Last week I was contacted by a telegram (txt) from an old acquaintance who was good friends with an old gunslinger I knew who taught this cowboy how to drive steel horses ( trucks ) when I was at the young age of 23 I have found out to my horror he has been diagnosed with three different types of cancer!!
I've journeyed back from my place of work to my original prairie over 1600km ( 1000 miles ) away to trot back into my hometown.
To see this old gunslinger what seems to be for the last time, now I hope not but I feel this to be so!!!
To put it mildly I'd say the next time I see him will be when they lower him into the grave, I reckon life needed another helper in heaven.!
Life huh, it can shine bright on you like a saloons neon lights or it can tear you down like an abandoned warehouse.
As I rode my horse into the night over many distant dusty trails heading back home a feeling of memories fell upon me about the times and trials of the sweet yesterday's when that old cheeky gunslinger was teaching this green horn new tricks.
I've been present at his birthdays, and weddings and shin digs expanding over nearly two decades.
A wiry old gunslinger who taught me more than how to drive steel horses, he has over time embedded me with such skills of wit, character and one liners which I will be indebted to him till my days are gone.
He knew my mentor back when I had peace in my prairies a time long gone from now, he worked with my brother and half brother as well, like a band of outlaws we rode together over different times and different places and through it all I'll never forget the many adventures we had as co- workers but mostly as close friends
But alas life once again has bestowed upon me great sadness and I bow on one knee again as another posse member has his grave marked and his tombstone waiting and a hole dug and once again I'll be listening to the preachers words of dust to dust ashes to ashes.
An old familiar tale which of late is becoming all too familiar.
I guess as I look back when I was a younger man I thought we were all invincible just like in a day dream but here now in these twilight years death has somehow become reality as each day passes.
Yes death comes to us all in the end, one by one the mistress of death with her lantern seeks us out through the night and we can't run nor hide and she pulls us into her dark realm much like a spider does pulling its victim into it's web.
The old times in the end will always get replaced by that of the new times and so shall it be......
The chronicles of our time line in our lives is a fascinating tale in which we all have lived, laughed and loved and experienced the many different and wonderful trails.
In the end it's safe to say we are all haunted by people and their memories that they have left behind with us, some good ones some bad, some lost in the winds of time, some still present, but no matter if we are separated by time or mere distance or in life and or in death we take those we love with us wherever we go in the here and the now.
As we sit around our own campfires I imagine we all have empty seats where once great men and women occupied them throughout our lives but they no longer do, however we once had the privilege to be around them and they have enriched us by sharing their time here on this dust ball and even though their chairs they may no longer inhabit they will somehow always belong to them.
Their presence will linger long after the flesh in spirit and in our hearts and eventually as our own campfires dim within our own allotted time we will come to feel the cold as our fires burn and then simmer from a flame, then dance slowly into a smoulder then into smoke until the last ember slowly fades like an early morning dream we will remember the fallen until we too become the fallen
As in life so often it gives in one hand what it takes from the other.
I have learnt life is merely a combination of time!
Time spent there, time spent here buried within us is a population of many memories which are made from moments with people who we have shared time with.
Time, money and love is what someone once told me fuels life and most will disagree with that statement but truth be told we will all know this to be true in the end and Personally I kind of agree with my friend.
These three pillars time,money and love are the building blocks in which we all build our very foundations on.
These three ingredients mixed right can bring such contentment.
On the other hand a lacking of any one of these three key ingredients can create a crack in the foundations of our very existence causing irrefutable damage to some degree.
I don't have the answers to which I seek nor the desire to find them out anymore.
I think no matter how much we try to tick the boxes and cross our T's and dot our i's it truly won't matter for when our individual campfires do burn to nothing more than fading embers we will all still have in our heart of hearts an unfinished life.!!!!
I suppose in the end......
There will come a day for all of us where I won't even bother to look around as I hear the footsteps in the dark nearing my campfire or get my trusty six shooters locked and cocked, I'll just say in a raspy voice to the shadowy figure which will no doubt be the mistress of death -
" I've been expecting you "
As i sit there on me log and take one last swig of whiskey from me flask then I'll lay my head back catching the last flurries of warmth from the fire closing my eyes and drift away never to awake from slumber
So my old gunslinging pard, we will meet again some day, I will be honoured to place two coins over your eyes to pay the ferry man in which I almost know him by first name basis, I'll extinguish another candle as I scratch my chin and wonder there ain't too much more left now,
6 tombstones lay in hollowed ground where 5 years ago none did, the mistress of death even took me friendly feline.
I will say this, if there is an after life I hope to see my friends and posse and we'll drink and be merry and recall these times spent together here on this dust ball as we forge a new beginning and create all that was good and could be again.!!!
So I will leave you with this story or a quote that I stumbled upon....!!!
Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughter’s departure had been announced.
Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said: “I wish you enough.”
The daughter replied, “Mom, our life together has been more than enough.
Your love is all I ever needed.
I wish you enough, too, Mom.” They kissed and the daughter left.
The mother walked over to the window where I sat.
Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry.
I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?” “Yes, I have,” I replied. “Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever good-bye?””I am old and she lives so far away.
I have challenges ahead and the reality is the next trip back will be for my funeral,” she said.
When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, “I wish you enough.” May I ask what that means?”
She began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations.
My parents used to say it to everyone.”
She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more.
“When we said ‘I wish you enough’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them”.
Then turning toward me, she shared the following, reciting it from memory,
“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.”
She then began to cry and walked away.
They say it takes a minute to find a special person.
An hour to appreciate them.
A day to love them, and an entire life to forget them.