There seems to be a common trend in our society. The so-called "millennials" are glued to their smartphones, detaching themselves from the great outdoors and face-to-face interaction with loved ones. Grandparents yearn for emotional bonding and spending quality time with their grandchildren without competing with a device.
Marybeth McCuistion, 85, of Fowler can proudly say that her grandson Luke Baldwin, 32, of Pueblo West is the exception.
After the passing of her beloved husband, J.H. McCuistion, Marybeth began to reflect on her own life while talking with her family at her daughter and son-in-law's (Janelle and Jimmy Baldwin) home one evening.
On her concise list of regrets, was a peculiar wish.
"Not long after my husband passed away I said 'there are a couple of things I never got to do, and I am sorry because now I am too old to do it.' One of them was hunting," reflects Marybeth. "Jimmy said 'well I could fix that', and in the next five minutes I was at the computer filling out an application for a tag."
Jimmy and Janelle who own and operate Ark Valley Outfitters in Fowler helped Marybeth through the application process, and in April of this year, she obtained an antelope doe tag in her requested hunting zone.
Luke, who like his dad, is a seasoned hunter and outfitter wanted to do his part in making his grandma's dream a reality.
So, when the day finally came in early October Luke, Janelle, and Marybeth set out on a voyage they will never forget.
The hunt started at 6:30 on a Sunday morning. After missing the mark in a couple of attempts, Marybeth admits she was discouraged, tired, and ready to quit; but Luke kept her motivated with his optimism and pep-talks.
"Luke told me, 'grandma just suck it up. You are going to be fine'. Then he told me about this 85-year old that tried 13 times before getting his antelope," says Marybeth.
About mid-day her resilience paid off when they came across a doe and a buck on Tim Reed's ranch outside of Fowler.
Marybeth who according to Janelle is "hot with a pistol" had never fired a 243 rifle. Still getting accustomed to the weapon, she rested it on the door of Luke's pickup, aimed with precision, and with the squeeze of the trigger, her regrets fell beside her prey.
According to Marybeth, the best part of the experience was the look on Luke's face when the animal fell.
"Grandma was crying and so was Luke," adds Janelle.
Though she did not get the doe mounted, Marybeth harvested the meat and enjoys sharing the feast with her loved ones.
However, what she cherishes the most are the memories made with her family on that monumental day, and the satisfaction of staring regret in the face.
In a social media post, Luke shared the experience with his family and friends with this heartfelt remark: "I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to take my 85-year-old grandma hunting for her very first time. Definitely, something I’ll never forget."
Marybeth then responded, "Luke, you honored me so! You would not let me quit!! And Janelle you are awesome - 'Come on, Grandma, you can do it! We are making memories!'"
Young men such as Luke are a good reminder that not all millennials choose Google over grandma; and for her generation, Marybeth has these inspiring words of wisdom.
"Don't say it's too late. It's never too late. Don't shut out the good things God has planned for you because of some ideas you might have - be open."