“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15, NKJV).
My traveling buddy, Bryan, and I left Texas and headed for Kansas City, KS. We completed a show that was much smaller than anticipated so packing up lasted until about 8 pm. Our night did not end, as accounts have to be balanced, inventory numbers combined and an order for the next show supplies to be placed. Bryan did his part, brought the computer to me and I hit a wall. Falling into bed at 10 pm only to get up to be gone at 6 am leaves little to be desired, but so is the life of travel. In my head I hear the Thunder Cat theme ringing,”To Kansas City, Ho-oooooh!”
Driving through the cement jungle of Dallas with the vining freeways towering 5 and 6 roads criss-crossing above our heads, we were both happy to settle into the surface, 3-4 lane highway. I continued to thank Bryan for being willing to drive as, if it were me, I would be gripping the steering wheel and be exhausted within hours. The rolling hills of Texas were stunning and then into Oklahoma. It was also beautiful with the limestone ridges jutting from hills and streams cutting between. As of old, we passed windmills still spinning to pump water spilling into galvanized watering troughs for cows and horses occupying sprawling pastures. It was pretty driving for a while then it hit: Booooring. Brian even commented how flat and uneventful the scenery had become. Field after flat field. No trees, rocks, or even bushes. The books on tape turned annoying as we made several stops just to stretch our legs and try to stay awake. Coffee, lots and lots of coffee.
When we got back on the road and I was settling in to be bored again. It was as if a black hole from thirty years ago opened, doubling me over and sucking me through. Horse back riding! This land would be perfect for horse back riding!
At the age of 16 my mom was dating a gentleman from Virginia who lived on a farm. When they decided to marry, since I was working, I asked my mom for permission to purchase a horse (a life long dream) to take with us. I promised I would pay for all and when we moved I would get another job so I would support the horse. It would cost them nothing. Besides, I did not know anyone in Virginia, so it’s not like I would have any social life to get in the way of caring for a horse, right?
My mom spoke with her fiance and he agreed. I read every book I could find on caring for a horse, searched through papers and went to see several candidates. When I saw Thunder, he stole my heart. He was a grayish white Arabian with the distinctive raised tail. At around $300, when I was making $3.25 an hour, part-time after school and weekends at Skynard’s Pizza, that was a lot of saving, but eventually he was all mine! The family from whom I was buying him was wonderful, as they were also a blended family, and agreed to keep him until the nuptials. My mom arranged transportation of our belonging to travel to VA, my stepdad-to-be was going to borrow a horse trailer, as he had the pick-up to pull it, and everyday I waited with anticipation of the day Thunder and I would be together. I bought the saddle pad, western saddle, hackamore bit bridle (Thunder did not like bits) with brand new reins, fresh white cinch, finishing brush, and a brilliant blue lead strap. I kept this all in my room, technically my mom and my room, as we lived in a two bedroom townhouse with my brother having the other room. This was actually more room than I had had previously as my sisters had both lived with us until they got married. At one time we had two gals sleeping on beds and two on the floor. We were a tight family, in more ways than one!
Two weeks before the “I do’s” were said, I put in my notice at work. Though that was sad, I was happy as I had dreamed my entire 16 years, almost 17, of having a horse of my very own! One week to go!!! Then it happened.
Step-dad-to-be told my mom he couldn’t find a horse trailer, so Thunder could not come. I was heartbroken. Thankfully, the young woman from whom I had purchased Thunder had her love for Thunder rekindled with the idea that he would be leaving and gladly refunded my money. All the other supplies moved to Virginia with me (well, then to MN, VA, IN, VA, blah, blah, blah, as my mom’s marriage to the Virginian was tumultuous). Keep in mind, I never claimed I had a happy teenage life. Do you remember how I have always said counseling is vital? The love of family counseling began for me at 17, but that’s another story.
At 16, with loosing my dream, I created in my mind an ideal of what I wanted: First and foremost, I was NEVER going to get married. I watched the misery of my parents and the mental and verbal abuse of my stepfather and there was NO WAY I was ever going to be put through that. Next, as soon as I graduated from high school I was going to the Wilton School of Cake Decorating & Confectionery Art, as I had already taken some correspondence courses. I had my brochure with all of the classes, prices circled. I was even going to take sugar pulling classes because NO ONE around here did that and I thought that would give me an edge. Then I would buy a barn and convert part of it into a house, the rest would be an indoor arena and I would have a horse that no one could EVER take away from me.
Ah, the dreams of a 16/17 year old. Of course, then you all know I met my city boy, Archie, and not one thing on that list even slightly interested him. That’s ok, I have no regrets. He was worth every moment of the time we had together.
Driving through that vast flat prairie brought back the memories of the horse riding fantasies. Just me, Thunder, and open/flat fields. It brought a smile. Technically, I smiled all the way to Kansas City and never even once thought of it as a boring ride. The scenery had not changed, my perception and value had. I also smiled because, though my reality was nothing like the original dream, it is full of wonderful memories and a foundation for opportunities I have yet to realize (I am walking in faith on that one). The challenge to myself lies in,” For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that”
Sooo,”If the Lord wills, I shall live, follow where He leads, and do what He wants.” Currently, He’s nudging me to go to bed.
Until we meet again, dear friend: Blessings!