The Scolai

“Just a Good Guy…With a Few Bad Habits”

Photographs and Memories

with 9 comments

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.




Written by thescolai

January 29, 2008 at 11:07 am

9 Responses

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  1. from the guy on the far right. Hey “Mosh Pit”
    I have wondered if you would ever get around to writing this. Loved it, brought back lot’s of memories. I think the most special of all was right there at Chili’s. i got a pretty good glimpse of your heart, and it was good. We’d love to see you sometime, hopefully at our next great adventure.
    Isn’t it amazing, you spend a few days with a bunch of guys, and you get to know them better than many of your long time friends.
    Live Freedom (Gal 5:1)


    Gary Carter

    January 29, 2008 at 4:12 pm

  2. Gary,
    Great to hear from you! I’m glad to hear things are going well for you there. Hopefully I’ll see you guys sometime this summer. And you’re right it amazing how well you can know people in a short period of time, especially when they are kindred spirits.
    Take Care.


    January 29, 2008 at 6:37 pm

  3. Great story Bobby, straight from the heart. (as always) You’re a fine son, friend, brother,and a beautiful person. Your dad loves you very much.

    Papa Scolai

    William Hampton

    January 30, 2008 at 9:03 am

  4. I once heard it said that photos are for the people that werent there with you, so they can see only in part what you saw.

    Good stuff Scolai


    January 30, 2008 at 10:31 am

  5. PS

    Nothing says “I am comfortable with who I am” more than a Scally and Murphys shirt in a sea of cowboy hats.


    January 30, 2008 at 12:23 pm

  6. It was a great trip and great memory. The soreness has finally worn off and the appeal to do it again is slowly coming back. As Jamie has reminded me. . .I think Dog Sleds through Canada are in our future. . . Who’s in?!!!!!

    Bill Hampton

    January 30, 2008 at 12:27 pm

  7. Iditarod?


    January 30, 2008 at 3:15 pm

  8. Hey Bobby..well put my friend. It was a pleasure to get to know you and I’m glad you’ll always be one of the characters in this great story in my memory!…Dog sleds, horses, you name it…I’m in! Still can’t believe you didn’t punch a horse in the face…good restraint! Keep writing bro.


    Drew Cline

    February 13, 2008 at 1:28 pm

  9. Yo Bobby, bringing in the rear on my thoughts… life has been at a full sprint. I think one of my favorite moments was riding through the ravine… it was you and I and someone… one of the kids I think… I so enjoyed our conversation. Love your authenticity. Hope to run into you soon. Keep gulping life!!


    Jamie George

    April 22, 2008 at 11:42 pm

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