted to a very beautiful young girl called Mary McGregor. She had no interest in him as she was very actively involved with Tom Carlson. Tom was a son of a very successful rancher. He had a very large ranch that bordered the Rio Grande River and was considered by many to be the largest ranch in New Mexico. When his class graduated, they had a prom. He didn't invite any girl because he was only attracted to Mary. He knew she was going with Tom. He went to the prom, however, and waited to see Mary come and dance with Tom. Mary did not show up, and no one knew, what happened to her. She just disappeared.
Jonathan had always been a happy, go-lucky fellow. He loved rodeoing, but it wasn't important to him whether he won or lost. He just enjoyed the sport. He just managed to have enough points to be invited to compete in the National Rodeo that year, which was to be in Madison Square Garden. All the other participants didn't expect him to win anything.
Mary McGregor was a very attractive young lady. She was 5 foot 6 inches tall with brown hair and light blue eyes. She was sitting in her office and wondering about what she could do about her life. As she wondered about this, memories of that terrible night came into focus. She could see herself sitting at home ready to go to the prom with the man she intended to marry.
She and Tom Carlson had been sweethearts since her sophomore year in high school. She knew that his father did not approve of her, but she felt that in time they could overcome his bad feelings. She looked at the clock, and it was 9:00 pm. Where was Tom? At 11:00 pm, she went to bed.
It was the next day that she discovered that Tom had been told by his father that if he continued his relationship with her, he would be disinherited. His not coming gave her the answer of how he felt about her.
She talked with her father about this disappointment, and he told her about his relationship with Tom's father, Clyde Carlson. They had been close friends at one time. Both had come to New Mexico together and had planned to establish a ranch in which each of them would be equal partners. During the process of acquiring land, Mary's father felt that Clyde was doing dishonest things. He confronted him about this, and they had an angry exchange. They broke their partnership, and each went their separate ways. Her father said, "I think that this probably is the reason for his anger regarding their relationship." She asked her father, "Why have you never told me about this problem?" He replied that he wanted to let bygones go away, and he didn't want his history to interfere with her relationship with Tom. They discussed what she should do at this point in her life. She said she could not face her friends as she felt humiliated by the lack of commitment of Tom for her. They decided that she would immediately leave and enroll in the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She still had the same thoughts and feelings of that night - anger, fear and despair.
At the University, she took a business course. After graduating with honors, she went to Harvard Business School. She graduated and was immediately offered a position in a New York City firm that dealt in stocks and bonds. She had just finished her first year on that job and had received a bonus of $25,000.
She didn't like the work she was doing and felt very strongly she should form her own company and be her own boss. As she was pondering this in her apartment, she read in the newspaper about a rodeo being held in Madison Square Garden. It was for the national championship. As she read the clipping about this, the name Jonathan McCandlish stood out. She puzzled over this as she knew that name. Finally, she realized that he was that cute little boy with curly hair who seemed to be always looking at her when she was in her last two years of high school. The article seemed to imply that he was a very talented rodeo participant but never seemed to have the competitive spirit. For some reason, she felt she had to go to that event.
While she was there, the crowd warmed up to the event. The odds were presented on a board before the audience. She saw Jonathan's name, and the odds were 50 to 1. Without thinking, she took her $25,000 and placed it on Jonathan McCandlish to win all four events. As it turned out, she was the only one that placed a bet on him.
When the board announced the odds, Jonathan looked up and saw that he was 50 to 1. This meant nothing to him, but then the board reported that a person had bet $25,000 for him to win all the events. It troubled him. Who could that be? Something seemed to change inside of him. There seemed to be a surge of wanting to win; a surge he had never experienced before.
