Sometimes in life, it’s the quick glimpses that mean the most. And I’d like to tell you about one.
I spent a recent weekend with actor Forrie J. Smith in Miles City, Montana, at the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale, shooting footage for some of our upcoming television episodes to appear on RFD-TV and the Cowboy Channel.
Now, in case you’re not aware, Forrie plays “Lloyd” in America’s No. 1-rated television series, “Yellowstone.” And the popularity of that series has given Forrie, a Montana ranch-raised, down-home cowboy, a lot of recognition.
So we were in the park near downtown on Saturday morning, just after the parade, during which Forrie had ridden on the Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home’s horse-drawn hearse. And he’d then hustled back to the park to have a picture painted by Phoenix-based speed-painter Katie Von Kral. That painting was to then be auctioned off for charity.
As is typical everywhere, Forrie was inundated by fans seeking his autograph and to have photographs taken with him. He, of course, as he usually does, accommodated everyone.
At one point during the autograph session, I’d walked away. When I came back I saw Forrie hugging a little 12-year-old girl. When she left I looked at Forrie, who was speechless, and he handed me a piece of notebook paper with handwriting on it.
I looked down at the paper and these are some of the notes that had been jotted down on it by the little girl.
“So I am in foster care with (she names the names) but my mom, I would love to give her a big surprise and she would love hearing from you.”
“(Name) is my adopted dad and he watches Yellowstone all the time.”
“I been through a lot but seeing you today changed my heart. Thank you.”
“Please can you send me letters and emails?”
“I love you and Rip (Cole Hauser) and Beth Dutton.”
Signed, “The girl that’s too young,” from Baker, Montana.
Forrie then wandered over to the flatbed trailer upon which he’d eventually sit while Von Kral quickly painted the picture of him, in front of the large crowd, for charity.
With the trailer still hooked up to a pickup truck, he ducked under the arching neck of the trailer and took a few moments to compose himself and I turned away to give him that time alone.
Eventually he got up on the trailer, Von Kral painted his portrait, the crowd cheered and the painting was auctioned off for $5,500.
And I thought to myself, those are the glimpses that you sometimes get in life that mean the most. They are not always happy, gleeful or long-lasting moments, but they are powerful.
Meanwhile, I know that Forrie continually asks God why he has been put in a position where he has such a powerful influence on people, and it weighs on him.
Now, don’t get me wrong, he loves it, he is immeasurably grateful and he thanks God for his blessings every day. But he fears that he might not be able to live up to what is expected of him.
Then again, from Moses to King David in the Bible, none of them thought they were up to it. But God is. And so is Forrie J. Smith.
Kevin Holten is a columnist and executive producer of “Special Cowboy Moments” on RFD-TV.