Archive for January 2008
A few years back, when I was reading Jimmy Buffett’s “A Pirate Looks At Fifty” (It may have been this book, but as I am hitting the backside of forty in a few months it could just as easily have been from another source), I was struck by a statement made by Gregorio Fuentes.
Gregorio was Ernest Hemingway’s long time first mate on Hemingway’s boat “The Pilar.” The Pilar saw many years service fishing for Marlin in the Gulf-stream and as a submarine hunter during World War II. On a trip to Cuba, as part of a documentary crew filming a piece on Papa, Buffett had a chance to meet Gregorio who still lived in the same village and is thought by many to be the inspiration for “The Old Man and the Sea.”
Jimmy asked Gregorio if he had any special memories of Hemingway. He said he asked the question thinking he might be shown some unique rods and reels or other Hemingway memorabilia. He was surprised when Gregorio merely smiled and patted his heart. The implication was clear: The greatest memories he had were his and kept in his heart.
I have never been one to take a lot of pictures or someone who acquires souvenirs. I prefer to keep my best memories in my heart and mind.
When I got back from the cattle drive last May I said I would soon post a story on the trip. The main reason this story never came out is because that particular experience was so intensely personal to me; I didn’t feel that I could do it justice. I had dreamed all my life of riding a horse through lands once owned by the Plains Indians and here I was less than seventy miles from The Little Bighorn battlefield. I honestly believe I rode where Crazy Horse once rode. Check that one off the “Bucket List.”
Not many people in this world are blessed in the manner in which God has chosen to bless me. And I’ll guarantee that no one scratches his head more often than I do at the wonder of it.
What started as a golden opportunity to spend some time with my youngest brother–more time, in fact, than we had spent together since I went into the Army all those years ago–wound up being one of the proudest times of my life. I was able to see up close the man he has become and the manner in which he has chosen to live his life. For someone who values family, in all it’s forms, the way I do…Well if I can’t credibly express this thought, how could I credibly discuss that week?
I have often been told, even by people that love me, that I look like I am perpetually ready to fight. That perception has been true on many occasions. But by the end of the trip, sitting in a Chili’s in a Minnesota airport, I vividly remember telling everyone there that I felt like going out and attacking some random tourist just to reassure myself that I wasn’t going soft.
I told you all that to tell you this: A package from my brother came in the mail today. As I opened it, all the memories from that trip came back to me and I teared up again. Inside was a framed picture of our group from the cattle drive. A Radio Exec, 4 Preachers, a Producer, a CCM star, and Fireman all playing Cowboy, and all loving every minute of it.
Yeah, I keep my memories in my head and in my heart, but this one I’ll keep on my wall until my girls take it down.