With the trumpeting of the band and the parades across the Garden, the announcer said, "The rodeo will begin. The prize is $150,000 for the participant that wins all four events." The people, who were running the event, didn't expect McCandlish to win anything, and they didn't want the ones that were expected to win to be eliminated by the first event. So, they gave the worst and meanest bronco to McCandlish to ride hoping that this would solve their problem. McCandlish knew that this horse was a vicious animal, and he had some idea why he was chosen for it. Instead of being concerned about this, it excited him. He mounted the bronco, Black Terror, tightened his grip on the rope halter, gritted his teeth, and he told them to open the gate. This crazy horse leapt out into the arena and started bucking in all directions. He twisted to the right and to the left. He leaped high into the air and with his all four legs stiff, he hit the ground hard. This jarred McCandlish severely, but he just seemed to laugh and continued spurring Black Terror on his sides trying to make him buck with more energy. The bronco tried every trick in his repertoire, but nothing worked. McCandlish rode him past the time required and kept riding. The owner of the bronco became very upset by this extended ride. He feared that McCandlish would possibly break the animal, and he would lose a big source of income. He complained to the authorities. The crowd was very excited by this ride and was shouting and loudly expressing amazement at the skill of this rider. They were demanding them not to stop the ride. Finally, when it became obvious the bronco was in distress, they lifted McCandlish off the bronco, and the animal nearly collapsed. The crowd was in an uproar. Mary couldn't believe her eyes. She had no idea of how capable Jonathan was. None of the contestants matched this ride, so he won the first event.
The next event was the calf roping event. His time was so short that no one could compete with him, and he won his second event. The skeptics that thought he was not capable of winning anything took a second look at him. They were amazed at what he had done up to this point.
The next event was bull riding. All of the animals that were being assigned to the participants had been selected prior to the rodeo, so here again Jonathan had been given the worst bull, El Diablo, to ride in this event. The skeptics felt, "We will really see what a fraud he is when he gets on this animal." The crowd had a different idea. They thought they were seeing a new champion. Mary who had made this ridiculous bet was beginning to think maybe this was going to change her fortune. Maybe if he wins this and the final event, she would have enough money to start her own business. Her heart was pounding, and she was frightened about what she had heard about this bull. The crowd was very excited because here was their young hero riding the worst bull that had ever been brought to that arena.
Jonathan was in the chute seating himself upon this angry animal. He grabbed tightly the band around the animal and strapped his hand tightly to it. After settling himself on the bull, he motioned for them to open the gate. The bull charged out twisting, turning, and doing so many different motions that it seemed impossible for him to stay on board. The bull began the most difficult part of the ride by bucking in tight circles. The tight circles created centrifugal force that would usually throw off the rider. Jonathan stuck through these turns like glue. The crowd was roaring. They had never seen a ride like this. The bull was becoming heavily lathered, and his tongue was hanging out. It was obvious he was doing the best he could to unseat this creature on his back, but to no avail. He rode the bull past the time that he was supposed to and continued. The crowd was in ecstasy. They had never seen a ride like this. Finally, two horses went beside the bull and lifted Jonathan off. The bull was still raging and was charging around the arena angrily defying anything that got in his path and throwing his saliva in every direction. The crowd could not stop shouting. They had finally found a new champion. The final event of bull dogging was easily won by Jonathan.
Mary was stunned. She had impulsively bet on Jonathan as an expression of her despair of her inability to progress with what she wanted to do. Now, she suddenly had a large sum of money ($1.25 Million). She couldn't move. She was fixed to her seat. Slowly, she got up and walked in the direction of the payoff window. When she arrived there, she was greeted by an IRS official, and before any money was exchanged, they took their share of the winnings. As all of this was being settled, a young man walked up.
Jonathan was overwhelmed by the crowd's joy. He walked into the middle of the field, took off his hat and bowed to the crowd. They roared their appreciation of his effort. The ceremony of presenting the check was given by the appointed official, and he was escorted off the arena floor. After he had posed for all of the TV's and other duties that were required of a champion, he ran immediately to the pay window for wagers that had won their bets. He wanted to see who this person was that bet $25,000 on him.
He arrived just as Mary was finishing up with the IRS agent. He recognized her immediately as Mary McGregor, and his heart did a flip flop. He went over to her and said, "Mary, I had no idea you bet on me." Mary was so excited about what had happened that all she could do was hug him tightly and thank him for the opportunities he had given her. He didn't understand what she was talking about but was excited about being close to her.
