Michael's Monthly Column "Throwing My Loop"

Throwing My Loop…    

By:  Michael Johnson  



     That’s what some people call them – Road Warriors…and I do love them.  They will not work in the factory or in the mines like their daddy did just so they can scratch out a living.   These are not the people who work in drudgery with a ball and chain around their soul, but rather those who spend their days reaching for just one star.  Most are hoping to catch that star, but even if they don’t, it really doesn’t matter.  They just keep on… ‘cause they can’t stop anyway.  They have tasted something and felt something that has come to have a powerful hold on them, and they become the ones who do what they love to earn their daily bread.  These people always remind me of a line in a Robert Earl Keen song… “I ain’t never goin’ back.”
     They come from all walks of life.  During the last fifteen to twenty years, our farmhouse has become a way station for such people - Road Warriors.  Rodeo cowboys who ride rough stock or rope, or sometimes women who chase cans for a living.  One week will find us with kids just starting on the mini-tour – or maybe old men who can’t accept that they are finished on the tour – with both still struggling to find that last secret move that will allow them to hit the golf ball pure and true.
     Among our favorites are the stand-up comics - who live the most difficult of lives - searching for a stage just so they can make people laugh.  There have been authors, actors, singers, and of course, salesman of all kinds, and the list goes on.  Sometimes they have money, most often not, but as Tumbleweed Smith says they all have one thing, “They all have a gleam in their eye.”  The people who are still trying, still working, and still hoping.
     Something about them has dawned on me in the last few years.  And that is, regardless of what these “Road Warriors” are doing, in a way… they are all doing the same thing.  Their “cargo” may be different, but they are all doing the same thing.  Some are hauling horses, some are carrying five-hundred little sticky scraps of paper with their comedy routine scribbled here and there, some have guitars, some have books they have written, some are traveling preachers with the bible, and some bring only their voice.  They are all carrying something – most of all, themselves and what they have to offer the world.  Sometimes you can see it, and sometimes you can’t, but all are living the same life.  All travel the road that never ends.  All stay at the same hotel in the same town, no matter what state they are in.  Then for a few moments, they stop and have the privilege to rope for a moment, or to sing, or make people laugh, to sell a few books, or to make a sale.  Then they are gone…and they can’t wait ‘til tomorrow.
     I was one for a time. What a grand way to live.
     I learned so much from them, and just one I’ll share.  Might help you in your life.  I do hope so.  That’s what makes my cup full.
     All Road Warriors are looking for anything that helps.  Since their life can be hard, they are always looking for something that brightens the day, lessens the loneliness, and makes the road shorter.  Here’s a good one…
     Next time you check into a hotel and the clerk is asking you all those questions, at some appropriate moment ask, “What’s your name?”  And watch (this is so much fun) watch for their reaction.  First, his head will pop up, then his eyes will lock onto yours, and often you will see a physical jerk…the person’s body creates a small reaction you can actually see.  Then they will say something like, “What?  I beg your pardon?” 
      Repeat your question.  “I said, ‘What is your name?’ ”
    “You mean my personal name?”
     “Well, it’s…uh…my name is Jeremy, sir.”
     “Nice to meet you, Jeremy.  I know you are busy, and I appreciate your help.”
     At that moment, if you look closely, you will see this person looking at you in a funny sort of way, staring right at you with the hint of a smile in his eyes.  And you can look down into those eyes – way down inside Jeremy - and see so clearly what he is thinking…
     “No one ever asked me my name.”
     For the rest of your stay, you just can’t imagine the service you’ll get from Jeremy.  Why?  Because human beings are so hungry for communion and connection.

     Works with Jeremy, the maids, the people who park your car, and the waitress in the restaurant next door.  Nothing phony here - no St. Bernard jumping on people, lickin’ them to death and slobbering all over them.  Not that - just genuine, authentic, and sincere… “Who are you?  Thank you for what you do.  I appreciate your help.”
     Road Warriors taught me that…and so much more.
     I’m glad for every single one I ever met.  I love them. 
    The world needs them so.

                                                                                               --Michael Johnson


Ed. Note:  In January of 2012, RFD-TV’s All Around Performance Horse TV, and Roping and Riding with Tyler Magnus, will broadcast the first embedded segment of The Advice Barn, a viewer call-in show hosted by Dr. Harry Anderson, with featured guests, Dr. Michael Johnson, and Dr. J. D. Norris.
The Advice Barn is sponsored by Total Feeds, Inc. maker of Total Equine, Dr. Harry Anderson’s creation of an all-purpose feed designed for the horse.  Total Feeds, Inc. sold thousands of tons of Total Equine last year.



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