©Mark K. Henderson 2013
I recently wrote an acquaintance who was returning from a lengthy international trip. It went something like this:
I just recently traveled abroad, too. I took a trip to Mason, TX. I ended up exploring by the seat of my pants—on a wing and a prayer, so to speak. I always say, exploring by the seat of your pantaloons will either kill you or make you stronger. Or, maybe that was that old sourpuss, Freddy Nietzsche, who said that. But whether it was he or me, whoever said it was correct. While I did survive—as evidenced by this nifty little e-mail—I’m feeling strong as bull, as they say in Bulgaria…or someplace where such a phase is popular amongst them fereigners [sic].
One thing I learned in my travels afoot through the dusty country roads of eastern West Texas (or the far west Hill Country of Texas), under “…that hot August sun….” (as my music idol, Lyle Lovett croons; or, was that Robert Earl Keen, Jr.? I forgot), even though it was only June, like the old bull in both their versions of that tune, I was lookin’ for a mesquite tree to hide under.
But the “mainest” thing I learned whilst running along dusty Texas dirt roads–eyeing a stock tank and wondering if I could head-butt a longhorn bull to get a spot at the trough as my water bottles were collecting dry dust on the inside–was that it sure is a heckuva looooong ways between ranches when you’re looking for water and it’s hotter than Hades and the buzzards are eyeing you smacking their lips…er…beaks, circling overhead.
I learned something else, too: Just because there is a dot on the map in Mason County, Texas, with an actual name, does not mean it’s actually a town, or at least a town that has things we civilized East Texicans generally associate with towns such as—oh, I don’t know—stores, gas stations, or even running water, as best I could tell.
In an abstract, I was in a tad of a pickle. Much to my good fortune and thanks to Providence’s divine protection for drunks and idiots—I being the latter—this minor misestimation on my part did not prove fatal or even require rousting Billy-Bob and Stringbean from their afternoon slumbers to go out and try to fire up the county emergency rescue vehicle and drive out to shoo away the buzzards from my partially clad, parched, dusty body to attempt an emergency resuscitation. Yay, God!
And eventually, I had the great fortune and privilege of sitting on a West Texas front porch and visiting a spell with a fine Texas lady who was sweet enough to fill up my dusty bottles with cold water while I got to listen how her family had settled Mason County back in the 1800s. Now who said adventures by the seat of your pants can’t prove to be a blessing? I bet that Nietzsche feller never figured on that one. Then again, he probably wasn’t a runner.
Well, I didn’t really mean to elongate that little diatribe, but it happens…far too often these days, I’m afraid. Oh well. Hopefully, this won’t be buried in a sea spam like “Get bigger ears, online…” and wind up as so many of my musings, on the proverbial cutting room floor of our virtual world.
I’m not really much of a betting man, but if I were, I’d lay a paycheck that you never once during your adventures ever eyed a watering trough while coughing up prairie dust thinking, “Hmmm, that bull don’t look that big…” And, even if you had such a thought, I’m sure it would have come with a proper verb, but I digress.
To my readers, I remain,
Maidens Rescued; dragons slain.
Governments toppled or supported.
Flexible hours; reasonable rates.
“Action Figure sold separately.”