After they exchanged their excitement, Jonathan said to Mary that he didn't know what he could do with all the money he had just earned. He knew he had to invest it, but he had no knowledge about investing. Mary felt some responsibility for him and told him she would help him invest it and only charge him .25% for her services. He was grateful for this, not so much for the management of his money, but for the opportunity of having some contact with her. He asked, "Mary, will you have dinner with me." She agreed. Nothing really came of this, and both went their separate ways.
Jonathan when he left New York City intended to continue his rodeo experiences. While he was resting at a hotel in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, he received a telephone call from his father stating that he had received a draft notice. The notice ordered him to return to New Mexico for a physical. This shocked Jonathan as he was 26 years old and didn't expect to be drafted. As he was driving back to New Mexico, he had many thoughts in his mind. He began to question this ambition of his to be a rodeo rider. He knew that this activity usually ended with injuries, and he began to think that he needed to go back to college. He had finished two years of petroleum engineering at Texas A & M when he abruptly left. The urge to rodeo overcame his willingness to study. He remembered his impulsive behavior and told himself that he would reenter college and finish his degree in petroleum engineering. Even though these mature thoughts gave him a new direction, he was about to have an interruption in his life.
It was January 11, 1967, when he arrived in Socorro, New Mexico. He received his physical and was sent to Camp Pendleton, California, for basic training in the Marine Corp. After six months of training, he was sent overseas to Vietnam. It was late in the year of 1967, when he arrived in Saigon and was shipped north to Khe Sanh. This was poor timing on his part as towards the end of that year, he was actively engaged in combat. In early January, he and a group of men were shifted to the MACV headquarters (Military Assistant Command, Vietnam) in Hui. Their duties were to defend the headquarters. On February 3, 1968, the massive TET offensive began, and Hui was rapidly overrun. It was only his group of 200 American soldiers and marines that held out south of the capital. The fighting was fierce, and Jonathan was severely wounded. The next few months were all lost to Jonathan. He was air evacuated to Saigon and then to the United States. He had severe head trauma and multiple wounds. He was hospitalized in the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, for six months.
During this period of time, he realized that he would no longer be able to be a rodeo cowboy. He made plans to return to Texas A & M. He started in September, 1968. All during this period, he had limited contact with Mary. She was concerned about his being wounded, but there was no emotional connection between them. She just continued to manage his finances. She had stopped charging him for her service and had over the past year increased the value of his portfolio to $200,000.
Jonathan had written her during his recovery period, but the letters were mostly about his finances and his trying to understand how she managed his investments. He wanted to be able to successfully invest for himself. When he left the hospital in August, 1968, he wrote Mary a letter stating how much he appreciated her taking care of his estate, and he thought now he was qualified to manage it. Thus, it seemed that his relationship with Mary was over, and he was now going on his own way and she hers.
Chapter TwoAfter receiving this amount of money from her rash bet, Mary sat down and tried to decide how she was going to develop a company for herself. After she quit pondering, she began to remember the Indian women of New Mexico. They seemed to preserve their skin remarkably well considering the harsh conditions under which they lived. She wondered if maybe they had some special herbs or salves to help shield their skins from the harsh climate they experienced. She left New York and went back to her home in Socorro. There she sought out many different Indian women questioning them as to how they kept their skin from deteriorating. She didn't discover any new ways, but she did have a clear idea of the direction she was going with her new company. She was going to develop a cosmetic corporation, and she was going to be particularly interested in skin care.
Over the next two years, she struggled with this problem. She talked to many dermatologists and went to many medical meetings involved around skin care. She took courses in chemistry at the University of New Mexico and began to explore the ingredients that would possibly be of benefit for skin care. It was towards the end of her second year that she had a breakthrough and found a formula that worked well in taking care of skin that was exposed to harsh environmental conditions. After many tests of this product with no bad side effects, she decided it was time to move into the production and promotion of her company. All of this period of time paralleled the period of time that Jonathan was in the Marine Corp, his hospitalization, and Texas A & M.
Excerpted from Lost and Found by Charles Samuel Betts Copyright © 2011 by Charles Samuel Betts. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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