For 82-year-old Jon Foote, the loss of Modine Smith was a hard reality to bear. Smith, who passed away July 22, was not only a close friend, but also an asset to the cutting industry he knew would be sorely missed. Struggling through mourning, he looked within and wrote his feelings.
“It [writing poetry] is the way I deal with the deaths of my dearest friends,” Foote explained. “It’s the only way I can process death, to write a little verse about them.”
Foote and Smith served together for several years on the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) executive committee, and when asked to estimate how long the two knew each other, he mustered a single word – “forever.”
“We worked through major and massive changes that occurred in the 90s,” he recalled. “We worked very closely together on a number of items, not the least of which is the promotion of the Amateur division and restructuring the World championships and developing the regional system. She was a soul mate on a lot of that stuff.”
Foote admitted Smith, if given the opportunity to read the poem he wrote in her honor, would likely deny she had so much impact on the industry. But, he added, that would not stop him or those who knew her from knowing the truth. To keep her memory alive, he shared his poem, entitled “MODINE,” with Quarter Horse News.
Modine, my friend, your time has come.
Your gifts have cheered and angered some.
Straight talk, your mark, delighted me
and staggered many not so free.
Insights clear, your visions strong,
Those who opposed did not last long.
Our conversations, into the night,
Were well thought out and often right.
Your strategies were all so good.
You got things done when no one could.
Your laughter, heard beyond the room
Will last for some until the tomb.
Our respect was deep, and untarnished.
Time together, never varnished.
I dreamed of us the other day
We talked about the NCHA.
Of good old days, of folks long passed,
Of things we loved, of those harassed.
You were the soul of those who cut.
Not for the gain, but from the gut.
Your soul lives on for those who care.
Our love for you is truly rare.
You gave so much in years gone by.
Your soul lives on, as time flies by.
With love from Jon, Kathy, our family and friends, who love you and speak with open hearts and flowing tears. – JLF 7/23/17