I’ve been way more blessed by God than I deserve, and the people I’ve met are amazing. If I know you, that means YOU.
I’ve traveled around the world to Australia, walked a rooftop In Brisbane, and watched Aussies on the street. I’ve had fish and chips wrapped in newspapers, held koalas, and walked with kangaroos. I surfed Wakiki beach, and ate fresh pineapple. Seen sunrise over Fiji, been to Mexico twice and had adventures there. I have married and stayed married to the same woman for almost 35 years. I’ve seen my children grow to adulthood, and have grandchildren. I’ve known great friendships, and still have friends now. I’ve run, and walked miles in sun wind and rain. I’ve tubed and sledded down frozen hills, worked in the burning sun and swam in freezing water. I’ve stood dreaming in wheat fields and been dusty. I have hunted, stalked, and chased deer and elk on the mountains and the plains. I’ve walked in the icy dawn of the Rockies, gone skiing many times, taken my kids everywhere from mountains to beaches, and watched fireworks in the mountains and on the plains, and beach. I have lived in Tennessee, Texas, and Oklahoma.
Drank coffee with my kids at Garden of the Gods. I’ve caught planes, toted luggage, packed, and unpacked. Swam under palm trees in Los Angeles, and been to Venice beach. I’ve been to Disneyworld, and all the theme parks I’ve cared to visit. I’ve eaten steak and biscuits at Ireland’s in Nashville, done karate, been to Johnny Cash’s house, and peered over the fence at Webb Pierce’s guitar shaped swimming pool.. Been to Ryman Auditorium, and played guitar and banjo with a country band in Salida Colorado. I’ve seen the moon over the mountains in October in Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico. Dated cheerleaders, batgirls, and lifeguards. Performed on stage for thousands of people in rock bands, done Mark Twain, Elvis, and Fat Elvis. Gone to the hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque twice. Many trips to Santa Fe, Taos pueblo, hiked Bandelier, Montezuma Creek, Salmon Ruins, and spent days in Chaco Canyon. I’ve seen bears. I play indian flutes and drums, and bought pottery. I’ve sat in a hot tub with snow falling on my face. Sang and played guitar for four hours in Ruidoso. Drove my family through a hail storm in July in the Rockies.
Had a pocketful of quarters and a heart full of Joy. Been many many times to Glen Eyrie and Colorado Springs. I’ve drank countless cups of coffee in china mugs in countless little cafes all over the southwest. I’ve had malts in the malt shops, and eaten tons of ice cream. I’ve been to Chicago to the beach, and shopped in Michigan, been to Canada, and swam in the Great Lakes. I’ve worked in a car plant in Chicago, a can plant in Homewood, hung sheetrock, water skiied the Emerald dawn waters of Lake Geneva. Slept in cabins, and tents. Skiied in Purgatory, Angelfire, Santa Fe, Crested Butte, and Taos. Stopped at Rip’s near Snyder, broke down, broke up, and made it home. Eaten at the Big Texan in Amarillo.
I’ve seen countless sunrises and gorgeous sunsets, I’ve chipped flint axes and arrowheads, and worked leather. Bought every pair of shoes I wanted. Bought most every thing I wanted, had every car I ever wanted, and bought three houses. I’ve been in the hospital only for checkups, been normal sort-of, and been nuts. Have four kids, two grandkids, believe in God, made my living with myself and a Bible. I’ve worn fine suits and shirts, shoes, ties, and burned my trash in a barrel. Worked for an oil company, bought fine leather chairs, shopped alone and with friends, collected souvenirs of life. Know tons of songs. Found fulfillment, faced down and defeated all my demons. Have been offered many jobs, worked for and with good people and jerks. I’ve been there for my kids, still am.
I’ve swam Barton Springs, rode the trains, lived in Austin, driven old Roue 66, and many miles of dusty backroads. Been backstage with Willie Nelson, and seen Trigger up close. Met Neil Young, and seen Bob Dylan twenty feet away singing Tangled Up and Blue. Seen the Grateful Dead twice, Creedence, the Beach Boys, John Hartford. Built my own personal shack. Floated rivers with my family. Been at churches both common and great, camped, slept in the snow, awakened with ice on my sleeping bag, sat in ants, bitten by chiggers and mosquitos, been cold, dry, shaved, had beards and moustaches.
Been to zoos, museums, flown first class, lived the Good Life, seen the passing of the modern age, dressed well, driven through wastelands, and seen coyotes and wild turkeys cross the road before dawn. I’ve seen the mammoth in Crosbyton. Had money and had none. Travelled from Rochester to Oklahoma. Been to St. Louis, been to Kansas, Sold books in Amarillo, had A/C, sat in countless meetings. I’ve hunted quail, cut hogs, dehorned cattle, milked cows, watched TV and eaten candy bars and drank cold Dr. Pepper all my life. I’ve chased fireflies and caught frogs and junebugs on summer nights. I’ve sat on the porch, and dreamed in the boughs of cedar trees. I have fallen from trees and the back of a speeding car. I’ve handchurned ice cream, and shot fireworks, firecrackers and sparklers. I’ve gone to countless movies and drive-ins. I’ve met Batman. I’ve laughed everyday and driven golf balls off Mount Scott with my friends. I’ve been to Geronimo’s grave and worn buffalo robes. I’ve bought pottery, rugs, quilts and blankets.
Gone through school and college, surfed the mill in New Braunfels, been to Gruene Dance Hall, Been to tent meetings. Danced to Asleep at the Wheel and eaten Chinese food. Drove to Nashville, been to Memphis. Stayed in Five Star Hotels, dined and swam at Country Clubs, been to gala events. Fixed my own garage door opener, fell through the ceiling, built forts, paid the bills. I’ve mowed, hoed, painted and watered, sawn, nailed, braced. Eaten Mexican, chinese, french, steak, seafood, all Good! I’ve amazed people, made them laugh, been underestimated, overestimated, ignored, gone around, and disregarded. It’s been fine. I’ve been loved on, and been out of love. I’ve lost my illusions, and I have accepted the loss, learned to work with the losses, survived and THRIVED. I have made over a million dollars and spent every cent. I have beaten a shaman’s drum in a circle with rings of smoke through the trees. I’ve ridden horses in the mountains.
I live each day from dawn till I get too sleepy to stay awake. I fall into bed and sleep soundly till I have to go to the bathroom. I wake, Walk One Hour, drink coffee, write, read and listen to music. I go to San Antonio, Gruene, and Fredericksburg. I have papers, books, and ephemera, pens, pencils, notes and artifacts. I’m grateful for having this life to write about.
I’ve hung snug and dry in a hammock with a tarp over me in a winter blizzard, I’ve taken innumerable naps in my trusty hammock with the cool breeze around me, falling asleep under the leaves and awakening to the leaves. I’ve sat under trees, listened to birds, watched coyotes, raccoons, and deer. I’ve called deer and turkey. I’ve hauled hay, fed cattle, and driven tractors. I’ve eaten harvest dinner off the back of a pickup.
I’ve made snowmen, and thrown knives. I’ve whittled. I’ve lived a good time. I’ve cracked corn and I don’t care. I gaze at my set of trophy antlers every day. I look at pictures. I heard Herman Kahn speak. I’ve heard BC Goodpasture preach, met Ira Y. Rice. I did a funeral with Leroy Brownlowe. I’ve seen the grave of Lee Harvey Oswald. I’ve been to a Branscum reunion and stood by my dad’s grave and heard my baby Amy sing Somewhere Out There. I’ve been a Pepper. I’ve got a great mom and had two great dads. I do love all my family and kinfolk. I’ve kept my nose to the grindstone and my shoulder to the wheel. I’ve been a hot item. I’ve had the answer and been the problem.
I lived through the International Geophysical year. I’ve had hot beans on my lap. I’ve burned my mouth on hot food. I’ve seen dead coyotes hung on a fence. I’ve seen my granny boil clothes in a big black pot outdoors, and watched her skin a catfish on the clothesline with pliers. I’ve rafted on lakes. I’ve lazed on the shore. Eaten at places that used to be something.
I’ve driven big cars air conditioned with Freon that would nearly freeze you. I’ve had long hair and short hair. I’ve eaten candy, watched the rain, known total ease and total terror. I’ve learnt that other people are God’s children and of extreme value, and I show them compassion, encouragement, and humor. I can do what I want to do anywhere and love it. I feel grateful to the church, grateful to God for wanting us to be His.
Flown kites over the lake, made a box of home movies, looked through the screen door, made each day a celebration, had many more good times than bad, gotten a whole lot more than I have given, been almost too blessed. Been a mime, had a ceiling fall on me, been baptized, Sung at a Dallas nightspot, sat in the lobby of great hotels, birthday parties, jumped on trampolines, played tennis, volleyball, and ping pong, worn sunglasses, dyed my hair, taken medicine, ridden bikes through a tornado, been to Vail for New Year’s. I’ve been everywhere, I’ve done everything.
I am rarin’ to go and enjoy the rest of my life. I’ve gone to the city and gone to the country. Planted trees, cooked out, held it together, lost it, built fences, dug holes, painted the house, ridden in wagons, paddled canoes, fished, been caught, gotten away, attended plays and symphonies, sharpened and thrown knives, swung on ropes, driven all night, blown manifolds, transmissions and gaskets, watched tv, been to and remembered the Alamo, football, baseball, track. Howled at the moon, stung by wasps and scorpions, driven Old Route 66, seen the round barn in Arcadia, collected insurance, worn out clothes, picked poke salad, chewed sugar cane, gained and lost weight. Seen secret things no one should see.
Lost my pants, studied a lot, lived in a dorm.
I’ve seen the sights, had my time, kicked up my heels and stole the show. I’ve been on the top, on the bottom, and travelling one way or the other. I’ve rang bells, brought down the house.
I’ve been looked up to, and down on, shuffled out and welcomed with open arms. I’ve been to the mountaintop and found God, me, and you. I’ve prayed, chanted, meditated. I’ve had my aura read, and my chakras aligned. I’ve created good karma, and little bad karma. I’ve been a hero and a coward. I’ve snuck off, and I’ve kicked tail and taken names.I’m Grateful Live, in heart and head and when I die, I’ll be Grateful Dead.
Thanks to God and y’all for Everything, for my Life.